Blackmon v. Sutton, et al, No. 12-3199 (10th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff-Appellee Brandon Blackmon brought a 42 U.S.C. 1982 action against various members of the juvenile detention center in Sedgwick, Kansas, alleging they violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights as a pre-trial detainee when he was taken there as an eleven-year-old. He claimed that the staff regularly used a "Pro-Straint Restraining Chair, Violent Prisoner Model" sometimes as a legitimate effort to stop him from committing suicide, but mostly, as plaintiff contended, to punish him. The chair is equipped with wrist, chest and ankle restraints; as a juvenile detainee, plaintiff was 4'11' and 96 pounds. The district court denied defendants' motion for dismissal based on qualified immunity grounds. Defendants appealed to the Tenth Circuit, maintaining that the district court erred in holding that the facts, when viewed in a light favorable to plaintiff, suggested that defendants sometimes exceeded the scope of qualified immunity. After its review of the district court record, the Tenth Circuit affirmed in all respects except one: the Court directed the district court to grant qualified immunity to defendant Sutton on plaintiff's "failure to transfer" claim.