Tenth Circuit: Denver Not Liable for Courtroom Assault
Panel affirms dismissal of claim tying city to detainee’s injury during hearing

by Doug Chartier

Denver doesn’t have to answer for the injuries a deputy sheriff inflicted on a shackled detainee during a hearing, according to a new federal appellate opinion.

Anthony Waller was a pretrial detainee when Deputy Sheriff Brady Lovingier slammed Waller’s head into a glass wall during an advisement hearing in 2012. Waller sued Lovingier for excessive force and claimed the City and County of Denver was liable for the deputy’s actions. But the federal district court dismissed the claim against Denver, and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in a decision issued Aug. 5.

Waller failed to show the deputy’s assault could be linked to Denver’s alleged failure to properly hire, train, investigate or discipline the city’s law enforcement officers, according to the appellate panel of judges Jerome Holmes, Monroe McKay and Nancy Moritz.

The decision could end litigation surrounding the high-profile assault, which was captured on courtroom video that circulated around Colorado news outlets.

To read the rest of this story and other complete articles featured in the Aug. 12, 2019 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.