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Case Name Hill v. United States of America PC-CO-0023
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-03404 ( D. Colo. )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Post-PLRA Jail and Prison Private Settlement Agreements
Case Summary
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 ... read more >
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


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
Sexual orientatation
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Classification / placement
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Race, unspecified
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Bivens
Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. § 2674
Defendant(s) United State Bureau of Prisons
United States of America
Plaintiff Description Ms. Hill is a prisoner in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"). Ms. Hill is anatomically male, but identifies as female, and has done so since a very young age. She prefers to dress and groom as a female and requests that others treat her as a female. Because Ms. Hill is anatomically male, the BOP houses Ms. Hill in all-male prisons.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration 2015 - 2017
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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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 ]

Links Cruel Confinement: Abuse, Discrimination and Death Within Alabama's Prisons
Written: Jun. 04, 2014
(Southern Poverty Law Center )
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:13−cv−03404−MSK−NYW (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0023-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/02/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint and Jury Demand
PC-CO-0023-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/17/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint and Jury Demand
PC-CO-0023-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/25/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0023-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/15/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement
PC-CO-0023-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/29/2015
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Second Amended Complaint
PC-CO-0023-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Boland, Boyd N. (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0023-0005
Krieger, Marcia S. (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0023-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers April, Sarah Elizabeth (Colorado)
PC-CO-0023-9000
Gurr, Stephen D. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0023-0001 | PC-CO-0023-0003 | PC-CO-0023-9000
Hartley, Sarah Levine (Colorado)
PC-CO-0023-0002 | PC-CO-0023-0003 | PC-CO-0023-0004 | PC-CO-0023-9000
Owen, Elisabeth L. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0023-0001 | PC-CO-0023-0002 | PC-CO-0023-0003 | PC-CO-0023-0004 | PC-CO-0023-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Padden, Amy L. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0023-0002 | PC-CO-0023-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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