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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Michelle Ortiz
Paula Jordan and Rebecca Bright
Decided By 
(for the petitioner)
(Solicitor General of Ohio, for the respondents)
Facts of the Case 

Michelle Ortiz, a former inmate, filed suit against several state and prison officials in an Ohio federal district court for violating her civil rights. While Ms. Ortiz served her sentence, she was sexually abused by a corrections officer on two consecutive nights. Prior to the second incident, Ms. Ortiz complained to prison officials, but was told "that the man was leaving," "this was his nature," and he "is just an old dirty man." The corrections officer assaulted her on the following night. At trial, the jury found in favor of Ms. Ortiz against two of the prison officials – Paula Jordan and Rebecca Bright.

On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed, holding that the prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity and dismissed the case. The court noted that while courts do not normally review the denial of summary judgment after a trial on the merits, a denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity is an exception to the general rule. The court reasoned that Ms. Jordan's conduct did not violate Ms. Ortiz's Eight Amendment right to humane conditions because Ms. Jordan was not "deliberately indifferent" to Ms. Ortiz's plight.


May a party appeal an order denying summary judgment after a full trial on the merits if the party chose not to appeal the order before trial?

Decision: 9 votes for Ortiz, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: summary judgment

No. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the lower court order in a unanimous opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which held that a party may not appeal a denial of summary judgment after a district court has conducted a full trial on the merits. Justice Clarence Thomas filed a special concurrence, joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy.

Cite this Page
ORTIZ v. JORDAN . The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 30 July 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2010/2010_09_737>.
ORTIZ v. JORDAN , The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2010/2010_09_737 (last visited July 30, 2015).
"ORTIZ v. JORDAN ," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed July 30, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2010/2010_09_737.