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Case Name Shook v. Board of County Commissioners JC-CO-0006
Docket / Court 1:02-cv-00651-RPM ( D. Colo. )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On April 2, 2002, prisoners at the El Paso County Jail in Colorado Springs filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against El Paso County and its former and current sheriffs. The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from the ACLU, ... read more >
On April 2, 2002, prisoners at the El Paso County Jail in Colorado Springs filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against El Paso County and its former and current sheriffs. The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from the ACLU, alleged that the jail failed to protect and adequately provide for prisoners with serious mental health needs. When the lawsuit was filed, nine prisoners had died in the jail in recent years, and in the first year that the lawsuit was pending, two additional prisoners in the jail died from suicide. In almost every case, the deceased prisoner was suicidal, seriously mentally ill, or displaying symptoms of psychosis from overdose or withdrawal. Plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as class certification. Since the filing of the complaint, at least three separate reports by outside investigators have documented the inadequate state of mental health care in the jail: a report by a citizen's panel appointed by the Sheriff from October, 2002, a report by the National Institute of Corrections from May 26, 2003, and a report by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care from June 25, 2004.

On July 29, 2003, the District Court (Judge Richard P. Matsch) denied both the defendants' motion to dismiss and the plaintiff's motion for class certification. Shook v. El Paso County, 216 F.R.D. 644 (July 29, 2003). Plaintiffs appealed the denial of the class certification, and they won a ruling in the Tenth Circuit on October 18, 2004. Shook v. El Paso County., 386 F.3d 963 (10th Cir. 2004)

After the case returned to the district court, on April 1, 2005, the plaintiffs filed a Supplemental Complaint. Additional prisoners intervened as plaintiffs, and the plaintiffs filed a renewed motion for class certification. On June 28, 2006, Judge Matsch denied class certification a second time. Shook v. Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs of Cnty. of El Paso, No. CIV.A. 02CV00651RPM, 2006 WL 1801379 (D. Colo. June 28, 2006).

On September 22, 2006, Judge Matsch dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. The plaintiffs appealed again to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. On August 29, 2008, Judges Timothy M. Tymkovich, Neil M. Gorsuch, and Jerome M. Holmes of the Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Matsch's decision. Shook v. Bd. of Cnty. Commissioners of Cnty. of El Paso, 543 F.3d 597 (10th Cir. 2008).

Jessica Kincaid - 02/03/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Equal Protection
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Counseling
Failure to train
Pepper/OC spray
Record-keeping
Restraints : chemical
Restraints : physical
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Self-injurious behaviors
Suicide prevention
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) El Paso County
Sheriff
Plaintiff Description Prisoners at the the El Paso County Jail in Colorado Springs
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

Docket(s)
1:02-cv-00651 (D. Colo.) 10/18/2004
JC-CO-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief 04/02/2002
JC-CO-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source:
Supplemental Class Action Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief 01/24/2005
JC-CO-0006-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source:
Order Denying Class Certification 06/28/2006 (D. Colo.)
JC-CO-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Dismissal 09/22/2006 (D. Colo.)
JC-CO-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Appeal from the United States District Court 08/29/2008 (543 F.3d 597)
JC-CO-0006-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Gorsuch, Neil M. (Tenth Circuit)
JC-CO-0006-0003
Matsch, Richard Paul (D. Colo.)
JC-CO-0006-0001 | JC-CO-0006-0002
Nottingham, Edward Willis Jr. (D. Colo.)
JC-CO-0006-9000
Watanabe, Michael J. (D. Colo.) [Magistrate]
JC-CO-0006-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fathi, David Cyrus (District of Columbia)
JC-CO-0006-0005
Nichols, Thomas S. (Colorado)
JC-CO-0006-0005
Silverstein, Mark (Colorado)
JC-CO-0006-0005
Defendant's Lawyers Garcia, J. Benedict (Colorado)
JC-CO-0006-9000
Lauer, Jay Allen (Colorado)
JC-CO-0006-0001 | JC-CO-0006-0003
Other Lawyers None on record

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