Fineola Ingram; Justin Simmons; Brian Boykin Plaintiffs - Appellants
Cole County; Sheriff Greg White; John Wheeler Defendants-Appellees
Submitted: September 22, 2016
from United States District Court for the Western District of
Missouri - Jefferson City
RILEY, Chief Judge, MURPHY and SMITH, Circuit Judges.
laundry policy at the Cole County Detention Center leaves
pretrial detainees naked, with only a bed sheet and a blanket
for cover, every four nights for women and every two-to-three
nights for men. During this time, guards and cellmates may
see the detainees naked. Because this plausibly amounts to
unconstitutional punishment, we reverse the district
court's dismissal of the plaintiffs' complaint.
plaintiffs were detainees at the Cole County Detention Center
("Jail"). Fineola Ingram was detained for 85 days
beginning in November 2013. Justin Simmons was detained from
April-September 2013 and again from April-July 2015. Brian
Boykin was detained from March 2015 through at least July
2015, when this suit was filed.
policy prohibits detainees from wearing their own clothes.
Instead, the jail gives each detainee one set of clothes:
underwear, undershirt, pants, outershirt, socks, and shoes.
Female detainees also get a bra. Female detainees'
clothes are washed every four days; male detainees'
clothes are washed every two-to-three days. While this set of
clothes is being washed, detainees are not provided
substitute garments. They are, however, given a bed sheet and
a blanket. Jail staff usually does the laundry at night and
returns the clothes the following morning. This takes about
seven hours. The cells have windows that, per jail policy,
may not be covered. So during this time, jail guards and
cellmates may see the detainees unclothed if not concealed by
their bedding. Sometimes male guards return clothes to female
detainees and female guards return clothes to male detainees.
plaintiffs sued in July 2015 as two putative classes: current
detainees and former ones. They alleged that the laundry
policy violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the
United States Constitution and corresponding provisions of
the Missouri Constitution. They sought a temporary
restraining order and a permanent injunction against Cole
County, Sheriff Greg White, and Chief Deputy John Wheeler,
and they sought damages against White and Wheeler. The
district court denied the request for a restraining order and
set the preliminary injunction for a hearing. The parties
held depositions, and the defendants produced limited
documents. The defendants moved to dismiss in late July 2015.
court ultimately cancelled the injunction hearing and granted
the dismissal motion. It held that the plaintiffs alleged
"no more than minimal deprivation." Because the
laundry was being done at night, the court observed,
"[d]etainees are sleeping in the nude, not going about
their activities during the waking part of the day in the
nude. Furthermore, detainees are issued a sheet and a blanket
. . . and may cover themselves with sheet and blanket if they
wish." The court also noted that the plaintiffs have no
general right not to be seen by guards of the opposite sex.
It therefore concluded that "[t]he laundry policy at
issue here creates no combination of factors that establish a
constitutional violation." The court also identified
cleanliness and hygiene as a legitimate purpose for the
laundry policy. And even if the policy had no valid
penological purpose, the court noted, that alone would not
make it unconstitutional-the focus is on the totality of the
circumstances. The court then granted qualified immunity to
the individual defendants because the plaintiffs had not
alleged an underlying constitutional violation.
plaintiffs moved to set aside the judgment and for leave to
file an amended complaint. The court denied that motion
because the plaintiffs' proposed amended complaint did
not add any allegations based on new evidence-that is,
evidence unavailable before the court ruled on the motion to
dismiss. The plaintiffs now appeal the dismissal and the
denial of their motion to set aside the judgment. Because we
reverse the district court's dismissal, we do not review
its refusal to set aside the judgment in favor of amendment.
review the dismissal de novo. Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 591 (8th Cir. 2009). To survive a
motion to dismiss, the plaintiffs must allege sufficient
facts to state a claim that is plausible on its face.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). They must show more than a sheer possibility
of ultimate success, but they need not establish a
probability of it. Id. A complaint therefore may
proceed even if a savvy judge thinks ultimate success is
unlikely. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
evaluating the constitutionality of pretrial-detention
conditions, "the proper inquiry is whether those
conditions amount to punishment of the detainee."
Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535 (1979). The Due
Process Clause prohibits any punishment before
someone is adjudicated guilty. Id. We must first ask
whether a given imposition is of "a de minimis
level . . . with which the Constitution is not
concerned." Id. at 539 n.21 (quoting
Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651, 674 (1977)). Then,
if the imposition is of constitutional ...