Hines v. Youseff, No. 15-16145 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
After inmates were exposed to a heightened risk of getting Valley Fever, they filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against state officials for money damages, alleging that exposing them to a heightened risk of getting Valley Fever was cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. African-American inmates also brought a challenge under the Equal Protection Clause, claiming that African-American inmates were particularly likely to get Valley Fever and suffer serious consequences.
The Ninth Circuit held that several of the defendants could not be sued at all because they were not personally involved in any alleged violations. The panel also held that the officials were entitled to qualified immunity against claims that they were deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of serious harm in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and also entitled to qualified immunity against claims that they racially discriminated against African-American inmates. In this case, it would not have been "obvious" to any reasonable official that they had to segregate prisoners by race or do more than the federal Receiver told them to do. Accordingly, the panel affirmed in part and reversed in part.