Bott v. DeLand

In Bott v. DeLand, 922 P.2d 732, 737 (Utah 1996), the Court upheld a jury verdict holding prison officials liable for violating a prisoner's rights under article I, section 9 when they failed to provide the prisoner with timely medical attention despite his repeated requests and grievances. The Court also noted, however, that not every case of retrospectively inadequate attention to prisoner requests was a constitutional violation. The Court declared in Bott that a violation of the prohibition on unnecessary rigor must arise from "treatment that is clearly excessive or deficient and unjustified, not merely the frustrations, inconveniences, and irritations that are common to prison life." In Bott, the Court held that the unnecessary rigor clause is a self-executing provision that allows for awards of money damages. The Court also held, however, that prison employees may not be liable for all constitutional violations: "To engender liability, an employee's conduct must be voluntary and sufficiently culpable to contravene a prisoner's right to be free from . . . unnecessary rigor."