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Case Name MoonShadow v. Raemisch PC-CO-0032
Docket / Court 1:16-cv-01717 ( D. Colo. )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On July 5, 2016, plaintiff, a male-to-female transgender inmate incarcerated by the Colorado Department of Corrections [CDOC] who resided in a male facility, filed suit against the chief of psychiatry and the executive director of the CDOC for failure to provide her with appropriate undergarments ... read more >
On July 5, 2016, plaintiff, a male-to-female transgender inmate incarcerated by the Colorado Department of Corrections [CDOC] who resided in a male facility, filed suit against the chief of psychiatry and the executive director of the CDOC for failure to provide her with appropriate undergarments and other items that were available exclusively to female prisoners in conformity with her gender identity, in spite of the fact that she was developing breasts as a result of her hormonal treatment. The complaint was originally filed pro se, but was eventually taken on by the Civil Rights Clinic at the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver. The amended complaint was brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and alleged a violation of the Eighth Amendment based on her inadequate medical care while incarcerated, as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, since her treatment was different than that of cisgender prisoners. The plaintiff sought injunctive and declaratory relief.

The amended complaint contained additional claims of verbal harassment and physical and sexual assault by guards and other inmates that took place in the prison, all of which she reported to the prison, which the plaintiff believed to be the result of her gender identity and expression. She also represented a belief that the appropriate undergarments would make her less vulnerable to attack. Additionally, the complaint alleged that the plaintiff did not have adequate medical treatment to address her gender identity disorder beyond hormone treatment, including sex reassignment surgery. The case was assigned to Judge Marcia S. Krieger and referred to Magistrate Judge Scott T. Varholak.

The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint in December, 2016. In the meantime, the plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint on April 25, 2017. After the case was consolidated with related cases on September 11, 2017, plaintiff filed a third amended complaint on October 12, 2017. Plaintiff moved for preliminary injunction on February 20, 2018 and later withdrew this motion voluntarily. The court did not address the merits of the claim because the parties reached a settlement agreement on June 22, 2018.

The student attorneys settlement allowed transgender women to have access to bras and the full range of undergarments available to prisoners in female facilities, to evaluation for gender confirmation surgery, and to the female canteen list, which will allow transgender women the ability to purchase and wear makeup. The case was terminated on September 21, 2018.

Elizabeth Heise - 10/07/2018

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Gender identity
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Assault/abuse by staff
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Chief of Psychiatry for the Colorado Department of Corrections
Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description A transgender inmate at the Colorado Department of Corrections.
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 Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2018 - n/a
Filed 07/05/2016
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (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
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 ]

1:16-cv-1717 (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0032-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/21/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-CO-0032-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/05/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Amended Complaint [ECF# 105]
PC-CO-0032-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/12/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Settlement [ECF# 158]
PC-CO-0032-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Krieger, Marcia S. (D. Colo.) show/hide docs
Varholak, Scott T. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Godfrey, Nicole Brianne (Colorado) show/hide docs
Jefferis, Danielle C. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0032-0002 | PC-CO-0032-0003 | PC-CO-0032-9000
Rovner, Laura Lee (Colorado) show/hide docs
Defendant's Lawyers Starnella, Kathryn Anne Teresa (Colorado) show/hide docs
PC-CO-0032-0003 | PC-CO-0032-9000

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