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Jail-lawsuit appeal rejected by court

A man who claims he was mistreated during a brief incarceration at the Salt Lake County Jail has lost his appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

James B. White, who represented himself without an attorney, claimed in a lawsuit filed in February 2000 he had been "illegally detained, denied legal access, attacked by other inmates and subjected to squalid living conditions" for several hours after his arrest on traffic and other charges on Sept. 9, 1999.

But U.S. District Judge Bruce S. Jenkins dismissed the case in June, saying that, under Utah law, the jail is not a person or legally created entity capable of being sued.

Thursday the appeals court agreed. "A county may sue or be sued, but there is no statutory or case authority supporting a direct action against a county's subdivisions, including jails," the ruling stated.