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Phillip E. Jaros v. Gladyse Taylor

June 13, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gilbert District Judge:


Plaintiff was at all times relevant to this action housed in the Vandalia Correctional Center. Plaintiff brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides, in pertinent part:

(a) Screening.-- The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.

(b) Grounds for Dismissal.-- On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint--

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or

(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds that the claims in the complaint may be dismissed at this point in the litigation.


The following version of the facts of this case is gleaned from Plaintiff's complaint (Doc. 1). Plaintiff suffers from a number of health conditions, including: advanced osteoarthritis, avascular necrosis, hip problems, degenerative vertebral issues, interameduliory rod and screw traverse on right knee, a shorter right leg, and tendinitis in his left foot. These issues cause Plaintiff pain and discomfort, and he cannot stand for more than 10 minutes nor sit for longer than 20 minutes due to the pain. Plaintiff was sentenced to a two-year stay in custody for driving while his license was suspended. After entering Vandalia, Plaintiff was provided a metal cane, a low bunk permit, a slow walk permit, and a soft-sole shoes permit, as well as pain relievers prescribed by a prison doctor.

On May 12, 2010, two days after arriving at Vandalia, Plaintiff met with Defendant Harter about his disabilities. Plaintiff informed Defendant Harter, a counselor, that he needed hand rails in the shower and toilet areas, as well as throughout the institution so that he could stop and rest while he walked. Defendant Harter told Plaintiff that Vandalia is not an Americans with Disabilities (A.D.A.) facility, and that he would "just have to deal with it." Plaintiff then asked Defendant Harter to put in a request for Plaintiff's transfer to an A.D.A. facility, but was told that Vandalia did not provide medical transfers, and that he would have to request a normal transfer. Plaintiff attempted to request this transfer, but was told that he could not submit a request until he has been at Vandalia for at least 6 months and needed at least a year left on his sentence, and that based on the length of his sentence, he did not have enough time left to request a transfer.

On May 18, 2010, Plaintiff filed an emergency grievance with Defendant Meek, complaining that he was unable to shower because the area lacked handrails, and that he had difficulty raising and lowering himself to the toilet, which also lacked hand rails. The next day, Defendant Meek, the former warden of Vandalia, declared the grievance a non-emergency. Plaintiff thereafter submitted the grievance as a non-emergency, which was answered by Defendant Schultze. Defendant Schultze denied the grievance, again stating that Vandalia is not an A.D.A. facility. Plaintiff wrote a letter to Defendant Funk, the transfer coordinator, on June 15, 2010. Plaintiff requested transfer to an A.D.A. facility, or placement in the electronic monitoring program. Both of these requests were denied.

On August 17, 2010, Plaintiff asked the prison doctor whether he had any objections to Plaintiff participating in the work release program. The doctor informed Plaintiff that as long as he took his medication, there shouldn't be a problem. On September 7, 2010, Plaintiff submitted a request to be considered for the work release program. Defendant Harter responded by informing Plaintiff that he had a medical hold, and that his application was thus rejected. Upon learning of the hold, Plaintiff spoke to Defendant Halford, the nurse who had placed the hold. Defendant Halford informed Plaintiff that the hold was in place because Plaintiff used a cane, and it would remain as long as Plaintiff continued to use a cane. Plaintiff then made a formal complaint to the U.S. Attorney, alleging violations of the A.D.A. Plaintiff filed a grievance on September 9, which was initially responded to by Defendant Harter, who informed Plaintiff that he did not meet the criteria for work release because of his condition. Defendant Schultze responded on October 6, 2010, stating that Plaintiff has no right to the work release program, and that there was no evidence of discrimination. Defendant Dozier, the current warden, concurred with the decision. On September 20, 2010, Plaintiff spoke to Defendant Magnus, the health care unit administrator. Plaintiff requested that the hold be lifted, but this request was again denied.

On October 14, 2010, Plaintiff met with a doctor, who told Plaintiff that he did not see a problem with Plaintiff participating in the work release program, as long as Plaintiff was taking his medication. The doctor made a note of this opinion in Plaintiff's file. The same day, the medical director wrote in Plaintiff's medical record that ...

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