A federal judge has ruled that a Maine woman can continue her lawsuit against Cumberland County contending that jail officers violated her constitutional right to privacy when they remained in her hospital delivery room while she gave birth to a baby girl in 2019.

Judge Nancy Torresen, in a court order released Wednesday, denied motions for summary judgment by Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce, Timothy Kortes (the jail administrator at the time), and corrections officers Sam Dickey and Daniel Haskell.

Torreson granted a motion for summary judgment made by corrections officer Carrie Brady, dismissing her from the suit as she cited Brady’s lack of experience as a corrections officer at the time of the delivery.

Torresen’s 27-page decision means the civil rights suit filed by Jaden Brown, 33, of Lewiston against the four defendants can proceed to trial, according to her Portland attorney, Jeremy Dean.

Brown filed a lawsuit in December 2020 against the county. She has changed attorneys several times.

“All of this stuff is new,” Dean said in an interview Thursday night. “There is some damning evidence and it is all on the public record now.”


Jaden Brown was pregnant in July 2018 when she turned herself into the Cumberland County Jail on a probation violation charge. Brown was sentenced to serve 15 months. She started having contractions on the morning of Feb. 10, 2019, and was taken to Maine Medical Center about 11 a.m.

Dickey, Haskell and Brady were assigned to monitor Brown during her hospital stay. They remained in the delivery room rather than standing watch by the door or in the adjacent hallway, Dean said. Dean said his client was not dangerous and did not pose a flight risk.

“It’s laughable, it’s ridiculous and it defies common sense,” Dean said of the officers’ presence in the delivery room. Dean said his client did not feel comfortable breastfeeding her newborn or holding the baby with the officers nearby.

Dean said the significance of Wednesday’s ruling by Torresen means there is sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to trial.

“Jaden and I both have felt like we’ve been crying in the wilderness. Having a judge respond to us in this way is very gratifying,” Dean said.

While the officers claim they did not observe Brown’s naked body during the delivery process, Torresen wrote in her decision that, “The record, however, is replete with facts that cast doubt on the officer defendants’ assertions.”


Torresen said a photo of the delivery room at Maine Medical Center shows the room was large with plenty of space for the officers to stand watch over their prisoner rather than sitting on a bench about 2 feet from her bed.

“Yet, rather than position themselves near the doorway or farther away from the plaintiff’s hospital bed, where they could have afforded Brown more privacy, defendants Brady and Dickey chose to sit on the bench immediately to the side of Brown’s bed. The defendants spent hours on that bench while the plaintiff underwent intimate medical examinations, gave birth, and, at least at times, had her genitals and breasts exposed,” Torresen wrote in her order.

According to Torresen’s decision, Haskell was in and out of the hospital room during Brown’s delivery.

John Wall, the Portland attorney representing the corrections officers, did not respond to an email seeking a reaction.

Torreson denied Joyce and Kortes’ motions for summary judgment. Brown argues that they should be held accountable for their officers’ actions.

Joyce planned to release Brown from custody in 2019 with an ankle bracelet for monitoring as soon as she went into labor, but this did not happen because of a miscommunication between Joyce and Kortes, Torreson wrote in her order.

“In this case, a reasonable juror could find that the facts support the imposition of supervisory liability on defendants Kortes and Joyce,” Torresen wrote in her order. “Although the jail had a policy that, absent emergency circumstances, officers were not allowed in the room of an inmate labor and delivery, that prohibition was buried in a policy dealing with the use of restraints and was not contained in the policy on hospitalized inmates.”

Joyce and Cumberland County Manager Jim Gailey each said in separate emails Thursday that the county does not comment on pending litigation.

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