Court Opinions: 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion from Oct. 4

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

Editor’s Note: Law Week Colorado edits court opinion summaries for style and, when necessary, length.

Dugar v. Board of County Commissioners, et al.

Aaron Dugar was a pretrial detainee at Clear Creek Detention Facility. Demontrae Wilson was also a detainee at CCDF. Wilson was detained on charges of attempted first-degree murder. CCDF housed Dugar and Wilson in the same pod with 18 to 20 other detainees. CCDF staff could see the detainees via video cameras but didn’t have a direct line of sight. Two sheriff’s officers supervised an area of CCDF including Dugar’s pod. 

One evening Wilson violently attacked Dugar unprovoked. Other detainees intervened and stopped the attack and CCDF staff entered the pod two minutes after the attack began. Dugar survived but was left with several serious injuries including fractures to his face, a broken jaw, dismembered teeth and stab wounds. Roughly two weeks following the attack, one officer told another officer that CCDF was undermanned and that changes were coming. 

Dugar alleged that Clear Creek County and Sheriff Rick Albers developed policies resulting in overcrowding and understaffing and the resulting jail conditions caused the attack. He also alleged that other unnamed sheriff’s officers were deliberately indifferent while putting Wilson and Dugar close to each other and they failed to step in more quickly to stop the attack. Dugar concluded that each of the defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights. 

The district court dismissed several claims. The court dismissed the official-capacity claim against Albers as duplicative of claims against Clear Creek County and it dismissed the individual capacity claims against Albers for failure to allege personal participation. Finally, the district court dismissed the claims against the Doe defendants because Dugar failed to allege any of them subjectively knew and disregarded his health and safety.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the district court. 

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