University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Turner v. Schultz PC-CO-0011
Docket / Court 1:99-cv-02232-LTB-OES ( D. Colo. )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On November 11, 1999, an inmate incarcerated at the Federal Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, filed a Bivens lawsuit against fifteen corrections officers and officials pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. The plaintiff, represented by ... read more >
On November 11, 1999, an inmate incarcerated at the Federal Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, filed a Bivens lawsuit against fifteen corrections officers and officials pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. The plaintiff, represented by court-appointed counsel, alleged violations of his Fourth and Eighth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that several corrections officers, known as the "Cowboys," were liable for malicious prosecution, cruel and unusual punishment, and the failure to train and supervise their subordinates.

According to the plaintiff, the Cowboys conspired to assault prisoners whom they perceived as disciplinary problems. On August 8, 1996, two of the officers stabbed themselves and then accused the plaintiff. The Cowboys repeatedly brutally beat the plaintiff that day and psychologically abused him for the next two weeks. The abuse ceased when the plaintiff confessed to the stabbing. Although the plaintiff was indicted, the charges against him were dropped on July 28, 1998. The Cowboys, conversely, were criminally indicted under 18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242. Two officers pled guilty, but the rest opted for trial.

On February 15, 2001, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado (Chief Judge Lewis T. Babcock) dismissed the plaintiff's malicious prosecution and failure to train claims. Turner v. Schultz, 130 F. Supp. 2d 1216 (D. Colo. 2001). The court recognized that a prisoner could not claim malicious prosecution under the Fourth Amendment because a prisoner's freedom cannot be seized wrongfully. Similarly, the court reasoned that the plaintiff could not raise a malicious prosecution claim on a theory of emotional suffering because, under the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e), an emotional wrong must be accompanied by a physical injury. The court refused to dismiss the plaintiffs' failure to supervise claims because prison supervisors were aware of the Cowboys' unorthodox behavior and intentionally scheduled them to work together.

On April 12, 2001, seven of the defendants filed a third-party complaint, charging that the United States Department of Justice was required to provide its employees with legal representation. On February 20, 2002, the court interpreted the permissive language in the 28 U.S.C. § 517 and 28 C.F.R. § 50.15(a) as giving the Department of Justice the discretion to choose whether or not to represent its employees. Turner v. Schultz, 187 F. Supp. 2d 1288 (D. Colo. 2002). The court held that the Department of Justice's decision was not judicially reviewable.

On October 3, 2002, the court referred the case to a Magistrate (Judge O. Edward Schlatter) for settlement. It appears that a settlement was reached because the plaintiff moved to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice on May 20, 2005. The court (Judge Babcock) granted this motion on May 23, 2005.

Elizabeth Chilcoat - 06/15/2006


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Disciplinary procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Federal Corrections Officers (as individuals)
Plaintiff Description Prisoner alleging he was physically assaulted by employees of the United States Bureau of Prisons
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
1:99-cv-02232-LTB-OES (D. Colo.) 06/15/2006
PC-CO-0011-9000.pdf | Detail
General Documents
Opinion 02/15/2001 (130 F.Supp.2d 1216) (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0011-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 02/20/2002 (187 F.Supp.2d 1288) (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0011-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Babcock, Lewis Thornton (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0011-0001 | PC-CO-0011-0002 | PC-CO-0011-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Alper, Michael D. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-9000
Baroway, E. Scott (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-0001 | PC-CO-0011-0002 | PC-CO-0011-9000
Bisset, Jennifer E. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-9000
O'Donnell, Michael L. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fabian, Anthony John (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-0001 | PC-CO-0011-9000
Johns, Paul J. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-0002 | PC-CO-0011-9000
Kennedy, Edmund Martin (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-0001 | PC-CO-0011-9000
Liechty, Robert Mark (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-0001 | PC-CO-0011-0002 | PC-CO-0011-9000
MacFarlane, Neil E. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-9000
Marks, Josh Adam (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-0002 | PC-CO-0011-9000
Montoya, Gilbert Orlando Jr. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-0001 | PC-CO-0011-0002 | PC-CO-0011-9000
Parker, Kristy (District of Columbia)
PC-CO-0011-9000
Sares, Mark Andrew (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-9000
Weinman, Tara Kim (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-0001 | PC-CO-0011-0002 | PC-CO-0011-9000
Westby, Charles Winfred (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -