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Case 1:18-cv-02741 Document 1 Filed 10/26/18 USDC Colorado Page 1 of 15

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO

Civil Action No.: _______________

ERIC MAGNE,

Plaintiff,

v.

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, COLORADO, and


MICHAEL HANSEN, Clear Creek County Deputy Sheriff, in his individual capacity;
JON GEIGER, Georgetown Police Officer, in his individual capacity;
DEPUTIES/OFFICERS JOHN AND JANE DOES I-III,

Defendants.

______________________________________________________________________________

PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND


______________________________________________________________________________

Plaintiff, Eric Magne, by and through counsel, Darold W. Killmer and Reid Allison of

KILLMER, LANE & NEWMAN, LLP, and Charles G. Crosse and Michael J. Lazar of CROSSE LAW

LLC, respectfully alleges for his Complaint and Jury Demand as follows:

I. INTRODUCTION

1. On the night of October 29, 2016, Plaintiff Eric Magne was brutalized twice in the

span of an hour at the Clear Creek County Jail. The officer responsible for the first assault on Mr.

Magne—Defendant Jon Geiger—was criminally indicted for his actions, and pled guilty. The

second assault on Mr. Magne left him lying in a pool of his own blood that was pouring from a

severe head wound. Rather than provide Mr. Magne immediate medical attention, the officer

who attacked him, as well as the officer’s colleagues, pinned Mr. Magne to the ground and

handcuffed him facedown and bleeding.


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2. As a result of the Defendants’ actions and inactions, Mr. Magne suffered a

traumatic brain injury that has limited his cognitive functioning, as well as other severe physical

and emotional damages and continuing trauma, injuries and damages from his brutal ordeal.

II. JURISDICTION AND VENUE

3. This action arises under the Constitution and laws of the United States and the

State of Colorado, and is brought pursuant to Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

4. Jurisdiction is conferred on this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

5. Jurisdiction supporting Plaintiff’s claim for attorneys’ fees and costs is conferred

by 42 U.S.C. § 1988.

6. Venue is proper in the District of Colorado pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). All

of the events alleged herein occurred within the State of Colorado, and all of the parties were

residents of the State at the time of the events giving rise to this litigation.

III. PARTIES

Plaintiff

7. Plaintiff, Eric Magne, is a citizen of the United States and at all relevant times

was a resident of and domiciled in the State of Colorado.

Defendants

8. Defendant Clear Creek County is a political subdivision of the State of Colorado

and is a “person” subject to liability and suit within the meaning and scope of Title 42 U.S.C.

Section 1983. The jail is operated and governed by the policies, practices, customs and

supervision of the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Department, not the county Board of County

Commissioners.

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9. At all times relevant to this Complaint, Defendant Michael Hansen was a citizen

of the United States, resident of and domiciled in the State of Colorado and was acting under

color of state law in his capacity as an officer employed by the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s

Office.

10. At all times relevant to this Complaint, Defendant Jon Geiger was a citizen of the

United States, resident of and domiciled in the State of Colorado and was acting under color of

state law in his capacity as a police officer with the Georgetown Police Department.

11. Upon information and belief, at all times relevant to this Complaint, Defendants

John and Jane Doe I-III (two males and one female) were citizens of the United States, residents

of and domiciled in the State of Colorado and were acting under color of state law in their

capacities as deputies of the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office or possibly police officers with

the Georgetown Police Department. These law enforcement officers were present during some

or all of the events described herein and are identifiable by photographic and/or textual

descriptions contained herein.

IV. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

12. On the night of October 28-29, 2016, in Georgetown, Colorado, Eric Magne was

arrested on suspicion of DUI, DWAI, and speeding.

13. Mr. Magne informed the arresting Georgetown Police Department Officer,

Defendant Jon Geiger, that he was on nerve medication because of a head injury he had

sustained in a previous incident.

14. Defendant Geiger transported Mr. Magne to the Clear Creek County Jail.

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15. At the time of Mr. Magne’s arrest and transport to the jail, 5th Judicial District

Deputy District Attorney Susan Deschler was on a ride-along with Defendant Geiger in his patrol

car.

A. Excessive Force at Booking

16. As Defendant Geiger was booking Mr. Magne into the jail, Mr. Magne asked if he

could be placed in a holding cell for his protection.

17. Defendant Geiger agreed to the request, and Mr. Magne went to the holding cell

and attempted to close the cell’s door behind him.

18. The door would not stay closed, so Mr. Magne pulled it three times in quick

succession to attempt to secure it closed and to alert Defendant Geiger—who was sitting behind

a desk nearby—that it would not close properly.

19. Instead of helping Mr. Magne secure the door, Defendant Geiger rushed over and

forcefully removed him from the cell.

20. Though Magne was not resisting, Defendant Geiger grabbed Mr. Magne by the

wrist, violently wrenched his arm behind his back and pinned him against a wall such that Mr.

Magne’s feet were barely touching the ground.

21. The screenshot below (from a jail security video attached to this Complaint as

Exhibit A) illustrates Defendant Geiger’s objectively unnecessary use of excessive force against

Mr. Magne:

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22. Defendant Geiger kept Mr. Magne pinned against the wall with his arm wrenched

behind has back for approximately thirty seconds.

23. Defendant Geiger’s infliction of excessive force against Mr. Magne caused

significant pain, fright, discomfort and trauma to him, and was well in excess of the force

necessary to accomplish any legitimate law enforcement objective.

24. Mr. Magne’s conduct did not warrant the use of the level of force that Defendant

Geiger used against him. Mr. Magne was not armed, was not attempting to flee, was not

improperly resisting, and was not threatening Defendant Geiger or anyone else.

25. Within moments of Defendant Geiger beginning his excessive force against Mr.

Magne, Defendant Clear Creek County Deputy Michael Hansen entered the booking area and

stood mere feet away, doing nothing to intervene to prevent his colleagues’ use of obviously

excessive force. Deputy District Attorney Deschler was also present for Defendant Geiger’s use

of excessive force.

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26. Defendant Geiger was subsequently indicted by a grand jury and pled guilty to

Harassment for his use of excessive force against Mr. Magne.

27. The contents of the video surveillance of the foregoing event, attached as Exhibit

A, are incorporated herein as if fully alleged in this Complaint.

B. Excessive Force at Intake

28. Approximately an hour later, Defendant Hansen took Mr. Magne to the intake

section of the jail in order to fingerprint him.

29. The medication Mr. Magne was taking for his previous injury—of which he had

informed the arresting officer—prevented him from being able to control the saliva in his mouth.

30. As he was being fingerprinted, Mr. Magne noticed that while talking to Defendant

Hansen some of his saliva had landed on the badge on Defendant Hansen’s shoulder sleeve.

31. Mr. Magne attempted to clean the saliva from Defendant Hansen’s shoulder.

32. Without any provocation or warning, and despite the fact that Mr. Magne had at

no point resisted or threatened him or any other officer in any way, Defendant Hansen then

grabbed Mr. Magne by the neck and violently swung his head into a metal door frame, as

illustrated in the screenshot below (taken from a jail security video attached as Exhibit B):

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33. Immediately, blood began pouring from Mr. Magne’s head.

34. Mr. Magne collapsed onto the floor from the force of Defendant Hansen’s

ramming of his head into the door jam.

35. While Mr. Magne was prone on the floor bleeding from an obvious head wound,

Defendant Hansen then placed all of his bodyweight on Mr. Magne’s head and neck, pinning

him to the ground, as illustrated in the screenshot below:

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36. As Defendant Hansen continued to pin Mr. Magne to the ground and the pool of

blood from his head grew to an alarming size, Defendants John and Jane Doe I-III arrived on the

scene.

37. Rather than intervene to prevent Defendant Hansen’s obvious, continued use of

excessive force against a man who was unarmed, defenseless, and clearly severely injured,

Defendants Doe I-III proceeded to pile their bodyweight on top of Mr. Magne, as illustrated in

the screenshot below:

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38. DDA Deschler was also present in the jail during the officers’ use of excessive

force against Mr. Magne.

39. The Defendants then stood around Mr. Magne as he suffered an apparent set of

convulsions/seizures while bleeding and now handcuffed on the floor, as illustrated in the

screenshot below (the video of the event, attached hereto as Exhibit B, depicts the

convulsions/seizures which were very apparent to the onlookers):

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40. Despite having witnessed and been aware of the convulsions and seizures Mr.

Magne was having, Defendants did not reduce the restraints on Mr. Magne, unreasonably and

excessively increasing the risks and injuries to Mr. Magne.

41. As a result of this violent assault, Mr. Magne suffered intense and prolonged pain,

a traumatic brain injury, significant fright and emotional trauma and distress, and a severe head

wound that required emergency hospitalization and 17 staples to close.

42. Although his head wound eventually healed, Mr. Magne sustained permanent

injuries to his brain and has developed a seizure disorder, resulting from the Defendants’

unconstitutional conduct.

43. Mr. Magne has also suffered continuing emotional and psychological damages

and injuries related to the conduct and omissions of both Deputy Hansen and Deputy Geiger, as

well as the other law enforcement officials as described herein

44. The Defendants’ blatantly unconstitutional actions have inflicted grave and

lasting physical and emotional damage on Mr. Magne.

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45. As a result of the Defendants’ unconstitutional actions, Mr. Magne has sustained

injuries and damages, including but not limited to the following: past, present and future pain

and suffering; past, present and future hospital and medical expenses; past and future lost wages;

economic damages; non-economic damages; permanent physical impairment; loss of enjoyment

of life; emotional distress, shock, fright, and worry; and other injuries.

46. The contents of the video surveillance of the foregoing event, attached as Exhibit

B, are incorporated herein as if fully alleged in this Complaint.

STATEMENT OF CLAIMS FOR RELIEF

FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF

42 U.S.C. § 1983
Fourteenth Amendment Violation – Excessive Force
(Against Defendants Geiger and Hansen)

47. Plaintiff hereby incorporates all other paragraphs of this Complaint as if fully set

forth herein.

48. Defendants Geiger and Hansen were acting under color of state law during their

actions and inactions at all times relevant to this action.

49. At the time when Defendant Geiger wrenched Mr. Magne’s arm behind him and

pinned him against a wall with excessive force, Mr. Magne had a clearly established

constitutional right to be secure in his person from being subjected to excessive force by officers

acting under color of state law.

50. At the time Defendant Hansen observed Defendant Geiger wrenching Mr.

Magne’s arm behind him and pinning him against the wall, Mr. Magne had a clearly established

constitutional right for Defendant Hansen to intervene to prevent his fellow officer’s use of

obviously excessive force in violation of the United States and Colorado Constitutions.

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51. Defendants herein knew, and any reasonable law enforcement officer knew or

should have known of these clearly established rights.

52. Defendant Geiger engaged in use of force that was objectively unreasonable in

light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, violating Mr. Magne’s Fourteenth

Amendment rights.

53. Defendants Geiger’s and Hansen’s respective actions and inactions, as described

above, were motivated by intent to harm Plaintiff.

54. Defendants Geiger’s and Hansen’s respective actions and inactions, as described

herein, were undertaken intentionally, maliciously, willfully, wantonly, and/or in reckless

disregard of Plaintiff’s federally protected rights.

55. The acts and omissions of each Defendant described herein, were the legal and

proximate cause of Mr. Magne’s significant injuries, damages and losses.

56. The acts or omissions of Defendants Geiger and Hansen caused Mr. Magne to

suffer significant physical and emotional damages.

SECOND CLAIM FOR RELIEF

42 U.S.C. § 1983
Fourteenth Amendment Violation – Excessive Force
(Against Defendants Clear Creek County, Hansen and Does I-III)

57. Plaintiff hereby incorporates all other paragraphs of this Complaint as if fully set

forth herein.

58. Defendants Hansen and Does I-III were acting under color of state law during

their actions and inactions at all times relevant to this action.

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59. At the time when Defendant Hansen violently swung Mr. Magne’s head into a

wall, Mr. Magne had a clearly established constitutional right to be secure in his person from

excessive force.

60. At the time Defendants Does I-III observed Defendant Hansen pinning Mr.

Magne to the ground with all of his bodyweight as Mr. Magne bled profusely from his head, and

then joined in the physical restraint and use of force on an unarmed, defenseless and injured man,

Mr. Magne had a clearly established constitutional right for Defendants Doe I-III to intervene to

prevent Defendant Hansen’s use of obviously excessive force.

61. Defendants herein knew, and any reasonable law enforcement officer knew or

should have known of these clearly established rights.

62. Defendant Hansen engaged in use of force that was objectively unreasonable in

light of the facts and circumstances confronting him, violating Mr. Magne’s Fourteenth

Amendment rights.

63. Defendants Hansen’s and Does I-III respective actions and inactions, as described

above, were motivated by intent to harm Plaintiff.

64. Defendants Hansen’s and Does I-III respective actions and inactions, as described

herein, were undertaken intentionally, maliciously, willfully, wantonly, and/or in reckless

disregard of Plaintiff’s federally protected rights.

65. The acts and omissions of each Defendant described herein, were the legal and

proximate cause of Mr. Magne’s damages.

66. The acts or omissions of Defendants Hansen and Does I-III caused Mr. Magne to

suffer severe physical and emotional damages.

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67. Defendant Clear Creek County, through the operation and supervision of the

Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office, is responsible for the hiring, training and supervision of the

law enforcement officers responsible for running the County jail.

68. The mission of the jail, as reflected on its official website, is “to provide for the

safe, secure and wholesome care, custody and control of all inmates and detainees incarcerated

here, according to statutory requirements and court edicts.” See https://www.co.clear-

creek.co.us/index.aspx?nid=782 (as of October 26, 2018).

69. The conduct of Defendant Hansen and Defendant Does I-III, as described more

particularly herein, was engaged in pursuant to and consistent with the training, customs, policies

and practices of the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Department regarding proper law enforcement

response and activity in the circumstances presented regarding Mr. Magne.

70. Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Department’s training, customs, policies and

practices caused the injuries, damages and losses suffered by Mr. Magne. These injuries,

damages and losses were foreseeably consequences of the policies designed, implemented and

enforced by the Sheriff’s Department.

71. None of the Clear Creek County Defendants were counseled or disciplined

regarding any of the events involving Mr. Magne.

72. Defendant Clear Creek County approved and ratified the conduct of Clear Creek

County Defendants Hansen and Does I-III.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests that this Court enter judgment in his favor and

against Defendants, and award him all relief as allowed by law and equity, including, but not

limited to the following:

a. Declaratory relief and injunctive relief, as appropriate;

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b. Actual economic damages as established at trial;

c. Compensatory damages, including, but not limited to those for past and future

pecuniary and non-pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience,

mental anguish, hedonic damages, loss of enjoyment of life, medical bills, and

other non-pecuniary losses;

d. Punitive damages for all claims as allowed by law in an amount to be determined

at trial;

e. Pre-judgment and post-judgment interest at the highest lawful rate;

f. Attorneys’ fees and costs; and

g. Such further relief as justice requires or as allowed by law or in equity.

PLAINTIFF DEMANDS A JURY TRIAL ON ALL ISSUES SO TRIABLE.

DATED this 26th day of October 2018.

KILLMER, LANE & NEWMAN, LLP

/s/ Darold W. Killmer


Darold W. Killmer
Reid Allison
1543 Champa Street, Suite 400
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 571-1000
dkillmer@kln-law.com
rallison@kln-law.com

Charles G. Crosse
Michael J. Lazar
CROSSE LAW LLC
360 S. Garfield Street
Denver, CO 80209
(303) 839-1137
charliecrosse@crosselaw.com
mikelazar@crosselaw.com

ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF

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