Sanchez v. Young County, Texas, No. 16-10227 (5th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
The Constitution does not require that officers always take arrestees suspected to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or reported by relatives to be at risk, to a hospital against their wishes. Diana Simpson's family filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the county violated Simpson's constitutional rights when she died in the county jail from a probable suicide-caused drug overdose the evening after she was arrested for public intoxication. The district court granted summary judgment to the county and dismissed the complaint. The court held that, although Simpson's decision to take her own life was tragic, the county could not be held responsible for fatal decisions she made that were, under all the circumstances, not obvious to government employees. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment to the extent it rejected plaintiffs' episodic acts and omissions claim. The court vacated and remanded for consideration in the first instance of plaintiffs' unconstitutional conditions of confinement claim.