Stillwater prison inmate, January 2019. (Photo: Kevin Featherly)

 

In law-making finding, court applies ‘deliberate indifference’ standard

 

A prison inmate’s lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Corrections for injuries caused by allegedly improper restraints may continue, the Court of Appeals has ruled, in a case making new law in Minnesota.

The lawsuit alleges that the state violated Christopher Welters’ Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by its use of mechanical restraints while he was being transported for medical care—and, in fact, while he was receiving care under anesthesia. 

He also asserts a negligence claim against the DOC and the officers for use of restraints that violated procedure.

The Court of Appeals said that the case should proceed for a finder of fact to say whether the guards displayed deliberate indifference to Welters' physical condition.

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