University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Anderson v. State of Colorado PC-CO-0017
Docket / Court 10-cv-01005-RBJ-KMT ( D. Colo. )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Special Collection Solitary confinement
Attorney Organization Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
Case Summary
On May 3, 2010, a prisoner with mental illness incarcerated at a “supermax” facility in the Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The plaintiff sued the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC), the warden of the ... read more >
On May 3, 2010, a prisoner with mental illness incarcerated at a “supermax” facility in the Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The plaintiff sued the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC), the warden of the Colorado State Penitentiary, and the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections. The plaintiff alleged violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act. The plaintiff, represented by the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, alleged that by placing him in segregation for over a decade and not allowing him to experience daylight, fresh air, or outdoor exercise, the defendants had denied him numerous privileges afforded to other prisoners because of his mental illness. Further, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants denied him appropriate treatment for serious mental health issues. In the alternative, the plaintiff pleaded that the defendants punished him for his actual or perceived disability-related behavior without reasonable accommodations. He alleged that the prison made him ineligible for early release credits due to an arbitrary demerit system that punished his improperly treated mental illness without notice of what behaviors he was charged with and without sufficient procedures for review. The plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief, compensatory damages under the Rehabilitation Act, and attorneys' fees and costs. This case was assigned to Judge R. Brooke Jackson and referred to Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya.

On May 25, 2010, the defendants moved to dismiss the case and the district court denied the motion. On March 26, 2012, both the plaintiff and the defendants’ motions for summary judgment were denied on the merits. 848 F.Supp.2d 1291. The case proceeded to a bench trial which occurred between April 30 and May 8, 2012. On August 28, 2012, the court released a final order and judgment. 887 F. Supp. 2d 1133. The court stated: "denial of any opportunity to be outdoors and to engage in some form of outdoor exercise for a period of 12 years is a serious deprivation of a human need" and is "a paradigm of inhumane treatment." The court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff since it found a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The court ordered the CDOC to develop and present a plan that ensured the plaintiff had access to outdoor exercise for at least one hour three times a week. The court also ordered that the defendants assign a CDOC psychiatrist to evaluate the plaintiff's mental health treatment needs. The court noted that the formulary list of pre-approved medication could not be a bar to the plaintiff receiving whatever medication the psychiatrist deemed appropriate. Because the CDOC’s system for disciplinary proceedings had changed during the course of litigation, the court ruled in favor of the defendants to give their new policy a chance. However, the judge wrote in his opinion that if the new system proved to be "form over substance, [the plaintiff] knows where to find me." The court found that the plaintiff largely prevailed, and therefore awarded him costs and attorneys’ fees.

The plaintiff made subsequent motions: to alter or amend the judgment (September 21, 2012), for post-judgment discovery (November 16, 2012), and to enforce the settlement agreement regarding attorneys’ fees (July 15, 2013). The court granted the motion for discovery on January 2, 2013 and denied the other motions without prejudice on September 4, 2013. That same day, the court found that the exercise cells being used at CDOC’s Sterling facility did not amount to an acceptable permanent solution for providing an opportunity to exercise. It also found that there was uncertainty about how the mental health treatment issue was being resolved, as it was unclear whether there was inadequate treatment available or whether the plaintiff was refusing to accept available treatment.

Per the parties’ request, the court permitted them to engage in settlement discussions. The parties received several time extensions until the court made clear that it would not continue to grant extensions indefinitely.

On September 12, 2014, the plaintiff moved to enforce the August 28, 2012 judgment and further relief or, in the alternative, for a hearing on the order to show cause by the plaintiff. Although the plaintiff had been given a more substantial opportunity to exercise and access to mental health treatment, he was concerned that he would not be provided these services in the future.

On April 7, 2015, the court issued an order denying the plaintiff’s motion. 2015 WL 1593884. The court noted that the plaintiff had been permitted to exercise outside since July 2014 and had been placed on a treatment plan by a psychologist in the facility the month before. The court expressed its confidence in the CDOC’s leaders’ commitment to following through on the policy changes made in the prison.

There have been no further developments since the April 2015 order.

Emily Goldman - 10/12/2012
Julie Singer - 02/27/2017
Hannah Greenhouse - 03/20/2019


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Administrative segregation
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Confinement/isolation
Disciplinary segregation
Good time
Grievance Procedures
Recreation / Exercise
Rehabilitation
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Medical/Mental Health
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Colorado Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Prisoner with mental disability who had been in segregation for twelve years without exercise.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2010
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
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
Book
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
1:10−cv−01005 (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0017-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/07/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-CO-0017-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/03/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 37] (2011 WL 1195393) (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0017-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/30/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Response to Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 49]
PC-CO-0017-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/21/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 80] (848 F.Supp.2d 1291) (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0017-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/26/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Trial Brief [ECF# 91]
PC-CO-0017-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/23/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Order and Judgment [ECF# 109] (887 F.Supp.2d 1133) (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0017-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/24/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Judgment [ECF# 110] (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0017-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/28/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 188] (2015 WL 1593884) (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0017-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/07/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Daniel, Wiley Young (D. Colo.) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0017-0003
Jackson, Richard Brooke (D. Colo.) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0017-0001 | PC-CO-0017-0004 | PC-CO-0017-0008 | PC-CO-0017-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fox, Timothy Patrick (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0017-0006 | PC-CO-0017-0007 | PC-CO-0017-9000
Glidden, Brittany L. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0017-0002 | PC-CO-0017-0006 | PC-CO-0017-0007 | PC-CO-0017-9000
Robertson, Amy Farr (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0017-0002 | PC-CO-0017-0006 | PC-CO-0017-0007 | PC-CO-0017-9000
Rovner, Laura Lee (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0017-0002 | PC-CO-0017-0006 | PC-CO-0017-0007 | PC-CO-0017-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Alber, Christopher Wayne (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0017-9000
Fredericks, Jacquelynn Nicole Rich (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0017-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -