United States District Court, D. Colorado
A. BRIMMER, Chief United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendants Johnson, Algien,
Felzein, and Boyer’s Motion for Summary Judgment
[Docket No. 145]. The Court has subject matter jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Mr. Farley’s Transfer to Colorado
July 2011, inmate Paul Farley was transferred from the
Arizona Department of Corrections (“ADC”) to the
Colorado Department of Corrections (“CDOC”).
Docket No. 110 at 1, ¶ 1. At the time of his transfer,
the ADC provided the CDOC with records concerning Mr.
Farley’s incarceration in Arizona. Id. at 2,
¶¶ 5-6. Those records detailed multiple acts of
violence committed by Mr. Farley while in ADC custody,
including a 1999 disciplinary conviction for sexually
assaulting a cellmate, a 2000 disciplinary conviction for
slicing open a cellmate’s back with a razorblade, and a
manslaughter conviction for helping an inmate in an adjoining
cell commit suicide in July 2001. Id. at 2-3, ¶
6. Mr. Farley’s records also indicated that Mr. Farley
had made threatening statements in regard to other inmates
such as “I just want to do somebody, ” “I
want to put steel in someone, ” and “it would be
easier to find a victim in PS.” Id. at 4,
September 1, 2011, CDOC officials held a hearing at the
Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center (“DRDC”)
to determine whether Mr. Farley should be placed in
administrative segregation. Id. at 1, ¶
Defendant Ali Shoaga presided over the hearing as the
chairperson of a three-member hearing board. Id.,
¶ 3. As part of the hearing process, Mr. Shoaga reviewed
records regarding Mr. Farley’s ADC disciplinary
history. Id. at 2, ¶ 5. Relying principally on
the fact that it had been over ten years since Mr.
Farley’s last disciplinary infraction, Mr. Shoaga
recommended that Mr. Farley not be placed in administrative
segregation in the CDOC. Id. at 6, ¶ 24.
Facts Related to Defendant Johnson
time of the events giving rise to this lawsuit, defendant
David Johnson was the associate warden of DRDC. Docket No.
148 at 1-2, ¶ 2; Docket No. 149 at 1, ¶¶ 2- 3.
In that role, he was responsible for reviewing administrative
segregation hearings and affirming, modifying, or reversing
the classification recommendation submitted by the
chairperson. Docket No. 145 at 3, ¶¶ 3-5. After
reviewing the records related to Mr. Farley’s hearing,
including any documents considered by the hearing board, Mr.
Johnson affirmed Mr. Shoaga’s recommendation that Mr.
Farley not be placed in administrative segregation.
Id., ¶¶ 4, 7-8. Mr. Johnson relied on the
same factors considered by the hearing board, including the
fact that Mr. Farley had no documented disciplinary
infractions in the ADC in the past ten years. Id.,
Facts Related to Defendant Algien
2011, defendant Nathan Algien was a classification officer in
the CDOC’s Office of Offender Services, which makes the
final decision regarding an offender’s facility
placement within the CDOC. Id. at 5, ¶¶
22-24. Before that determination is made, a diagnostic
programmer at the DRDC gives the offender an Initial Custody
Rating based on an objective scoring system designed to
assess the offender’s level of risk and security needs.
Id. at 5-6, ¶¶ 27-28, 31. In 2011, custody
levels in general population in the CDOC ranged from
“minimum” custody, the least restrictive
classification, to “close” custody, the most
restrictive. Id. at 6, ¶ 29. Although Mr.
Algien had the authority to recommend an override of an
offender’s initial custody classification,
id., ¶ 32, he did not have the power to
override an offender’s administrative segregation
classification. Id. at 7, ¶ 33.
Algien’s job as a classification officer was to
determine an appropriate facility at which to place an
offender based on the offender’s custody level and any
“custody issues” related to that offender.
Id., ¶¶ 35-36. Based on Mr. Farley’s
initial classification as a “close” custody
offender, there were three facilities within the CDOC system
at which he could be placed: Sterling Correctional Facility
(“SCF”), Limon Correctional Facility, and
Centennial Correctional Facility. Id. at 9, ¶
48. Mr. Farley was likely assigned to SCF because it was the
first close custody facility with available bed space that
could house him due to custody issues. Id., ¶
Mr. Farley was transferred to SCF, Mr. Algien did not have
any authority over Mr. Farley’s specific cell or
housing unit assignments. Id., ¶ 50. All
internal housing decisions were made by the specific facility
at which an offender was placed. Id., ¶¶
Facts Related to Defendant Felzein
and June 2012, defendant Chase Felzein was employed as a
housing lieutenant at SCF. Id. at 10, ¶ 58. His
responsibilities included supervising offenders and housing
unit staff members and reviewing and approving offender cell
assignments. Id. at 10, 12, ¶¶ 59-60, 76.
offender was assigned to a facility, an Internal
Classification Committee, of which Mr. Felzein was not a
member, would determine the particular living unit in which
the offender would be housed. Id. at 11-12,
¶¶ 71-72. In May and June 2012, Mr. Farley and
James Roemer were both assigned to Living Unit 2 in the
medium security area of SCF. Id. at 10, ¶¶
60-61. They were also two of a group of four offenders who
had requested a cell change. Id. at 16, ¶ 100.
approving a recommendation that Mr. Farley and Mr. Roemer be
placed in the same cell, Mr. Felzein relied on the factors
set forth in an internal prison document known as the Points
of Compatibility directive, which housing unit staff were
expected to follow in making cell placement decisions.
Id. at 12-13, 17, ¶¶ 78, 110. Among the
compatibility factors considered by Mr. Felzein were Mr.
Farley’s and Mr. Roemer’s ages, their races,
their physical sizes, their security threat group
(“STG”)/gang affiliations, the length of their
sentences, and their Sexually Aggressive Behavior
(“SAB”)/Sexual Vulnerability Risk
(“SVR”) scores. Id. at 13, 16-17,
¶¶ 80, 104-08. Mr. Felzein determined that all
points of compatibility were met because Mr. Farley and Mr.
Roemer were only five years apart in age, they were both
Caucasian, they were similarly sized, they were not members
of rival STGs, they had compatible SAB/SVR scores, there was
only a five-year difference in their mandatory release dates,
they had no known custody issues with each other, and they
had agreed to live together in the same cell. Id. at
16-17, ¶¶ 104-09. In making a determination as to
these factors, Mr. Felzein would have reviewed the offender
information available in the CDOC’s DCIS/PCDCIS
computer system. Id. at 14-15, ¶¶ 93,
However, the DCIS/PCDCIS system did not contain all of the
information that the CDOC would have possessed regarding Mr.
Farley and Mr. Roemer. See id., ¶¶ 94-96.
point, Mr. Farley and Mr. Roemer were moved into the same
cell. Id. at 10, ¶ 63. On June 13, 2012, Mr.
Farley murdered Mr. Roemer. Id.
Mr. Roemer’s estate, filed this case on June 12, 2014.
Docket No. 1. Plaintiff asserts an Eighth Amendment
deliberate indifference claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
based on defendants’ respective roles in the
decision-making process that led to Mr. Farley’s
placement in the same cell as Mr. Roemer at SCF. See
Docket No. 141 at 20-23, ¶¶ 94-106. On October 12,
2017, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of
defendants on statute-of-limitations grounds. Docket No. 175.
Plaintiff appealed, Docket No. 179, and on March 7, 2019, the
Tenth Circuit reversed the grant of summary judgment, holding
that the Court had erred by failing to determine when
plaintiff’s “claims against each
defendant accrued.” Docket No. 186 at 23. The Tenth
Circuit also concluded that, with the exception of Thomas
Boyer, defendants had failed to establish that
plaintiff’s claims accrued outside of the relevant
limitations period. Id.
the Tenth Circuit’s remand, see id., the Court
directed the parties to file status reports identifying the
issues that remained to be resolved in light of the Tenth
Circuit’s decision. Docket No. 188. Based on those
status reports and the T enth Circuit’s ruling, the
Court determined that the next step in this case is for the
Court to determine whether defendants are entitled to summary
judgment on any ground other than the statute of limitations.
Docket No. 191 at 1. On April 24, 2019, the Court reinstated
defendants’ summary judgment motion. Docket No. 191.
judgment is warranted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
56 when the “movant shows that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a);
see Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
248-50 (1986). A disputed fact is “material” if
under the relevant substantive law it is essential to proper
disposition of the claim. Wright v. Abbott Labs.,
Inc., 259 F.3d 1226, 1231-32 (10th Cir. 2001). Only
disputes over material facts can create a genuine issue for
trial and preclude summary judgment. Faustin v. City
& Cty. of Denver, 423 F.3d 1192, 1198 (10th Cir.
2005). An issue is ...