Horvitz & Levy, in conjunction with the Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic at the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, obtained a victory for a prisoner pursuing civil rights claims after a brutal assault in prison.
Glenn Leonard, an inmate in Oregon State Prison, brought a lawsuit against prison officials after he was assaulted by a fellow prisoner. He asserted an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against the prison officials because he had warned them about other prisoners threatening to assault him and the prison officials did nothing to protect him. His complaint also alleged that prison officials violated his First Amendment rights by retaliating against him when he filed formal complaints against them. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants.
The Ninth Circuit appointed Horvitz & Levy and the Pepperdine Caruso Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic as pro bono counsel for Leonard on appeal. Two law students, working under the supervision of Horvitz & Levy attorneys, prepared briefing and presented oral argument on Leonard’s behalf. The Ninth Circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of Mr. Leonard. The panel ruled that the district court had improperly granted summary judgment on Leonard’s claim that the prison officials had violated the Eighth Amendment by acting with deliberate indifference towards Mr. Leonard’s safety, after being notified that he faced a substantial risk of serious harm. The court remanded Leonard’s case to the district court so that he can proceed with his claim for damages as a result of the assault.