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Cisneros v. Sheriff of El Paso County.

2020 COA 163. No. 19CA0546. False Imprisonment—Colorado Governmental Immunity Act—Waiver—Intentional Acts.

November 19, 2020


Cisneros was arrested and detained at El Paso County’s Criminal Justice Center. His daughter posted the bond set by the court, but Cisneros was not released from custody. Instead, El Paso County Sheriff Elder placed an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold on him and continued to detain him for four months.

Cisneros later sued Elder alleging that his continued detainment constituted false imprisonment. Elder moved to dismiss the complaint under CRCP 12(b)(1), asserting that he was immune from liability under the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA). The district court concluded that any immunity had been waived because Cisneros’s alleged injury occurred during Elder’s operation of a jail, and it denied the motion.

On appeal, Elder contended that the district court erred by concluding that the CGIA’s waiver of governmental immunity for the operation of a jail applied to injuries caused by intentional torts. Immunity is waived in actions for injuries resulting from a public entity’s or employee’s operation of a jail or correctional facility when the injury is due to negligence. However, CRS § 24-10-106(1.5)(b) does not waive immunity for injuries caused by intentional torts. Here, Cisneros’s sole claim is for false imprisonment, which asserts only intentional conduct. Therefore, the district court erred.

The order denying Elder’s motion to dismiss was reversed and the case was remanded for dismissal of Cisneros’s complaint with prejudice.

Official Colorado Court of Appeals proceedings can be found at the Colorado Court of Appeals website.

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