On April 15, 2004, a female inmate at the Arkansas Department of Corrections, McPherson Unit, filed a Complaint against Correctional Medical Services ("CMS") under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Batesville Division. On June 01, 2004, in her First ...
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On April 15, 2004, a female inmate at the Arkansas Department of Corrections, McPherson Unit, filed a Complaint against Correctional Medical Services ("CMS") under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Batesville Division. On June 01, 2004, in her First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff added the director and officer of the Arkansas Department of Correction ("ADC") as Defendants.
Plaintiff was in the custody of ADC during her later stage of pregnancy. Plaintiff claimed to have suffered pains and injuries based on her treatment during the delivery of her child, which included having her leg shackled to the bed by an ADC officer during labor. Alleging that Defendants violated her Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment, Plaintiff sought declaratory judgment, both compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorneys' fees and costs.
In November 2006, the director and officer of ADC, as Defendants, both filed motions for summary judgment, claiming qualified immunity and arguing no federal constitutional violation supports Plaintiff's § 1983 claim. The court (Judge James M. Moody) denied Defendants' motions. Defendants appealed to the Eighth Circuit. On July 18, 2008, the Court of Appeals reversed the District Court's decision. Plaintiff filed a Petition for Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc. The Court of Appeals granted Plaintiff's Petition. On October 02, 2009, in an en banc opinion, the Court of Appeals held that Plaintiff did not meet her burden to allege and show that the officer of ADC violated a clearly established constitutional right and so the officer was entitled to qualified immunity. The District Court's decision was reversed in all respects.
The case went to trial before a jury on July 14, 2010. On July 15, 2010, at the conclusion of trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff on her Eighth Amendment claim and awarded nominal damages in the amount of $1.00. Plaintiff filed a motion asking the Court to award attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of $ 144,510.70 as the prevailing party. The Court issued an Order on September 13, 2010, awarding only minimum costs to three of Plaintiff's attorneys.Xin Chen - 04/25/2011