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Ashley A. Diamond v. Brian Owens, et al.
United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
131 F. Supp. 3d 1346 (2015)
In 2012 Ashley Diamond (plaintiff), a transgender woman, was incarcerated within the Georgia Department of Corrections (the department). At the time of Diamond’s incarceration, she had been on hormone therapy for over 17 years and presented as a woman. However, the department placed her in a closed-security facility for male prisoners. Diamond endured a brutal sexual assault. Diamond was then transferred to another closed-security facility for male prisoners, where she was subjected to another sexual assault. Diamond reported the sexual assaults to prison personnel and met with a mental-health professional employed by the department. Although the mental-health professional recommended that Diamond be relocated to a medium-security facility to mitigate her risk of future sexual assaults, the department transferred her to a third closed-security facility for male prisoners. Diamond was sexually assaulted four additional times, including by her cellmate. Diamond reported each incident and continuously requested to be transferred to a medium-security facility to lower her risk of sexual assault. The department failed to take any protective measures. The department also informed Diamond that she was to blame for the assaults because of her transgender status. Eventually, Diamond filed a failure-to-protect cause of action in federal district court against Brian Owens, who was the department’s commissioner, and other prison personnel (collectively, the prison personnel) (defendants). Diamond argued that the prison personnel’s failure to protect her violated the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The prison personnel moved to dismiss on the grounds that Diamond had failed to state a claim and that qualified immunity applied. The district court considered the motions.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Treadwell, J.)
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