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§ 1983 claim-Sexual Assault

WI Court of Supreme Court

Case Name: Rachel Slabey v. Dunn County, Wisconsin

Case No.: 2020AP000877

Officials: Annette Kingsland Ziegler, C.J.

Focus: § 1983 claim-Sexual Assault

Slabey argues that her § 1983 claim against Dunn County survives summary judgment because she presented evidence sufficient for a reasonable jury to find that Dunn County violated her rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution when then-Dunn County Correctional Officer Ryan Boigenzahn sexually assaulted her. According to Slabey, Dunn County is liable because the “County was deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of harm to Slabey by failing to thoroughly investigate, appropriately discipline, and adequately supervise Boigenzahn.” Slabey argues that the circuit court erroneously granted Dunn County summary judgment and that the court of appeals erred in affirming that result.

Slabey’s § 1983 claim against Dunn County fails because, under Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978), no reasonable fact finder could conclude that Dunn County was the causal, moving force behind the sexual assault. A § 1983 plaintiff suing a municipality for a constitutional deprivation must prove that the municipality caused——that is, was the moving force behind——the constitutional deprivation.


Decided 01/18/23 

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