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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Dunlap v. Zavaras PC-CO-0026
Docket / Court 1:09-cv-01196-WJM-MEH ( D. Colo. )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On May 26, 2009, prisoners at the Colorado State Penitentiary (CSP) filed this pro se lawsuit against the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for allegedly violating his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The main pro se plaintiff had been sentenced to death on ... read more >
On May 26, 2009, prisoners at the Colorado State Penitentiary (CSP) filed this pro se lawsuit against the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for allegedly violating his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The main pro se plaintiff had been sentenced to death on May 17, 1996 and automatically incarcerated at CSP, the highest security level prison in the CDOC. He, along with others at the prison, were subject to a CSP policy prohibiting prisoners from any outdoors exercise. The plaintiffs asserted that this policy, specifically that the lack of sunlight, constituted cruel and unusual punishment because it created a substantial risk of harm to his mental and physical health. The plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief.

The plaintiff moved for class action certification on May 26, 2009 because he believed his claims were common to all 750 prisoners at the CSP. The court (Judge Zita Weinshienk) denied this motion on July 9, 2009, holding that, because the plaintiff was a pro se litigant, he could not represent other pro se litigants under federal law. She also denied his motion for a preliminary injunction allowing prisoners to exercise outside because plaintiff did not demonstrate that he would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction was denied. In addition, Judge Weinshienk dismissed some of the pro se plaintiffs and instructed the remaining plaintiffs to file an amended complaint.

On September 25, 2009, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint. The defendant responded by filing a motion to dismiss in December of 2009. In January of 2010, the magistrate judge recommended that the motion to dismiss be granted.

On March 10, 2010, the last remaining plaintiff filed a third amended complaint to narrow his claim and the relief sought, and to amend the case caption to name only the executive director of the CDOC. The parties scheduled discovery, and on November 24, 2010, the defendant and plaintiff both moved for summary judgment.

On Feb 9, 2011 the case was reassigned to Judge William J. Martinez upon his recent appointment on the court. The parties continued to prepare for trial.

On May 20, 2011, attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union began representing the plaintiff, and on May 25, 2011, there was a settlement on all claims and the case was administratively closed, presumably because the settlement agreement reserves the right for the plaintiff to come to court to enforce the agreement.

Amanda Kenner - 02/03/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Administrative segregation
Recreation / Exercise
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Aristedes Zavaraz
Plaintiff Description Prisoner sentenced to death, incarcerated in the Colorado State Penitentiary.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  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)
1:09-cv-1196 (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0026-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/28/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order to Dismiss in Part and Denying Motions [ECF# 15] (2009 WL 2006848) (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0026-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/09/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Prisoners Complaint [ECF# 4]
PC-CO-0026-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/26/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Amended Complaint [ECF# 59]
PC-CO-0026-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/12/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Hegarty, Michael E. (D. Colo.) [Magistrate]
PC-CO-0026-9000
Martinez, William Joseph (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0026-9000
Weinshienk, Zita Leeson (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0026-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Johnson, Gail K. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0026-0002 | PC-CO-0026-9000
Silverstein, Mark (Colorado)
PC-CO-0026-0002 | PC-CO-0026-9000
Wallace, Rebecca Teitelbaum (Colorado)
PC-CO-0026-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Alber, Christopher Wayne (Colorado)
PC-CO-0026-9000
Farry, Edward T. Jr. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0026-9000

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