McGarry v. Pallito, No. 10-669 (2d Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
McGarry claimed that while he was a pretrial detainee at the Vermont Chittenden Regional Correction Facility, facing charges related to a domestic dispute, prison officials compelled him to work in the prison laundry under threat of physical restraint and legal process. His pro se complaint alleged violation of his Thirteenth Amendment right to be free from involuntary servitude. The district court dismissed, reasoning that McGarry did not allege that his work in the laundry was “like the slavery that gave rise to the enactment of [the Thirteenth] Amendment.” The Second Circuit reversed. The complaint plausibly stated a claim; defendants did not establish entitlement to qualified immunity. Correctional institutions may require inmates
to perform personal housekeeping chores such as cleaning the areas in or around their cells without violating the Thirteenth Amendment, but it is “clearly established” that requiring hard labor of pretrial detainees (persons not “duly convicted”) violates the Thirteenth Amendment. A pretrial detainee’s compelled work in a laundry for up to 14 hours a day for three days a week doing other inmates’ laundry cannot reasonably be construed as personally related housekeeping chores and officers of reasonable competence could not disagree.