Sample Case Study on Palakovic V. Wetzel

Case Analysis

Facts. Renee Palakovic and Darian Palakovic, the parents to Brandon Palakovic, filed an 8th amendment claim against various defendants responsible for failing to take care of Brandon while incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) at Cresson. Brandon, a mentally-ill young man committed suicide while in prison. The parents had initially filed a claim with the District Court, which was dismissed on the grounds of inadequacy in the allegations. Further examination of the case showed that the parent’s claims had been justified given the conditions surrounding their son’s death. The three claims made by Renee and Darian Palakovic included: that the facility had insufficient psychiatric staff hence was incapable of handling the case, had failed to provide enough oversight for the victim to engage in his medication regimes, and that there had been poor medical records and lack of staff training to respond to the needs of mentally ill inmates. Following the case dismissal, the victim’s parents appealed at the U.S. Court of Appeal, which vacated the dismissal by the district court and required the appellants to present new claims with the same allegations dismissed by the District Court.

Issue. The issue under contention was that the SCI had acted unjustly in dismissing the case during the initial filing.

Answer. Yes.

Reasoning. During the initial case, the SCI had dismissed the case arguing that the bases upon which the appellants filed the case were unjustified. The court of appeal argued that family of Brandon should not have been precluded from bringing forth an 8th amendment claim because Brandon did not do so and he had already passed on. Moreover, the prison officials should have been aware that solitary confinement aggravates mental health conditions, and that the psychological wellbeing professionals and the prison officials were indifferent to Brandon’s medical needs. The claims were therefore justified and the court had dismissed the case unjustly.