How to Create a Fact Issue (R-rated)

Davis, a Louisiana prisoner, was attacked and injured by another inmate, Anderson.  Davis sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that several prison officials and guards were “deliberately indifferent” to a “substantial risk of serious harm” to his safety.  Davis v. LeBlanc, No. 12-30756 (Sept. 12, 2013, unpublished).  Similar cases are filed frequently, summary judgment for the defense is common, and affirmance is near-universal under the demanding legal standards for such claims.  Here, Davis offered a sworn declaration from another inmate who spoke to a guard defendant shortly before the attack, and was told by that guard that Anderson was going to “‘whip that [expletive] Davis in the cell next to him’ and ‘that [expletive] needs a good [expletive] whipping and it is worth the paperwork for him to get it.'”  Summary judgment for that guard was reversed and the case was remanded for further proceedings.   Whatever happens to Davis’s claims, this opinion provides a clear — if graphic — example of how to create a fact issue, and reminds that the Fifth Circuit does in fact review the record in the many prisoner cases presented to it.

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