No Cure for a Broken Heart
Sharfstein, Daniel J.
Davis filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit pro se for the violation of his constitutional right to privacy, seeking $1.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The district court dismissed the claim sua sponte, relying on a section of the newly enacted Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), entitled "Limitation on Recovery": "No Federal civil action may be brought by a prisoner confined in a jail, prison, or other correctional facility, for mental or emotional injury suffered while in custody without a prior showing of physical injury." Davis challenged this physical injury requirement on equal protection grounds, but in "Davis v. District of Columbia" the D.C. Circuit held that there is no cure for a broken heart...The court upheld the physical injury requirement as being rationally related to the government's interest in "cutting back meritless prisoner litigation," and Davis's claim was dismissed with prejudice.