Brooks v. Oba et al
ORDER granting 36 Motion to Dismiss in part; denying 49 Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Plaintiff is given leave to amend certain claims. A Second Amended Complaint, should Plaintiff wish to file one, is due on or before November 17, 2014. By Magistrate Judge Craig B. Shaffer on 10/17/14. Unpublished cases attached(cbslc2)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Civil Action No. 13-cv-02894-CBS
COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS,
CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA,
DOLORES MONTOYA, and
ORDER AND OPINION REGARDING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS IN PART
AND PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
Magistrate Judge Shaffer
This matter comes before the court on a Motion to Dismiss in part (doc. #36) filed on
June 13, 2014 by Defendants Colorado Department of Corrections (“CDOC”), Julie Russell,
Kathy Howell, Tim Creany, Paul Cline, Lou Archuletta, David Tessiere, Rick Raemisch, Dolores
Montoya, and Ron Wager (collectively “CDOC Defendants”).
Also before the court is
Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction (doc #49), filed on August 7, 2014. Pursuant to the
Order of Reference dated July 1, 2014, this civil action was referred to the Magistrate Judge “for
all purposes” pursuant to the Pilot Program to Implement the Direct Assignment of Civil Cases
to Full Time Magistrate Judges and Title 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (See Doc. #44). This court has
carefully considered the motions and related briefing, the entire case file, the comments offered
by the parties during the June 30, 2014 Scheduling Conference and July 17, 2014 Status
Conference, and applicable case law. For the following reasons, I grant the CDOC Defendants’
Motion to Dismiss with leave to amend the Eighth Amendment medical claim as asserted against
Defendant Tessiere and deny Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction.
Mr. Brooks, a pro se prisoner incarcerated at the Fremont Correctional Facility (“FCF”)
in Canon City, Colorado, filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming the CDOC
Defendants as well as Defendants Patrick Blake, David Oba, Angie Turner, and Corrections
Corporation of America (“CCA”) (collectively “CCA Defendants”) violated his Eighth
Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment, Fourteenth Amendment right to due
process, First Amendment right for access to the courts, and withheld accommodations in
violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12102 et seq.. 1 Plaintiff
seeks declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and monetary relief in an unspecified amount.2
Plaintiff suffers from chronic ulcerative colitis, which causes inflammation and ulceration
of the large intestine. Plaintiff endures symptoms ranging from weight loss and dehydration to
intestinal bleeding, rectal bleeding, severe abdominal pain, and muscle atrophy, and is plagued
by the persistent need to use the restroom which can result in his taking up to thirty bathroom
The CCA Defendants are not subject to this Order and Opinion. Hereafter, the CDOC Defendants will be referred
to simply as “Defendants.”
Specifically, Plaintiff asks for declaratory judgment that his constitutional rights have been violated, an order
compelling Defendants to transfer him to Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility, Arkansas Valley Correctional
Facility, or any other “more suitable prison for his serious medical needs” (doc. #11), and compensatory and
trips a day. (See Doc. #11 at p. 13). Plaintiff believes his condition can be managed with
“appropriate medications, dietary supplementation, and exercise.” (Doc. #11 at p. 13). Plaintiff
was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis prior to entering the custody of CDOC in 2009, at which
time he measured 6 feet, 3 inches and weighed 143 pounds. (See doc. #51 at ¶ 9, doc. #51-1 at ¶
Plaintiff was suffering from aggravated symptoms of ulcerative colitis when he was
transferred to Bent County Correctional Facility (“BCCF”) in May 2010.
Defendant Oba in March 2011 after multiple requests to see a doctor, and was prescribed a
gluten-free diet.3 (Doc. #11 at p. 20). Plaintiff alleges in his Motion for Preliminary Injunction
that Defendant Oba also prescribed “ensure supplemental shakes” at this time. (Doc. #49 at pp.
1-2). Plaintiff was held at BCCF for approximately 20 months, during which time he claims he
received woefully inadequate dental care and treatment for his medical condition.4
Plaintiff was transferred from BCCF to Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility
(“CTCF”) on February 9, 2012 and then to FCF on February 14, 2012. (Doc. #11 at pp. 33, 34).
Plaintiff alleges he arrived at FCF in a debilitated state of health because he had not received a
gluten-free diet while at CTCF. (Id. at p. 34). Plaintiff weighed 150 pounds at this time. (Doc.
#51 at ¶ 12, Doc. #51-1 at ¶¶ 21, 25). Pursuant to FCF policy, upon arrival Plaintiff was placed
under “lock down” in a holding cell for twenty-three hours daily for four to eight days while the
prison registered him as an inmate. (Doc. #11 at p. 34). Following this process, and pursuant to
FCF policy, Plaintiff was then kept under lock down until he received a work assignment.
Plaintiff alleges that as a result, he could not prepare his own meals and was required to eat
Plaintiff alleges he is allergic to gluten and it exacerbates the ulcerative colitis. (See doc. #11 at p. 19; doc. #49 at
The allegations concerning Plaintiff’s incarceration at BCCF implicate the CCA Defendants. (See doc. #11 at pp.
glutinous food that caused his intestine to bleed. Defendant Creany, the doctor at FCF who
treated Plaintiff for ulcerative colitis, prescribed Prednisone to stop the internal bleeding.
Plaintiff alleges he had no choice but to accept the medicine, though Prednisone causes joint pain
and other adverse side effects in someone with chronic ulcerative colitis. (See doc. #11 at p. 35).
Plaintiff began receiving a gluten-free diet on February 22, 2012, approximately one week after
he arrived at FCF (id. at p. 37), and he was assigned a job in the prison’s kitchen on March 30,
3012, approximately six weeks after arriving at FCF. (Id. at p. 42).
On February 27, 2012, Plaintiff began filing grievances regarding the prison’s medical
treatment. He complained that “[t]he attempted results of trying to treat my condition thus far
have left me incontinent, bleeding, unable to sleep, unable to go to chow, unable to clean myself
properly…I should not be in general population being this sick…I need to be put into a cell by
myself.” (Doc. #11 at pp. 38-9). He did not receive a response. At this time, Plaintiff also
began requesting special drinks such as “Boost” and “Ensure” to supplement his gluten-free diet,
extra toilet paper, and special passes that would allow him to exercise and eat at undesignated
times. (Id. at pp. 37, 38, 39). Pursuant to this request, Defendant Montoya, former Health
Services Administrator at FCF, authorized a medical pass in March 2012 that allowed Plaintiff to
access the cafeteria if he missed a meal due to his condition. (Id. at p. 39). The medical pass
expired after a few months and Defendant Montoya refused to re-issue the pass, or authorize a
medical pass allowing Plaintiff to exercise outside of designated times. Defendants Russell,
Howell, Creany, Cline, and Tessiere also refused to supply Plaintiff with extra toilet paper.
Plaintiff alleges his condition worsened during March and April 2012 because he did not
receive nutritional supplements, his pain medication expired, and his prison job working in the
kitchen exacerbated his symptoms. Plaintiff weighed between 144 pounds and 136 pounds in
March 2012. (Id. at pp. 40, 42).
On April 2, 2012, Plaintiff undertook a 72-hour trip to visit Dr. Vahil, a
gastronentologist, who recommended removing Plaintiff’s large intestine. (Doc. #11 at p. 43).
Thereafter in April 2012, Plaintiff began receiving Ensure per instruction from Defendant
Howell, the CDOC Regional Director of Clinical Services, to Defendant Creany. Later that
month, Defendant Creany revised Plaintiff’s medical rating, which allowed Plaintiff to obtain a
prison job that was more compatible with his condition.
At the end of April 2012, CDOC
surgeon, Dr. Tim Brown, recommended that Plaintiff undergo a proctocolectomy and temporary
ileostomy. (Doc. #11 at p. 45). Plaintiff met with Defendant Creany in May 2012, to ask for
another visit with Dr. Vahil to discuss alternative surgeries and treatments.
On June 8, 2012, Plaintiff attended a meeting with Defendants Creany, Montoya, and
Howell, among other case managers, captains, and doctors, which was “specifically held to
address Plaintiffs [sic] medical needs, as a response to his and his families [sic] concerns.” Doc.
#11 at p. 47). Plaintiff alleges that despite this meeting none of his concerns were addressed. In
July 2012, Plaintiff received medication prescribed by Dr. Vahil and his condition “dramatically
improved.” Id. at p. 48. Plaintiff claims that his improvement notwithstanding, he still required
a special meal and exercise pass and extra toilet paper, which Defendants refused to provide. Id.
A November 19, 2012 blood test ordered by Dr. Vahil suggested that Plaintiff has Chron’s
“Chron’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disease involving any part of the gastrointestinal tract that frequently
leads to intestinal obstruction and fistula and abscess formation.” Wallace v. Astrue, No. 11-cv-287-PJC, 2012 WL
4052533, at *2 n. 3 (N.D. Okla. September 13, 2012) (citing Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary 514 (29th ed.
Plaintiff received a gluten-free diet and Ensure without issue until spring of 2013, when
CDOC reconfigured the prison system’s gluten-free diet, allegedly rendering the meals
“inedible” and “calorically insufficient.”
(Doc. #11 at p. 51, Doc. #49 at ¶ 4).
complained about the new diet to Defendant Creany, who arranged for Plaintiff to see FCF’s
registered dietician, Deborah Cranor, on May 6, 2013. (Doc #49 at ¶ 5, see also Doc. #11 at p.
51). Ms. Cranor reported that Plaintiff’s ideal body weight is 190 pounds with a nineteen pound
variance, and recommended that Plaintiff drink Ensure “if diet and snacks alone aren’t enough to
stabilize weight.” (Doc. #49 at ¶ 6 and p. 18, see also Doc. #11 at p. 51). Plaintiff alleges that
notwithstanding Ms. Cranor’s recommendation, Defendant Tessiere, the Health Services
Administrator at FCF, determined Plaintiff did not qualify for Ensure and instructed Defendant
Creany not to supply it. (Doc. #11 at p. 51). Plaintiff met with nurse practitioner Sheryl McKim
on May 21, 2013 to discuss his dietary needs and Ms. McKim advised Plaintiff that he “will
probably be prescribed the ensure supplemental shakes at his next appointment in June.” (See
doc. #49 at ¶ 9 and p. 20). In August 2013, Defendant Creany again told Plaintiff that Defendant
Tessiere had said Plaintiff “does not qualify for [Ensure],” but would authorize the supplemental
shakes if Dr. Vahil recommended them. (Doc. #49 at ¶ 13).
Plaintiff’s next visit with Dr. Vahil occurred almost one year later, on June 10, 2014,
where Dr. Vahil ordered that Plaintiff receive “a gluten-free diet with ensure, one can of ensure
three times daily.” (Doc. #49 at ¶ 16; Doc. #49-1 at p. 2). Plaintiff began receiving a gluten-free
diet plus Ensure drinks on July 21, 2014. (Doc. #49 at ¶ 19). Plaintiff alleges that after only two
days the specialized diet was withheld because “Defendant Tessiere allowed another nurse
practitioner, Trudy Sicotte, the ability to undermine  orders, and she [took] away the diet and
ensure without excuse.” (Id. at ¶ 20). Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant Tessiere “has
exercised no control over his medical staff’s egregious decisions or acknowledges how
ridiculous they are; he’s [sic] seems to be completely absent or totally incompetent in performing
any of his job duties.” (Id. at ¶ 21).
Plaintiff filed his Complaint on October 23, 2013 (doc. #1), and simultaneously filed a
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (doc. #3) and a
motion for preliminary injunction (doc. #4). On October 24, 2013, the court granted Plaintiff’s §
1915 motion (doc. #5) and ordered Plaintiff to file an amended complaint that complied with
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8.6 (Doc. #6). Plaintiff moved for appointment of counsel on November 8, 2013
(doc. #7). On November 13, 2013, the court denied Plaintiff’s request for appointment of
counsel and motion for preliminary injunction. (Doc. #8). On November 22, 2013, the court
granted Plaintiff’s motion for an extension of time to amend his complaint (doc. #10 and doc.
#9), and on December 26, 2013, Plaintiff filed a 72-page Amended Complaint asserting thirteen
claims (doc. #11). On March 18, 2014, the court dismissed Plaintiff’s seventh and tenth claims
as legally frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B),7 thereby dismissing Defendants
DeCesaro and Brown from this lawsuit. (Doc. #14).
Defendants waived service on March 24, 2014, with the exception of Ms. Foster and Ms.
Montoya, who are no longer employed by CDOC (doc. #19).
Defendant Montoya was
personally served on April 9, 2014. (See Doc. #31). To date, Ms. Foster has not been served.
The court also noted that Plaintiff could not hold prison personnel or CCA liable on a theory of respondeat superior
and could not sue CDOC for money damages. Id.
Plaintiff’s seventh claim averred that Defendant Anthony DeCesaro violated his Eighth Amendment right against
cruel and unusual punishment by denying his 38 grievances and over 100 pages of complaints without alerting
DeCesaro’s superiors and by failing to endeavor to relieve Plaintiff’s pain, and violated the ADA by failing to
provide reasonable accommodations. Plaintiff averred in his tenth claim that Defendant Yvette Brown violated his
First Amendment right to access the courts by limiting his library access to two and a half hours a week until
October 15, 2013 (when CDOC policy changed), imposing a 30-page printing limit, and requiring Plaintiff to type
his Amended Complaint anew because his original Prisoner Complaint had been deleted from the computer system
pursuant to CDOC policy. This claim alone asserted a First Amendment violation.
The CCA Defendants waived service on April 2, 2014 (doc. #25). On May 20, 2014, Defendants
requested an extension of time to respond to the Amended Complaint (doc. #32), which this
court granted on May 21, 2014 (doc. #33). The CCA Defendants filed an Answer to the
Amended Complaint on May 27, 2014 (doc. #34), along with CCA’s corporate disclosure
statement (doc. #35).
Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint in part and an Answer on
June 13, 2014. (Doc. #36 and #37). This court held a Scheduling Conference on June 30, 2014,
at which the undersigned set a date for a status conference and stayed discovery pending the
briefing of the Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. #41). Defendants and CCA Defendants filed their
written consent to the Magistrate Judge’s jurisdiction on June 30, 2014 (doc. #43), and Plaintiff
filed his consent on July 22, 2014 (doc. #47). Plaintiff filed his Response to the Motion to
Dismiss on July 14, 2014 (doc. #45). This court held a Status Conference on July 17, 2014, at
which the undersigned continued the stay on discovery pending this court’s decision on the
Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. #46). Defendants filed a Reply in support of their Motion to Dismiss
on July 28, 2014 (doc. #48). Plaintiff filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction on August 7,
2014 (doc. #49), asking the court to order CDOC to provide him with “an acceptable gluten-free
diet and ensure nutritional supplements.” The CCA Defendants filed a Response to the Motion
for Preliminary Injunction on August 27, 2014 (doc. #50), and Defendants filed a Response on
August 28, 2014 (doc. #51). Between September 8, 2014 and September 17, 2014, Mr. Brooks
as well as non-parties Kavin Smith, Troy Brownlow, James Hunt, and Cesar Briones Madrid
submitted declarations in support of Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction. (See doc.
On October 10, 2014, Mr. Brook’s mother, non-party Vayah Terra, submitted a
declaration in support of the Motion for Preliminary Injunction (doc. #58).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6)
Federal courts, as courts of limited jurisdiction, must have a statutory basis for their
See Morris v. City of Hobart, 39 F.3d 1105, 1111 (10th Cir. 1994) (citing
Castaneda v. INS, 23 F.3d 1576, 1580 (10th Cir. 1994). Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(1), the court may dismiss a complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
The determination of a court’s jurisdiction over subject matter is a question of law. Madsen v.
United States ex. U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers, 841 F.2d 1011, 1012 (10th Cir. 1987). “A
court lacking jurisdiction cannot render judgment but must dismiss the cause at any stage of the
proceedings in which it becomes apparent that jurisdiction is lacking.” Basso v. Utah Power &
Light Co., 495 F.2d 906, 909 (10th Cir. 1974).
Under Rule 12(b)(6) a court may dismiss a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). In deciding a motion under Rule
12(b)(6), the court must “accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations … and view these
allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Casanova v. Ulibarri, 595 F.3d 1120,
1124 (10th Cir. 2010) (quoting Smith v. United States, 561 F.3d 1090, 1098 (10th Cir. 2009)).
However, a plaintiff may not rely on mere labels or conclusions, “and a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555 (2007). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.
Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). “The burden is on the plaintiff to frame ‘a complaint with enough factual
matter (taken as true) to suggest’ that he or she is entitled to relief.” Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519
F.3d 1242, 1247 (10th Cir. 2008) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. at 556). The ultimate
duty of the court is to “determine whether the complaint sufficiently alleges facts supporting all
the elements necessary to establish an entitlement to relief under the legal theory proposed.”
Forest Guardians v. Forsgren, 478 F.3d 1149, 1160 (10th Cir. 2007).
Because Mr. Brooks is appearing pro se, the court “review[s] [his] pleadings and other
papers liberally and hold[s] them to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys.”
Trackwell v. United States Govt, 472 F.3d 1242, 1243 (10th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted).
However, a court may not assume that a plaintiff can prove facts that he has not alleged, or that a
defendant has violated laws in ways that a plaintiff has not alleged. See Gallagher v. Shelton,
587 F.3d 1063, 1067 (10th Cir. 2009) (“[Court’s] role is not to act as [pro se litigant’s]
advocate”); Drake v. City of Fort Collins, 927 F.2d 1156, 1159 (10th Cir. 1991) (“the court will
not construct arguments or theories for the plaintiff in the absence of any discussion of those
issues”) (internal citation omitted). Furthermore, the court may, at any time and of its own
accord, dismiss any action that is frivolous or which fails to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d
1106, 1108-10 (10th Cir. 1991).
To succeed on a motion for a preliminary injunction under Fed. R. Civ. P. 65, the moving
party must show (1) a likelihood of success on the merits; (2) a likelihood that the movant will
suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief; (3) that the balance of equities tips in
the movant’s favor; and (4) that the injunction is in the public interest. RoDa Drilling Co. v.
Siegal, 552 F.3d 1203, 1208 (10th Cir. 2009) (citing Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc.,
555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008)). “[B]ecause a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy, the right
to relief must be clear and unequivocal.”
Beltronics USA, Inc. v. Midwest Inventory
Distribution, LLC, 562 F.3d 1067, 1070 (10th Cir. 2009) (quoting Greater Yellowstone Coalition
v. Flowers, 321 F.3d 1250, 1256 (10th Cir. 2003)) (internal quotations omitted). Granting such
“drastic relief,” United States ex. rel. Citizen Band Potawatomi Indian Tribe of Oklahoma v.
Enter Mgmt. Consultants, Inc., 883 F.2d 886, 888-89 (10th Cir. 1989), “is the exception rather
than the rule.” GTE Corp. v. Williams, 731 F.2d 676, 678 (10th Cir. 1984).
Three types of preliminary injunctions are disfavored: injunctions that alter the status
quo; mandatory injunctions; and injunctions that afford the movant all the relief he could recover
following a full trial on the merits. Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–Day Saints
v. Horne, 698 F.3d 1295, 1301 (10th Cir. 2012). In seeking these types of relief, the movant
must show that the factors cited above “weigh heavily and compellingly in [his] favor.” Id.
Finally, Title 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(2) requires that, “[i]n any civil action with respect to prison
conditions,” any “[p]reliminary injunctive relief must be narrowly drawn, extend no further than
necessary to correct the harm the court finds requires preliminary relief, and be the least intrusive
means necessary to correct that harm.”
Motion to Dismiss
Eleventh Amendment Immunity
Plaintiff is suing Defendants Russell, Howell, Creany, Cline, Archuletta, Tessiere, and
Wager in their official and individual capacities. Plaintiff is suing Defendant Raemisch in his
official capacity only and Defendant Montoya in her individual capacity only. Those Defendants
sued in their official capacity are immune from claims for monetary damages and retroactive
equitable relief. “[A]n official-capacity suit is, in all respects other than name, to be treated as a
suit against the entity.” Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166 (1985) (citing Brandon v. Holt,
469 U.S. 464, 471–72, (1985)). The Eleventh Amendment bars suits against a state by its own
citizens, and immunizes state defendants sued in their official capacities from liability for
damages or equitable relief.
See Johns v. Stuart, 57 F.3d 1544, 1552 (10th Cir. 1995).
Furthermore, state employees acting in their official capacities are not “persons” subject to suit
under § 1983. Duncan v. Gunter, 15 F.3d 989, 991 (10th Cir. 1994). Accordingly, Plaintiff
cannot pursue a § 1983 claim for damages or declaratory relief against the CDOC Defendants
who are sued in their official capacity.
Eighth Amendment Claims
Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 allows an injured person to seek damages for the violation of his
or her federal rights against a person acting under color of state law. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983; see
also West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). “[T]he treatment a prisoner receives in prison and
the conditions under which he is confined are subject to scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment.”
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994) (citation omitted). “The Eighth Amendment’s
prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment imposes a duty on prison officials to provide
humane conditions of confinement, including adequate food, clothing, shelter, sanitation,
medical care, and reasonable safety from bodily harm.” Tafoya v. Salazar, 516 F.3d 912, 916
(10th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted). The Eighth Amendment also prohibits “unnecessary and
wanton infliction of pain,” including “deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of
prisoners.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). Prison officials may be liable for an
Eighth Amendment violation for “indifference…manifested…in their response to the prisoner's
needs or by…intentionally denying or delaying access to medical care or intentionally interfering
with treatment once prescribed.” Estate of Booker v. Gomez, 745 F.3d 405, 429 (10th Cir. 2014).
“The test for constitutional liability of prison officials involves both an objective and a
subjective component.” Mata v. Saiz, 427 F.3d 745, 751 (10th Cir. 2005) (internal quotations and
citation omitted). First, the prisoner must “produce objective evidence that the deprivation at
issue was in fact ‘sufficiently serious.’” Id. (quoting Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834
(1994)). “[A] medical need is sufficiently serious if it is one that has been diagnosed by a
physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily
recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention.” Mata, 427 F.3d at 751 (holding that even a
physician’s grossly negligent medical judgment is not subject to scrutiny if the prisoner’s need
for medical treatment was not obvious) (internal quotations and citation omitted). Furthermore,
a delay in medical care “only constitutes an Eighth Amendment violation where the plaintiff can
show the delay resulted in substantial harm.” Oxendine v. Kaplan, 241 F.3d 1272, 1276 (10th
Cir. 2001) (quotations and citation omitted). The substantial harm requirement “may be satisfied
by lifelong handicap, permanent loss, or considerable pain.” Garrett v. Stratman, 254 F.3d 946,
950 (10th Cir. 2001) (citation omitted).
Second, under the subjective component, the prisoner must establish deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs by “present[ing] evidence of the prison official's
culpable state of mind.”
Mata, 427 F.3d at 751. “Deliberate indifference to serious medical
needs of prisoners constitutes unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.” Estelle, 429 U.S. at
104 (internal quotation and citation omitted). The Tenth Circuit recognizes two types of conduct
constituting deliberate indifference.
The first occurs when a medical professional fails to
properly treat a serious medical condition; the second occurs when a prison official prevents an
inmate from receiving treatment or denies him access to medical personnel capable of providing
treatment. See Sealock v. Colorado, 218 F.3d 1205, 1211 (10th Cir. 2000) (internal citations
omitted). A prison health official who serves “‘solely…as a gatekeeper for other medical
personnel capable of treating the condition’ may be held liable under the deliberate indifference
standard if she ‘delays or refuses to fulfill the gatekeeper role.’” Mata, 427 F.3d at 751 (quoting
Sealock, 218 F.3d at 1211. The subjective standard requires a state of mind “akin to recklessness
in the criminal law, where, to act recklessly, a person must consciously disregard a substantial
risk of serious harm.” Self v. Crum, 439 F.3d 1227, 1231 (10th Cir. 2006) (quoting Farmer, 511
U.S. at 837) (internal quotations and further citation omitted). “‘[A]n inadvertent failure to
provide adequate medical care’ does not rise to a constitutional violation.” Martinez v. Beggs,
563 F.3d 1082, 1088 (10th Cir. 2009) (quoting Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105–06). The plaintiff must
allege that defendants personally participated in the Eighth Amendment violation. See Jenkins v.
Wood, 81 F.3d 988, 994 (10th Cir. 1996) (citing Bennett v. Passic, 545 F.2d 1260, 1262-63 (10th
Cir. 1976)). “Whether a prison official had the requisite knowledge of a substantial risk is a
question of fact subject to demonstration in the usual ways, including inference from
circumstantial evidence.” Self, 439 F.3d at 1231 (internal quotations omitted).
Mr. Brooks claims he suffered cruel and unusual punishment at FCF resulting from
various Defendants’ failure to authorize (1) an adequate gluten-free diet; (2) extra toilet paper;
and (3) passes that would allow him to eat and exercise at undesignated times. Plaintiff claims
additional violations of his Eighth Amendment rights resulting from policies implemented at
FCF by Defendants Archuletta and Wager, Defendant Cline’s decision to transfer him to FCF,
and the CDOC’s failure to properly train its employees in ADA law. Defendants argue that
Plaintiff has not demonstrated a serious medical need, has not established that Defendants
Tessiere, Archuetta, and Wager acted with deliberate indifference, and has not alleged that
Defendants Howell, Russell, Wager, Archuletta, Cline, and Tessiere personally participated in a
At this stage in the litigation the court must “accept as true all well-
pleaded factual allegations” and view those allegations “in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff.” Casanova v. Ulibarri, 595 F.3d 1120, 1124 (10th Cir. 2010).
Plaintiff’s Dietary Needs
Mr. Brooks alleges he cannot maintain a healthy weight eating the CDOC-sanctioned
gluten-free diet without supplemental nutrition in the form of Ensure. Plaintiff is forced to eat
glutinous foods to maintain a healthy weight, which aggravates his ulcerative colitis and causes
him constant pain and discomfort.
Specifically, Plaintiff suffers from internal bleeding,
controlled only by pain medication that weakens his joints; incessant urges to use the bathroom
that prevent him from obtaining regular meals, exercise, and sleep; and severe dehydration.
These allegations establish that Plaintiff has a sufficiently serious medical need for a specific
Plaintiff does not state in the Amended Complaint how long he received Ensure after it
was first provided in April 2012 or why the provision ended. However, Plaintiff resumed
requesting the supplemental drink in May 2013 and Tessiere allegedly refused to authorize it on
the basis that Plaintiff did not qualify. (Doc. #11 at p. 51). This alone is insufficient to
demonstrate that Tessiere consciously disregarded a substantial risk to Plaintiff’s health or
abdicated his duty as gatekeeper. See Mata, 427 F.3d at 751 (citing Sealock, 218 F.3d at 1211).
See also Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104–105 (deliberate indifference is manifested by prison personnel
“in intentionally denying or delaying access to medical care”). Deliberate indifference lies
where “the official knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or safety; the
official must both be aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial
risk of serious harm exists, and he must also draw the inference.” Self, 439 F.3d at 1231 (quoting
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837) (internal quotations omitted).
This court declines to take judicial notice sua sponte of allegations asserted in Plaintiff’s
Motion for Preliminary Injunction (see U.S. v. Smalls, 605 F.3d 765, 768 n. 2 (10th Cir. 2010)
(instructing that a court may take judicial notice of district court filings)), though notes that
certain allegations contained therein are relevant to the subjective component of Plaintiff’s
Eighth Amendment medical claim. Therefore Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss in part is granted
with leave to amend as to the medical claim raised against Defendant Tessiere. Plaintiff is also
given leave to add nurse practitioner Sicotte as a defendant should he choose to file a Second
Specialized Meal and Exercise Passes, and Extra Tissue
Plaintiff claims Defendants Russell, Howell, Cline, Creany, Montoya, and Tessiere
refused to authorize these special items, which were necessary for him to accommodate the
symptoms caused by his ulcerative colitis. Plaintiff sought the meal pass so that he could eat
before or after designated times in the event he was too ill to attend meals. Though he appears to
have requested the pass as a preventative caution (see doc. #11 at p. 39), he also alleges he
missed “hundreds of meals” as a result of his medical condition (see doc. #11 at p. 56).
Defendant Montoya authorized the meal pass on March 5, 2012. (Id. at p. 39). Plaintiff asked
Montoya to renew the pass in June 2012, and she declined. (Id. at p. 47). Plaintiff began
receiving a medical diet in February 2012, two weeks after he arrived at FCF, and began
receiving Ensure in April 2012, two months after he arrived at FCF. (Doc #11 at pp. 37, 43-44).
Therefore, by June 2012 he was receiving a gluten-free diet plus supplemental drinks. Plaintiff
does not allege why his ulcerative colitis caused him to continue to miss meals if he was
receiving his requested medical diet.
Plaintiff alleges that his condition periodically prevented him from engaging in recreation
during the designated hours. However, he does not allege that he was wholly prevented from
exercising as a result of Defendants’ refusal to authorize a special pass. Denial of a flexible
exercise schedule does not give rise to an Eighth Amendment violation. See Bailey v. Shillinger,
828 F.2d 651, 653 (10th Cir. 1987) (holding that an allotted one hour per week in an outdoor
exercise facility, while restrictive, did not in and of itself rise to level of an Eighth Amendment
violation; and, recognizing that courts have not deemed the denial of fresh air and exercise to be
a “per se” Eighth Amendment violation); cf. Mitchell v. Rice, 954 F.2d 187, 192 (4th Cir. 1992)
(“[A] total or near-total deprivation of exercise or recreational opportunity, without penological
justification, violates Eighth Amendment guarantees.”) (citations omitted). Moreover, on May 6,
2013, Ms. Cranor recorded that Plaintiff has “[e]nergy to work out daily – primarily weights with
basketball at times.” (Doc. #49 at p. 18). While “no precise standards have been set forth
delineating what constitutes constitutionally sufficient opportunities for exercise,” Housley v.
Dodson, 41 F.3d 597, 599 (10th Cir. 1994) abrogated on other grounds by Lewis v. Casey, 518
U.S. 343 (1996), it is clear from Plaintiff’s allegations that he regularly participates in some
Finally, Plaintiff claims extra toilet paper is necessary to accommodate his increased need
to use the restroom arising from the unmanaged ulcerative colitis. Plaintiff does not allege,
however, that Defendants refused toilet paper altogether or that the lack of additional toilet paper
resulted in serious injury. See Whittington v. Ortiz, 472 F.3d 804, 808 (10th Cir. 2007) (“A
deprivation of hygiene items without any corresponding injury would not state an Eighth
Amendment violation.”) (citation omitted). He claims only that he did not receive his preferred
allotment of tissue. Accordingly, Defendants’ failure to authorize additional toilet paper did not
result in a sufficiently serious deprivation.
Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss in part is granted as to the Eighth Amendment conditions
of confinement claims with leave to amend as to why Plaintiff required a meal pass after he
began receiving his medical diet plus supplements.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Archuletta and Wager, the respective Warden and
Assistant Warden of FCF, implemented several policies that violated the Eighth Amendment
prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Pursuant to these policies, each inmate is
confined to his cell 24 hours a day for four to eight days upon transfer to FCF. Thereafter,
offenders without work assignments are confined to their cells forty hours each week while their
fellow inmates report to prison jobs. The inmates are allowed two continuous hours of recreation
per day, though the facility does not provide a scheduled interval during which inmates can
return to their cells. Plaintiff claims the lock down policies prevented him from engaging in
adequate exercise when he arrived at FCF and the recreation policy prevents him from returning
to his cell if his symptoms so demand.
“[Section] 1983 allows a plaintiff to impose liability upon a defendant-supervisor who
creates, promulgates, implements, or in some other way possesses responsibility for the
continued operation of a policy the enforcement (by the defendant-supervisor or her
subordinates) of which ‘subjects, or causes to be subjected’ that plaintiff ‘to the deprivation of
any rights ... secured by the Constitution....’” Dodds v. Richardson, 614 F.3d 1185, 1199 (10th
Cir. 2010) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983).
Thus, “‘the establishment or utilization of an
unconstitutional policy or custom can serve as the supervisor's affirmative link to the
constitutional violation....[W]here an official with policymaking authority creates, actively
endorses, or implements a policy which is constitutionally infirm, that official may face personal
liability for the violations which result from the policy's application.’” Dodds, 614 F.3d at 1199
(quoting Davis v. City of Aurora, 705 F. Supp. 2d 1243, 1263–64 (D. Colo. 2010)) (internal
quotations omitted). For a plaintiff to succeed under this theory, he must demonstrate: “(1) the
defendant promulgated, created, implemented or possessed responsibility for the continued
operation of a policy that (2) caused the complained of constitutional harm, and (3) acted with
the state of mind required to establish the alleged constitutional deprivation.” Id.
Pursuant to the policies, Plaintiff spent forty-five days in lockdown when he arrived at
FCF. (Doc. #11 at p. 61). He does not allege that all exercise was unavailable during this time,
or that a physician ordered him to engage in a certain amount of exercise.
established a serious medical need for a specialized diet, not for a specific exercise regimen.
However, even if I found that the lock down and recreation policies subjected Plaintiff to the
unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain, he has not alleged that Archuletta and Wager acted
with deliberate indifference to his medical needs. See Farmer, 511 U.S. at 847 (A prison official
acts with deliberate indifference “only if he knows that inmates face a substantial risk of serious
harm and disregards that risk by failing to take reasonable measures to abate it.”). Plaintiff
argues he wrote Archuletta and Wager a letter explaining his concerns and they “continue[d] to
maliciously, wantonly, and recklessly allow Plaintiff to suffer further by doing nothing and
allowing these unjustified conditions of confinement to continue.” (Doc. #11 at pp. 62-63).
These allegations do not establish that Archuletta and Wager consciously disregarded a
substantial risk that Plaintiff would suffer harm. Furthermore, they fail to establish that these
Defendants personally participated in a constitutional violation. See Davis v. Arkansas Valley
Corr. Facility, 99 Fed. Appx. 838, 843 (10th Cir. 2004) (holding defendant warden was not
implicated under § 1983 merely because plaintiff copied him on correspondence outlining
complaints about medical care); see also Crowder v. Lash, 687 F.2d 996, 1005-6 (7th Cir. 1982)
(rejecting theory that defendant prison official should be held liable for constitutional violations
on the basis that plaintiff had informed him personally and by letter of the “deprivations
[plaintiff] had encountered.”); Doyle v. Cella, 2008 WL 4490111, at *2 (D. Colo. Sept. 30, 2008)
(finding plaintiff’s allegation that defendant warden was “made aware” of constitutional
violations insufficient to establish personal participation of the defendant); Watson v. McGinnis,
964 F. Supp. 127, 130 (S.D.N.Y. 1997) (“The law is clear that allegations that an official ignored
a prisoner's letter are insufficient to establish liability.”) (internal citations omitted).
Finally, there is no evidence that the FCF policies are unconstitutional. “’[W]here the
policy relied upon is not itself unconstitutional, considerably more proof than a single incident
will be necessary in every case to establish both the requisite fault on the part of the
[government], and the causal connection between the policy and the constitutional deprivation.’”
Anglin v. City of Aspen, 562 F. Supp. 2d 1304, 1324 (D. Colo. 2008) (quoting Okla. City v.
Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808, 824 (1985) (internal quotations omitted). Plaintiff’s allegations would not
satisfy this requirement even if he had alleged a constitutional deprivation.
Transfer from BCCF to FCF
Mr. Brooks claims Defendant Cline acted with deliberate indifference to his medical
needs when Cline transferred him from BCCF to FCF, and failed to transfer him out of FCF
despite his “pain, suffering, and emotional distress.” (Doc. #11 at p. 61). Plaintiff further claims
that Cline did not communicate to his superiors concerns expressed by Plaintiff’s mother.
Plaintiff alleges in his Amended Complaint that FCF is an unsuitable facility due to its
mandatory lockdown and recreation policies that periodically prevent him from partaking in
exercise. This cannot serve as the basis for an Eighth Amendment violation because Plaintiff has
not established a serious need for a specific amount of exercise, nor has he alleged that exercise
is so limited as to give rise to cruel and unusual circumstances. Plaintiff has serious dietary
needs as a result of his ulcerative colitis, though his symptoms appear to be manageable if he can
adhere to a stringent diet. Plaintiff has not alleged that FCF barred prisoners from receiving
special diets or restricted certain foods, or that he was under physician’s orders to receive
treatment that was not available at FCF. Defendant Tessiere’s refusal to authorize Ensure prior
to a doctor’s order is unrelated to FCF’s suitability as a facility. Therefore, Plaintiff has not
demonstrated that the conditions of his confinement at FCF are sufficiently serious
Moreover, Plaintiff has not alleged that Defendant Cline acted with deliberate
indifference.8 Even if Cline was aware that Plaintiff required a gluten-free diet plus nutritional
supplements (but see Crowder, 687 F.2d at 1005 (rejecting theory that defendant prison official
should be held liable for constitutional violations on the basis that plaintiff had informed him
personally and by letter of the “deprivations [plaintiff] had encountered”)), Plaintiff has not
shown that Cline knew those provisions were inaccessible at FCF. Indeed, Plaintiff ultimately
received a gluten-free diet plus Ensure while at that facility. To the extent Plaintiff experienced
pain and suffering at FCF as a result of consuming glutinous foods, he has not alleged that Cline
knew prison officials refused to supply the supplemental shakes, or that Cline was personally
Plaintiff analogizes his case to Scott v. Garcia, 370 F. Supp. 2d 1056, 1065-66 (S.D. Cal. 2005), where the court
denied prison officials’ motion for summary judgment as to constitutional liability for failure to transfer a prisoner
plaintiff with severe stomach and digestive problems. However, in Scott, defendants failed to transfer the plaintiff
despite a doctor’s recommendation on three separate occasions that the plaintiff needed an immediate transfer to an
institution with a qualified medical hospital. By contrast Dr. Miller at BCCF observed that Plaintiff was a “healthy
patient [with] no medical problems.” (Doc. #11 at p. 26).
involved in Defendant Tessiere’s failure to authorize Ensure prior to a doctor’s order. Finally,
ignoring concerns expressed by Plaintiff’s mother does not give rise to an Eighth Amendment
violation. See Doyle, 2008 WL 4490111, at *2 (finding plaintiff’s allegation that defendant
warden was “made aware” of constitutional violations insufficient to establish personal
participation of the defendant).
Plaintiff alleges that CDOC violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel
and unusual punishment by failing to train its employees with regard to the ADA. Section 1983
authorizes injured parties to seek monetary damages for the violation of a constitutional right by
a person acting under color of state law. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Department is not a person as
contemplated by § 1983. See Will v. Michigan Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989).
Furthermore, the Department is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity for claims seeking
monetary damages. The Department is not immune to suits for prospective injunctive relief (see
id. at n. 10), however, Plaintiff does not seek such relief here. (See Doc. #11 at pp. 66-67, 7172).
Fourteenth Amendment Claim
Plaintiff claims he has a protected interest in being housed at a prison facility that can
better accommodate his health needs, and that Defendants violated his Fourteenth Amendment
right to due process when they refused to authorize his transfer from FCF. Though not entirely
clear, Plaintiff appears to allege the conditions of confinement at FCF present an atypical and
significant hardship because of the policies described above regarding mandatory periods of lock
down and daily recreation.
The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits any State from depriving a person of life, liberty,
or property without due process of law. An inmate is not entitled to a particular degree of liberty
in prison. See Templeman v. Gunter, 16 F.3d 367, 369 (10th Cir. 1994) (holding prisoner did not
have liberty interest in a general population classification) (citation omitted); see also Meachum
v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 224 (1976) (following a valid conviction, “the criminal defendant has
been constitutionally deprived of his liberty to the extent that the State may confine him and
subject him to the rules of its prison system so long as the conditions of confinement do not
otherwise violate the Constitution.”). Nor does an inmate have a protected interest in being
housed in a certain prison facility. See Meachum, 427 U.S. at 216. “A protected liberty interest
only arises from a transfer to harsher conditions of confinement when an inmate faces an
‘atypical and significant hardship ... in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life.’” Rezaq
v. Nalley, 677 F.3d 1001, 1011 (10th Cir. 2012) (quoting Wilkinson v. Austin, 545 U.S. 209, 223
(2005)) (further citation omitted). See also Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472 (1995) (only liberty
interest in prison is freedom from atypical and significant hardship created by restraint, and
administrative segregation, in itself, is neither).
The Tenth Circuit has instructed courts to follow a two-fold question in evaluating an
inmate’s challenge to the conditions of his confinement: “what is the appropriate baseline
comparison”; and “how significant must the conditions of confinement deviate from the baseline
to create a liberty interest in additional procedural protections.” Estate of DiMarco v. Wyo. Dept.
of Corr., 473 F.3d 1334, 1342 (10th Cir. 2007) (assessing whether inmate’s administrative
segregation violated a liberty interest). The court advised that a few key factors are relevant in
answering the baseline question, such as whether: “(1) the segregation relates to and furthers a
legitimate penological interest, such as safety or rehabilitation; (2) the conditions of placement
are extreme; (3) the placement increases the duration of confinement; and (4) the placement is
indeterminate.” Id. The court subsequently clarified that the DiMarco factors are instructive,
not dispositive, and the inquiry should consist of “a fact-driven assessment that accounts for the
totality of conditions presented by a given inmate’s sentence and confinement.” Rezaq, 677 F.3d
at 1012 n. 5.
There can be no question that FCF’s lock down policies further the legitimate penological
interest of properly documenting each new prisoner upon arrival prior to assimilating him into
the general population, and accounting for each prisoner during the day if he does not report to a
prison job. FCF’s policy regarding exercise similarly furthers a legitimate penological interest.
Two hours of recreation is undoubtedly healthier than one; but without an overarching need to
provide inmates the option of returning to their cells after one hour, the benefit of allowing
prisoners flexibility in leaving recreation is outweighed by the burden of supplying and
coordinating the manpower needed to escort prisoners at various times.9 Indeed, all inmates at
FCF are subject to these rules. It is not for this court to question policies designed by prison
officials where the benefits of such policies are clear on their face. See DiMarco, 473 F.3d at
1342 (“any assessment [of conditions of confinement] must be mindful of the primary
management role of prison officials who should be free from second-guessing or micromanagement from the federal courts.”).
Furthermore, the conditions of Plaintiff’s confinement are not extreme. He alleges he
spent forty-five days in lock down upon arrival at FCF. Once he received a work assignment he
was removed from lock down status. Plaintiff’s placement at FCF did not increase the duration
of his confinement; and while the placement appears to be indeterminate, the mandatory periods
Plaintiff does not allege that he cannot access a restroom while at recreation or that he has been prevented from
returning to his cell upon request.
of lock down no longer apply to Plaintiff because the prison has processed his paperwork and
assigned him to a job. Plaintiff complains that the two-hour periods of recreation are the only
opportunities for an inmate to exercise outside of his cell, and that he cannot always attend
recreation because of his health. (Doc. #11 at p. 62). However, this court is unaware of, and
Plaintiff has not cited, law indicating that the deprivation of a flexible exercise schedule
constitutes an atypical and significant hardship. Cf. Wilkinson, 545 U.S. at 214 (finding atypical
and significant hardship created by daily 23-hour lockdown, solitary dining, no outdoor
recreation, and no communication with other inmates). Accordingly, the four DiMarco factors
weigh against finding a liberty interest.
Finally, to the extent Plaintiff claims the conditions of his confinement were harsher at
FCF as a result of an inadequate diet and inconsistent access to medical attention, Plaintiff
encountered many of the same problems at FCF as he experienced at BCCF.10 Plaintiff claims
he should have been transferred to Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility or CTCF, but fails to
explain why either of those facilities were better equipped to manage his medical condition.11
Short of stating in conclusory fashion that he experienced an atypical and significant hardship at
FCF, Plaintiff does not illustrate how his perceived hardship at that facility was out of proportion
to routine prison life, especially considering the short duration of the in-take process and the
relatively short period of time before he was assigned a prison job. As for the two-hour
recreation period, that “life in one prison is much more disagreeable that in another does not in
Plaintiff alleges that while at BCCF, his requests to see a doctor were ignored, medical appointments were
frequently canceled, prescriptions were written for ineffective medications, prescriptions were allowed to expire, his
nutritional supplements were withheld, he never received a treatment plan for his condition or appropriate pain
medication, and he was denied a gluten-free diet. (See Doc. #11 at at pp. 14-29).
In fact, Plaintiff alleges he did not receive his prescribed gluten-free diet during the five days he was held at
CTCF during his transfer to FCF, and that the glutinous food he ate during that period “began the exacerbation of
[his] symptoms.” (Doc. #11 at pp. 33-34).
itself signify that a Fourteenth Amendment liberty interest is implicated when a prisoner is
transferred…” Meachum, 427 U.S. at 225.
Plaintiff also claims he has experienced denial of due process because CDOC has failed
to implement policies that allow for the “correct institutional placement of inmates with serious
medical needs.” (Doc. #11 at p. 68). However, no particular process was constitutionally due or
required because Plaintiff was not deprived of any liberty to which he was entitled.
Templeman, 16 F.3d at 371. Nor is the denial of process itself a denial of liberty. See Olim v.
Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 250 (1983) (“Process is not an end in itself. Its constitutional
purpose is to protect a substantive interest to which the individual has a legitimate claim of
entitlement.”); Doyle v. Oklahoma Bar Ass'n, 998 F.2d 1559, 1570 (10th Cir. 1993). Because
Plaintiff had no liberty interest in being housed at a particular prison, the Constitution did not
require any particular process to that end.
Plaintiff sued Defendants Russell, Howell, Creany, Cline, Archuletta, Tessiere, Wager,
and Montoya in their individual capacities.
The doctrine of qualified immunity “shields
government officials performing discretionary functions from individual liability under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 unless their conduct violates clearly established statutory or constitutional rights
of which a reasonable person would have known.” DeSpain v. Uphoff, 264 F.3d 965, 971 (10th
Cir. 2001) (quoting Baptiste v. J.C. Penney Co., 147 F.3d 1252, 1255 (10th Cir. 1998) (internal
quotation marks omitted). Qualified immunity is an affirmative defense to section 1983 liability
(see Adkins v. Rodriguez, 59 F.3d 1034, 1036 (10th Cir. 1995)); once a defendant asserts the
defense, the plaintiff must demonstrate that qualified immunity is not proper by showing that
“(1) the defendant’s conduct violated a constitutional right and (2) the law governing the conduct
was clearly established at the time of the alleged violation.” DeSpain, 264 F.3d at 971 (quoting
Baptiste, 147 F.3d at 1255).
I find that Defendants Cline, Archuletta, and Wager are entitled to qualified immunity
because Plaintiff has not stated a constitutional claim as to them. To the extent Plaintiff may
amend his complaint as to the Eighth Amendment medical claim raised against Defendant
Tessiere and the Eighth Amendment confinement claim as to the meal pass, a ruling as to
whether Defendants Russell, Howell, Montoya, Tessiere, and Creany are entitled to qualified
immunity is premature.
Americans with Disabilities Act
Plaintiff claims that Defendants Russell, Howell, and Tessiere violated the ADA when
they failed to supply him with special meal and exercise passes and extra tissue paper. Plaintiff
further claims that Defendant Tessiere violated the ADA when he failed to provide him with an
adequate gluten-free diet; Defendant Cline violated the ADA by transferring him to FCF and
failing to authorize his transfer to a more suitable facility; Defendants Archuletta and Wager
violated the ADA by implementing the lock down and recreation policies at FCF; and Defendant
CDOC violated the ADA by failing to properly train its employees in ADA law.
Pursuant to Title II of the ADA, “no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason
of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services,
programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity.”
42 U.S.C. § 12132. This provision extends to discrimination against prisoners. See Penn. Dep't
of Corr. v. Yeskey, 524 U.S. 206, 210 (1998). To state a Title II claim, Plaintiff must allege that
“(1) he is a qualified individual with a disability, (2) who was excluded from participation in or
denied the benefits of a public entity's services, programs, or activities, and (3) such exclusion,
denial of benefits, or discrimination was by reason of a disability.” Robertson v. Las Animas
County Sheriff’s Dept., 500 F.3d 1185, 1193 (10th Cir. 2007) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 12132) (further
citation omitted). Plaintiff must show that he was qualified to receive the benefits he sought and
was denied those benefits based solely on his disability. Fitzgerald v. Corrections Corp. of
America, 403 F.3d 1134, 1144 (10th Cir. 2005).
An individual is qualified as disabled under the ADA if he has a physical or mental
impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. See Holt v. Grand Lake,
443 F.3d 762, 765 (10th Cir. 2006). Plaintiff claims the ulcerative colitis is managed with
“appropriate medications, dietary supplementation, and exercise” (doc. #11 at p. 13), and alleges
significant pain and discomfort when his condition is not properly managed. However, he has
not alleged that ulcerative colitis substantially limits his major life activities; he claims only that
his ability to attend regularly scheduled meals and recreation is curtailed when his symptoms are
Even if Plaintiff were disabled under the ADA, his allegations do not establish that
Defendants denied him services that were provided to other prisoners. Cf. Rashad v. Doughty, 4
Fed. Appx. 558, 560 (10th Cir. 2001) (citing McNally v. Prison Health Servs., 46 F. Supp. 2d 49,
58 (D. Me. 1999) for the proposition that an HIV-positive prisoner may have stated an ADA
claim by alleging he was denied services provided to other prisoners).
Plaintiff eats and
exercises regularly and receives the same allotment of toilet paper as all inmates; the special
passes and additional tissue Plaintiff requested would have provided him greater access than
what was available to the other prisoners. Plaintiff’s allegations regarding his transfer to FCF,
the implementation of certain policies at FCF, and the training of CDOC employees in ADA law
similarly do not establish that Defendants prevented him from partaking in activities or services
that were available to other inmates. As for Plaintiff’s difficulty in procuring a gluten-free diet
plus Ensure, “failure to provide medical treatment to a disabled prisoner, while perhaps raising
Eighth Amendment concerns in certain circumstances, does not constitute an ADA violation.”
Rashad, 4 Fed. Appx. at 560 (citing Bryant v. Madigan, 84 F.3d 246, 249 (7th Cir. 1996))
(concluding that the ADA “would not be violated by a prison's simply failing to attend to the
medical needs of its disabled prisoners” and that the statute “does not create a remedy for
While the delay in providing the gluten-free diet may constitute
negligence, “negligence alone cannot support a Title II claim.” Morris v. Kingston, 368 Fed.
Appx. 686, 690 (7th Cir. 2010).
Nor has Plaintiff alleged that Defendants acted with a
discriminatory motive in denying him the accommodations he requested.
See Carter v.
Pathfinder Energy Services, Inc., 662 F.3d 1134, 1149 (10th Cir. 2011) (instructing that
discriminatory motive must be a “determining factor” in defendants’ actions). Damages under
the ADA are available only if a public official intentionally discriminates because of a disability.
See Garcia v. S.U.N.Y. Health Services Center of Brooklyn, 280 F.3d 98, 111-12 (2d Cir. 2001).
Finally, Mr. Brooks cannot sue Defendants in their individual capacities for liability
under the ADA. See Butler v. City of Prairie Village, Kansas, 172 F.3d 736, 744 (10th Cir.
1999) (noting that the reasons for precluding individual liability under Title VII apply equally to
ADA). Cf. Sindram v. Merriwether, 507 F. Supp. 2d 7, 11–12 (D.D.C. 2007) and cases cited
therein. “[T]he proper defendant in a Title II claim is the public entity itself or an official acting
in his or her official capacity.” Hicks v. Keller, No. 11–cv–0422–WJM–KMT, 2012 WL
1414935, at *6 (D. Colo. April 24, 2012).
Any ADA claims against Defendants in their
individual capacities must be dismissed.
Plaintiff filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction (doc. #49) on August 7, 2014.
Plaintiff alleges therein that he continues to receive inadequate health care at FCF; specifically,
Dr. Vahil prescribed Ensure for him, he subsequently received the drink for only two days, and
he is unable to maintain a healthy weight consuming only the gluten-free diet. Plaintiff asks the
court to order CDOC employees to supply him with “an acceptable gluten-free diet and ensure
A party seeking preliminary injunctive relief must satisfy four factors: a likelihood of
success on the merits; a likelihood that the movant will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of
preliminary relief; that the balance of equities tips in the movant’s favor; and that the injunction
is in the public interest. RoDa Drilling Co., 552 F.3d at 1208. Plaintiff must show that these
four factors “weigh heavily and compellingly in [his] favor,” because he is seeking a mandatory
injunction and the same relief he would be entitled to should he prevail on the merits. See
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–Day Saints, 698 F.3d at 1301 (citation
Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction implicates only Defendants Tessiere and
Creany and non-party Sicotte. Plaintiff is not entitled to injunctive relief as to Defendant
Tessiere because he has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits as to the constitutional
claims brought against Tessiere. Defendant Creany did not move to dismiss the constitutional
claims raised against him; however, he is no longer employed at FCF and no longer responsible
for ordering the shakes. (See doc. #49 at p. 8). Furthermore, Plaintiff’s allegations demonstrate
that Ms. Sicotte is the individual responsible for withholding the Ensure shakes from Plaintiff
despite Dr. Vahil’s recommendation and Tessiere’s authorization. While Ms. Sicotte’s non-party
status does not on its own preclude this court from issuing an injunction directed at her, “it
nevertheless heightens the hurdle that must be cleared to obtain the injunction: not only must the
motion advance considerations satisfying the traditional injunction factors ... but those
considerations must also constitute ... ‘appropriate circumstances' ... to justify issuing an
injunction against a non-party.” Andrews v. Andrews, 160 Fed. Appx. 798, 799-800 (10th Cir.
2005) (quoting United States v. New York Telephone Co., 434 U.S. 159 (1977)).
I need not address whether appropriate circumstances exist because I find that Plaintiff
has not made a compelling showing that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of
preliminary relief. “To constitute irreparable harm, an injury must be certain, great, actual and
not theoretical.” Heideman v. South Salt Lake City, 348 F.3d 1182, 1189 (10th Cir. 2003)
(internal quotations and citations omitted). Irreparable harm is defined as something greater than
“merely serious or substantial harm,” and the moving party “must show that the injury
complained of is of such imminence that there is a clear and present need for equitable relief to
prevent irreparable harm.” Id. Defendant Creany attests that in August 2013, Plaintiff weighed
158 pounds, trained with weights twice a week, played softball twice a week, and believed that
his condition had improved significantly. (Doc. #51 at ¶ 34, Doc. #51-1 at ¶ 63). At this time,
Plaintiff purportedly expressed to Defendant Creany his dislike for the gluten-free diet and asked
that Ensure drinks be supplied to him. (See id. at ¶ 35, Doc. #51-1 at ¶¶ 64, 65). Creany
explained that he did not think Ensure was medically necessary given Plaintiff’s current state of
health. Plaintiff responded that he would assume responsibility for managing his gluten intake
and asked to receive a standard diet, which was thereafter provided.12 (See id. at ¶¶ 35-36, Doc.
#51-1 at ¶ 65). Between April 2014 and June 2014, Plaintiff reported success in managing his
Defendant Creany also attests that he ordered a 30-day supply of Ensure for Plaintiff in March 2012 to prevent
weight loss, and that Plaintiff failed to retrieve the shakes from the clinic, stating it was “bull shit” that he had to
wait several minutes to be helped. (Doc. #51 at ¶ 18, Doc. #51-1 at ¶¶ 31, 33).
condition, and Dr. Vahil noted that the ulcerative colitis had improved significantly. (See doc.
#51 at ¶¶ 39, 41, Doc. #51-1 at ¶¶ 69, 72). In light of evidence that Plaintiff voluntarily forwent
his prescribed medical diet over a year ago, maintains a reasonable weight for his body mass
index, is not malnourished according to laboratory reports, continues to eat the standard diet, and
expressed satisfaction with the management of his condition as recently as April 2014 (doc. #51
at ¶¶ 49, 72, 73, doc. #51-1 at ¶¶ 69, 77, doc. #51-2 at p. 33, and doc. #51-3 at ¶¶ 23, 31), I
cannot find that Plaintiff is in imminent danger of irreparable harm. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s
Motion for Temporary Restraining Order is denied.
For the foregoing reasons, Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss in part (doc. #36) is
GRANTED, and Plaintiff’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction (doc. #49) is DENIED. Plaintiff
may file a second amended complaint within 30 days of the date of this Order and Opinion.
DATED at Denver, Colorado, this 17th day of October, 2014.
BY THE COURT:
s/Craig B. Shaffer__________
United States Magistrate Judge
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