University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Turner v. Schultz PC-CO-0011
Docket / Court 1:99-cv-02232-LTB-OES ( D. Colo. )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On November 11, 1999, an inmate incarcerated at the Federal Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, filed a Bivens lawsuit against fifteen corrections officers and officials pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. The plaintiff, represented by ... read more >
On November 11, 1999, an inmate incarcerated at the Federal Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, filed a Bivens lawsuit against fifteen corrections officers and officials pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. The plaintiff, represented by court-appointed counsel, alleged violations of his Fourth and Eighth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that several corrections officers, known as the "Cowboys," were liable for malicious prosecution, cruel and unusual punishment, and the failure to train and supervise their subordinates.

According to the plaintiff, the Cowboys conspired to assault prisoners whom they perceived as disciplinary problems. On August 8, 1996, two of the officers stabbed themselves and then accused the plaintiff. The Cowboys repeatedly brutally beat the plaintiff that day and psychologically abused him for the next two weeks. The abuse ceased when the plaintiff confessed to the stabbing. Although the plaintiff was indicted, the charges against him were dropped on July 28, 1998. The Cowboys, conversely, were criminally indicted under 18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242. Two officers pled guilty, but the rest opted for trial.

On February 15, 2001, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado (Chief Judge Lewis T. Babcock) dismissed the plaintiff's malicious prosecution and failure to train claims. Turner v. Schultz, 130 F. Supp. 2d 1216 (D. Colo. 2001). The court recognized that a prisoner could not claim malicious prosecution under the Fourth Amendment because a prisoner's freedom cannot be seized wrongfully. Similarly, the court reasoned that the plaintiff could not raise a malicious prosecution claim on a theory of emotional suffering because, under the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e), an emotional wrong must be accompanied by a physical injury. The court refused to dismiss the plaintiffs' failure to supervise claims because prison supervisors were aware of the Cowboys' unorthodox behavior and intentionally scheduled them to work together.

On April 12, 2001, seven of the defendants filed a third-party complaint, charging that the United States Department of Justice was required to provide its employees with legal representation. On February 20, 2002, the court interpreted the permissive language in the 28 U.S.C. § 517 and 28 C.F.R. § 50.15(a) as giving the Department of Justice the discretion to choose whether or not to represent its employees. Turner v. Schultz, 187 F. Supp. 2d 1288 (D. Colo. 2002). The court held that the Department of Justice's decision was not judicially reviewable.

On October 3, 2002, the court referred the case to a Magistrate (Judge O. Edward Schlatter) for settlement. It appears that a settlement was reached because the plaintiff moved to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice on May 20, 2005. The court (Judge Babcock) granted this motion on May 23, 2005.

Elizabeth Chilcoat - 06/15/2006

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Unreasonable search and seizure
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Disciplinary procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Federal Corrections Officers (as individuals)
Plaintiff Description Prisoner alleging he was physically assaulted by employees of the United States Bureau of Prisons
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 1999
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
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 ]

1:99-cv-02232-LTB-OES (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0011-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/15/2006
General Documents
Opinion (130 F.Supp.2d 1216) (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0011-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/15/2001
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (187 F.Supp.2d 1288) (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0011-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/20/2002
Source: Google Scholar
Judges Babcock, Lewis Thornton (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0011-0001 | PC-CO-0011-0002 | PC-CO-0011-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Alper, Michael D. (Colorado)
Baroway, E. Scott (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-0001 | PC-CO-0011-0002 | PC-CO-0011-9000
Bisset, Jennifer E. (Colorado)
O'Donnell, Michael L. (Colorado)
Defendant's Lawyers Fabian, Anthony John (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-0001 | PC-CO-0011-9000
Johns, Paul J. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-0002 | PC-CO-0011-9000
Kennedy, Edmund Martin (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-0001 | PC-CO-0011-9000
Liechty, Robert Mark (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-0001 | PC-CO-0011-0002 | PC-CO-0011-9000
MacFarlane, Neil E. (Colorado)
Marks, Josh Adam (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-0002 | PC-CO-0011-9000
Montoya, Gilbert Orlando Jr. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-0001 | PC-CO-0011-0002 | PC-CO-0011-9000
Parker, Kristy (District of Columbia)
Sares, Mark Andrew (Colorado)
Weinman, Tara Kim (Colorado)
PC-CO-0011-0001 | PC-CO-0011-0002 | PC-CO-0011-9000
Westby, Charles Winfred (Colorado)

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