On December 17, 2013, a transgender federal prisoner filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The plaintiff sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) under Bivens
in violation of her Eight Amendment rights. Represented by Prisoners' Justice League of Colorado and private counsel, the plaintiff sought nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages. The plaintiff also sought an injunction requiring the BOP to provide her with permanent safe housing and adequate medical and mental healthcare.
The plaintiff identified as female but was anatomically male, and was housed in an all-male prison. The plaintiff alleged that the BOP failed to protect her from a violent sexual assault perpetrated against her at the United States Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, on December 17, 2011. She further alleged that the BOP had failed to protect her from actual and ongoing substantial risks of serious harm and to properly diagnose and treat her Gender Dysphoria. She also alleged that the defendants failed to provide her with adequate mental health care pertaining to her Rape Trauma Syndrome and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The individual defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and for lack of jurisdiction on July 21, 2014. The plaintiff amended the complaint on September 25, 2014, against the individual defendants in the lawsuit. On October 15, 2014, the court then denied the defendants' motions to dismiss without prejudice as moot because the complaint had been amended.
All defendants filed a joint motion for a referral for a settlement conference on February 19, 2015. The court denied this motion on February 23, 2015, citing a lack of good cause shown for a judicially facilitated settlement in the case. The court stated that although the parties had had settlement discussions, there was no showing that they had sought private mediation or were unable to do so. As a result, the parties entered into private settlement talks.
On April 29, 2015, the parties indicated that they had a settlement on nearly all substantive terms, and were very close to resolving the few remaining outstanding issues. As a result, the parties filed a joint motion for an order to set a deadline to file dismissal papers. On May 2, 2015, the court issued an order granting in part and denying in part the motion. The court ordered that the parties submit dismissal papers by June 1, 2015.
On May 29, 2015, the parties agreed to a settlement agreement of injunctive and declaratory relief claims. The BOP agreed to house the plaintiff in a wet cell with a pre-screened cellmate and periodically re-evaluate the propriety of housing the plaintiff at a male facility. The BOP will provide adequate medical and psychological treatment for the plaintiff’s gender dysphoria and require the plaintiff’s medical professionals to periodically evaluate the sufficiency of the plaintiff’s treatment.
The term of the injunctive portion of the agreement is two years. Each party agreed to pay its own attorney’s fees and expenses and the United States agreed to pay $70,000 to settle the FTCA Claim.
The settlement agreement further provided that the plaintiff voluntarily dismiss the Bivens
action against the defendant and instead file an amended complaint that contains an injunctive relief claim against the BOP and a negligence claim for failure to protect against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (the “FTCA”). The plaintiff agreed to dismiss the failure to treat claim and not reassert it in the amended complaint. Parties also agreed to file a stipulation of dismissal to dismiss this action.
On June 1, 2015, the plaintiff filed a second amended complaint as agreed. On the same day, the defendants and plaintiffs stipulated dismissal of the case with prejudice. This lawsuit was then terminated on June 2, 2015, pursuant to the stipulation to dismiss as filed. Jenn Nelson - 11/15/2015
Susie Choi - 03/14/2017