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E. Supp. 23

Abstract

On March 25, 2011, in Chao v. Ballista, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied defendant prison officials’ motion for summary judgment on an inmate’s Eighth Amendment claims of sexual misconduct, and a jury held a prison superintendent liable for failure to protect the inmate from a prison guard’s sexual abuse. Although the district court drew thoughtful attention to the unique vulnerabilities of female inmates, the court implicitly expanded the Supreme Court’s Farmer v. Brennan standard for deliberate indifference in failure to protect claims, potentially lowering the bar for establishing Eighth Amendment violations by prison officials in all-female facilities.

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