Monday, June 23, 2003

Qualified immunity and a consensus of medical opinion

The opinion of Judge Easterbrook for the Seventh Circuit in the case of West v. Schwebke seems to have turned the qualified immunity standard upside down, in concluding that there was a triable question of fact when medical experts disagreed on the propriety of the conditions of plaintiff's confinement. The issue is whether a reasonable official in the defendant's position could have thought that those conditions were medically justified, based on the state of available knowledge at that time, not whether that was the right conclusion or even the best conclusion.

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