We didn’t learn much in Taylor v. Barkes. But we could have.
Prison officials asked the Supreme Court to resolve a circuit split over whether supervisors can be liable for constitutional violations caused by their failure to supervise. Instead of requesting and holding oral argument before deciding the case, the Court summarily reversed the lower court in a per curiam (unauthored) opinion. The Court “expess[ed] no view” on the vitality of supervisory liability instead concluding no clearly established constitutional right was implicated in this case.
The Court granted two prison officials qualified immunity related to an inmate’s suicide reasoning that no precedent at the time of the suicide established that an incarcerated person had a right to proper implementation of adequate suicide prevention protocols. So prison officials could not be liable for failing to supervise the contractor providing suicide screening. Continue reading