Williams v. Carbajol, Civil Action 20-cv-02119-NYW

CourtUnited States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
Writing for the CourtNina Y. Wang, Magistrate Judge.
Docket NumberCivil Action 20-cv-02119-NYW
Decision Date30 November 2021



Civil Action No. 20-cv-02119-NYW

United States District Court, D. Colorado

November 30, 2021


Nina Y. Wang, Magistrate Judge.

This matter comes before the court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) (the “Motion” or “Motion to Dismiss”) [Doc. 36] filed on April 30, 2021 by Defendants Deputy Sackett, Sergeant Farrell, and Deputy Kriswonzki (collectively, “Defendants”).[1] This court considers the Motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and the Order of Reference for all purposes dated May 20, 2021. [Doc. 40]. Upon review of the Motion and the related briefing, applicable case law, and the entire docket, and being fully advised in the premises, I GRANT the Motion to Dismiss. In addition, the court ORDERS the United States Marshals Service to serve Defendant Carbajol.



The court draws the following facts from the Amended Complaint [Doc. 6] and presumes they are true for purposes of the instant Motion. On June 19, 2020, Plaintiff Thomas Jefferson Williams IV (“Plaintiff” or “Mr. Williams”) was working in the kitchen at the El Paso County Jail (the “Jail”) when Defendant Carbajol (“Mr. Carjabol”), a service worker with Trinity Food Service, twice asked Mr. Williams to engage in sexual acts. [Doc. 6 at 7]. More specifically, Mr. Williams asked Mr. Carbajol if he could “put the cereal up.” [Id.]. Mr. Carbajol responded, “[y]ou wanna suck my what[?]” [Id.]. When Mr. Williams asked Mr. Carbajol what he said, Mr. Carbajol repeated, “[y]ou wanna suck my what[?]” [Id.]. According to Mr. Williams, he suffered from emotional distress and emotional harm as a result of Mr. Carbajol's harassment and was subsequently taunted and stalked by unnamed individuals. [Id.].

Mr. Williams reported the alleged sexual misconduct to unnamed persons. [Id. at 8]. He alleges that Defendant Deputy Sackett (“Deputy Sackett”) failed to turn in the “alleged write-up paper work” to the hiring officer. [Id. at 25]. He also alleges that Deputy Sackett retaliated against him by placing Plaintiff in a higher-security housing ward, which created a higher risk of danger to Plaintiff and put Plaintiff in a state of emotional duress and emotional harm. [Id.]. Prior to this transfer, Mr. Williams was “unlocked all day, ” but after the transfer, he was locked in his cell for 21 hours per day and lost his visitation privileges and had less shower time. [Id.]. Mr. Williams asserts that Deputy Sackett discriminated against him by “not writing up or investigating other alleged volunteer workers.” [Id. at 25-26]. In addition, Mr. Williams alleges that Deputy Sackett conspired with other deputies to get Mr. Williams fired from his kitchen job after he submitted grievances complaining of Mr. Carbajol's conduct. [Id. at 26].

According to Mr. Williams, he started a petition that included the signatures of eight other


unnamed inmates who all stated that Mr. Carbajol had harassed them sexually or that they had witnessed Mr. Carbajol sexually harass another inmate. [Id.]. In addition, Mr. Williams alleges that he had in his possession a handwritten letter from Mr. Carbajol to another unnamed inmate in which Mr. Carbajol, through the form of a hangman game, asked the unnamed inmate to “[b]end over [p]lease.” [Id. at 7].[2] Accordingly Mr. Williams, Defendant Deputy Kriswonzki (“Deputy Kriswonzki”) harassed Mr. Williams by coming to his cell three times requesting that Plaintiff give him the hangman game and inmate petition. [Id. at 22]. Plaintiff alleges that Deputy Kriswonzki coerced him by saying, “Mr. Carbajol is a piece of shit[;]” “we need to get that son of a bitch fired[;]” “I need that Note.” [Id.]. Then, on July 15, 2020, Deputy Kriswonzki came into Mr. Williams's cell and took the hangman document and the inmate petition without Mr. Williams's permission. [Id. at 21]. According to Mr. Williams, Defendant Sergeant Farrell (“Sergeant Farrell”) harassed Plaintiff by sending Deputy Kriswonzki to his cell three times to confiscate the documents and commanded Deputy Kriswonzki to illegally seize the documents from his cell. [Id. at 28]. He asserts that Sergeant Farrell and Deputy Kriswonzki conspired and retaliated against him by placing him in a state of emotional harm and duress. [Id.]. According to Mr. Williams, the Jail said that it would document the confiscated evidence and return it, but is now refusing to return it, requiring Mr. Williams to “have [his] attorney request [the documents] through a discovery process.” [Id. at 22].

On July 20, 2020, Plaintiff initiated this civil action against Deputy Sackett, Deputy Kriswonzki, Sergeant Farrell, and Mr. Carbajol, as well the Jail; Trinity Food Services; and two individuals identified as Mr. Dave and Ms. Victoria, who Plaintiff alleged are Trinity Food Service


Supervisors. See [Doc. 1 at 1-3]. The Honorable Gordon P. Gallagher granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis, see [Doc. 4], and directed Plaintiff to file an Amended Complaint, see [Doc. 5], which Plaintiff did on August 10, 2020. [Doc. 6]. In the Amended Complaint, Mr. Williams named Mr. Carbajol, Mr. Dave, Ms. Victoria, Trinity Food Services, El Paso County, Deputy Sackett, Sergeant Farrell, and Deputy Kriswonzki as Defendants. [Id. at 3]. On December 14, 2020, Magistrate Judge Gallagher recommended that Plaintiff's claims against Deputy Sackett, Sergeant Farrell, and Deputy Kriswonzki be drawn to a presiding judge. [Doc. 16 at 10]. In addition, Magistrate Judge Gallagher recommended that Plaintiff's claim against Mr. Carbajol, only to the extent it alleges a claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress, be drawn to a presiding judge. [Id.]. Magistrate Judge Gallagher recommended that the remaining claims and Defendants be dismissed without prejudice for failure to comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. [Id.]. On February 26, 2021, the Honorable Lewis T. Babcock accepted the Recommendation and dismissed Plaintiff's claims accordingly. [Doc. 20 at 2]. The case was then directly assigned to the undersigned. [Id.]. On March 29, 2021 and May 19, 2021, all served Parties consented to the jurisdiction of a Magistrate Judge. [Doc. 27; Doc. 39].

On April 30, 2021, Defendants filed the instant Motion to Dismiss, seeking dismissal of Plaintiff's claims against Deputy Kriswonzki, Deputy Sackett, and Sergeant Farrell pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. [Doc. 36]. On June 18, 2021, Plaintiff responded in opposition to the Motion to Dismiss, [Doc. 46], and Defendants have since replied. [Doc. 48]. Because the Motion is ripe for disposition, I consider the Parties' arguments below.



I. Rule 12(b)(1)

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Under Article III of the United States Constitution, federal courts only have jurisdiction to hear certain “cases” and “controversies.” Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, 573 U.S. 149, 157 (2014). As such, courts “are duty bound to examine facts and law in every lawsuit before them to ensure that they possess subject matter jurisdiction.” Wilderness Soc. v. Kane Cty., 632 F.3d 1162, 1179 n.3 (10th Cir. 2011) (Gorsuch, J., concurring). Indeed, courts have an independent obligation to determine whether subject matter jurisdiction exists, even in the absence of a challenge from any party. 1mage Software, Inc. v. Reynolds & Reynolds, Co., 459 F.3d 1044, 1048 (10th Cir. 2006) (citing Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500 (2006)).

II. Rule 12(b)(6)

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)). 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). Rather, “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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); see also Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242, 1247 (10th Cir. 2008) (explaining that plausibility refers “to the scope of the allegations in a complaint” and stating that the allegations must be sufficient to nudge a plaintiff's claims “across


the line from conceivable to plausible.”). The court must ultimately “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).

III. Pro Se Pleadings

In applying the above principles, this court is mindful that Mr. Williams proceeds pro se and the court thus affords his papers and filings a liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). But the court cannot and does not act as his advocate, Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991), and applies the same procedural rules and substantive law to Plaintiff as to a represented party. See Murray v. City of Tahlequah, 312 F.3d 1196, 1199 n.2 (10th Cir. 2008); Dodson v. Bd. of Cty. Comm'rs, 878 F.Supp.2d 1227, 1236 (D. Colo. 2012).


Defendants argue that Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Kriswonzki, Sackett, and Farrell should be dismissed. [Doc. 36]. First, they argue that, to the extent Plaintiff's Amended Complaint sets forth any state law claims,...

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