Abrahamson v. Corrections Corporation of America and Adams v. Corrections Corporation of America
These are consolidated lawsuits on behalf of 193 prisoners who suffered physical and mental injuries as a result of a riot that occurred at Crowley County Correctional Facility in Colorado, a prison owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private operator in the U.S.
All the plaintiffs were cleared of any involvement in the riot and all were injured by CCA’s employees and agents, not by other prisoners. The lawsuits seek to hold CCA accountable under state tort law for prompting and mishandling a preventable riot, using excessive force during and after the riot, and for torturing the prisoners for a month after the riot ended.
In March 2007, the trial court dismissed the cases on the ground that plaintiffs had failed to exhaust administrative remedies. Public Justice appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals and won a reversal in May 2008. The Court ruled that the prisoner-plaintiffs were not required to exhaust administrative remedies before filing their lawsuit asserting common-law tort claims. CCA filed a petition for certiorari in the Colorado Supreme Court, which the Court denied.
The cases settled in April 2013. CCA agreed to pay $600,000.
William Trine of Trine & Metcalf, P.C., in Boulder, Colo., was lead counsel; co-counsel were Cheryl Trine of Loveland, Colo., Deborah Taussig of Boulder, Colo., and Public Justice’s Adele Kimmel.