Barney v. Pulsipher

143 F.3d 1299 (1998)

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Barney v. Pulsipher

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
143 F.3d 1299 (1998)


In 1993, Susan Barney and Kathy Christensen (plaintiffs) were sentenced to serve 48-hour sentences at the Box Elder County Jail. The jail maintained several security cameras throughout the prison, which were linked to a dispatch area. However, there was an unmonitored common area. Dispatchers generally watched the monitors in concert with their dispatch duties, but they were not obligated to simultaneously monitor the cameras and conduct their dispatch duties. Pursuant to a state law requiring the separation of prisoners by sex, the Jail Policies and Procedure Manual (manual) required jailers to give the dispatcher notice of entering the cell block of the opposite sex, which the dispatcher would monitor. The manual also prohibited male jailers from removing a female inmate from her cell without the physical presence of another officer. Gerald Pulsipher (defendant) was the only jailer on duty during both Christensen’s and Barney’s stays. Pulsipher removed Christensen from her cell and led her to an unmonitored area, where he threatened to extend Christensen’s jail stay if she did not perform oral sex. Pulsipher also removed Barney from her cell during her stay and took Barney to the same unmonitored area, where Pulsipher sexually assaulted Barney. Both times, Pulsipher did not notify the dispatcher or have another jailer present. Neither Christensen nor Barney reported the sexual assaults to the county, but Barney informed her counselor. The counselor reported Pulsipher to Barney’s probation officer, who reported it to Sheriff Limb (defendant). Pulsipher was terminated and criminally charged. Barney sued Pulsipher, Box Elder County, Sheriff Limb, and multiple commissioners in their official and individual capacities under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of the Eighth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause. Christensen filed a similar lawsuit. The district court consolidated the cases. The district court granted motions for summary judgment filed by the county, Sheriff Limb, and the commissioners. Barney and Christensen appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Seymour, C.J.)

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