Denson v. Maufeld et al
ORDER Regarding Evidentiary Issues Raised In Trial Briefs; This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's 123 Trial Brief and Defendant's 128 Trial Brief, by Magistrate Judge Kristen L. Mix on 4/12/2013. (klmcd, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Civil Action No. 09-cv-02087-KLM
SAMMIE LEE DENSON,
MAJOR L. MAIFELD,
ORDER REGARDING EVIDENTIARY ISSUES RAISED IN TRIAL BRIEFS
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Trial Brief [Docket No. 123; Filed April
4, 2013] and Defendant’s Trial Brief [Docket No. 128; Filed April 5, 2013]. A three-day
jury trial is scheduled to begin in this matter on April 15, 2013. The Court addresses certain
evidentiary issues raised in the Trial Briefs in order to ensure efficient and effective
presentation of evidence at trial.1
Plaintiff asserts the following: (1) he should be permitted to present evidence that
his placement in administrative segregation from January 8, 2008 to October 28, 2008 was
a result of Defendant’s alleged retaliatory conduct; and (2) he should be permitted to
present evidence of his alleged physical injuries resulting from his placement in
administrative segregation. Pl.’s Trial Br. [#123] at 1-6. Defendant asserts that Plaintiff
should not be permitted to present evidence relating to his mental and physical health
The remaining pretrial issues, relating to the admissibility of evidence of Plaintiff’s felony
convictions, the computation of nominal damages, and whether the jury should be instructed on the first
two elements of a retaliation claim, will be addressed by the Court either at the pretrial hearing on April 15,
2013 or during argument about jury instructions.
problems because he cannot connect those problems “with the 22 days that he spent
removed from general population as a result of Defendant’s [actions].” Def.’s Trial Br.
[#128] at 1-6.
Evidence That Plaintiff’s Second Administrative Segregation Was a Result of
The issues raised by the parties in their Trial Briefs are related and stem from the
District Judge’s Order [#104] on Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment [#97]. In that
Order, the District Judge denied summary judgment on Plaintiff’s First Amendment
retaliation claim. Order [#104] at 20.
However, he further held that “Defendant’s
involvement in the relevant events was limited to her decision to keep Plaintiff removed
from population on December 17, 2008, until January 8, 2008.” Id. at 12. The Court
explicitly rejected the contention that there was a disputed factual issue about whether
Defendant was involved in Plaintiff’s subsequent administrative segregation, which
occurred from January 8, 2008 to October 28, 2008. The Court held: “However, Plaintiff
simply has not produced evidence to support his allegations that Defendant “orchestrated
[his] indefinite placement in administrative segregation. . . .” Id. at 11.
In light of this holding, both parties are precluded from presenting any evidence or
making any argument that Plaintiff’s second period of administrative segregation from
January 8, 2008 to October 28, 2008 was a result of Defendant’s alleged retaliatory
conduct. The Court has previously ruled that Plaintiff failed to present a triable issue of fact
on that part of his claim, and the law of the case doctrine precludes the introduction of such
evidence or argument. See United States v. Webb, 98 F.3d 585, 587 (10th Cir. 1996)
(“Under the law of the case doctrine, findings made at one point during litigation become
the law of the case for subsequent stages of that same litigation.”); see also Ind v. Colorado
Dept. of Corrections, Civil Action No. 09-cv-00537-WJM-KLM, 2012 WL 161418, at *4 (D.
Colo. Jan. 19, 2012). However, the Court notes that evidence of Plaintiff’s second period
of administrative segregation may be relevant on other issues, such as causation or
Plaintiff’s alleged damages. Hence, although the Court does not preclude the introduction
of all evidence relating to Plaintiff’s second period of administrative segregation, evidence
and argument which attempt to link that event to Defendant are excluded.
Evidence of Plaintiff’s Health Issues
Plaintiff argues that he should be permitted to present evidence relating to his
diagnosis of blood clots and deep vein thrombosis in December of 2009 because “there is
no temporal requirement relating to the admissibility of relevant evidence.” Pl.’s Trial Br.
[#123] at 5. Defendant contends that the health evidence should be excluded “because
there is no evidence that Plaintiff will introduce any evidence that connects either his
psychological problems or his blood clots and deep vein thrombosis with the 22 days that
he spent removed from general population as a result of Defendant’s decision. . . .” Def.’s
Trial Br. [#128] at 4-5.
Defendant asks the Court to pre-determine whether Plaintiff will be able show that
his health problems were caused by Defendant’s alleged retaliatory actions. This the Court
cannot do. The jury must decide whether Plaintiff has proven that his health problems were
caused by Defendant’s alleged actions. See Northington v. Zavaras, 229 F.3d 1164, at *3
(Table) (10th Cir. 2000) (“[Plaintiff] presents no rebuttal evidence from which a jury could
reasonably find that defendants’ allegedly retaliatory motives were the ‘but for’ cause of
their actions.”) (emphasis added); Murphy v. Shenk, 156 F.3d 1243, at *4 (Table) (same);
Brown v. Sales, 134 F.3d 382, at *3 (Table) (10th Cir. 1998) (“an inmate must submit
evidence showing that a jury could reasonable find that a motivating factor behind
defendants’ actions was retaliation . . .”) (emphasis added). Accordingly, Plaintiff will be
permitted to introduce evidence relating to his mental and physical health before and after
his administrative segregation of December 17, 2008 to January 8, 2008.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: April 12, 2013
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