United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is now before the Court for preliminary review of the
First Amended Complaint filed by Plaintiff Michael Jett, by
and through recruited counsel, on August 23, 2017. (Doc. 12).
Plaintiff is incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center
(“Lawrence”). He brings this action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act,
42 U.S.C. § 12132, and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C.
§§ 794-94e. (Doc. 12, p. 2). Plaintiff suffers from
severe dyslexia and claims that he has been denied access to
programs, services, and activities at Lawrence because of his
disability. (Doc. 12, pp. 2-3). He seeks declaratory
judgment, monetary damages, and injunctive relief. (Doc. 12,
First Amended Complaint is now subject to preliminary review
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:
(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
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). Frivolousness is an
objective standard that refers to a claim that any reasonable
person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209
F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). 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). The claim of
entitlement to relief must cross “the line between
possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557. The
First Amended Complaint survives screening under this
to the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff is unable to read
or write. (Doc. 12, p. 8). He was diagnosed with severe
dyslexia on or around November 15, 1999. Id. He
allegedly qualifies for services through the Illinois Office
of Rehabilitation Services. Id. Plaintiff claims
that he is also a “qualified individual with a
disability” under Title II of the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and § 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act (“RA”). Id.
arrived at Lawrence Correctional Center on April 10, 2013,
Plaintiff notified Doctor Coe and Nursing Director Cunningham
of his diagnosis, and he requested a reasonable accommodation
in the form of an ADA attendant to help him read and write.
(Doc. 12, p. 8). He allegedly provided documentation of his
disability to Doctor Coe, Nursing Director Cunningham,
Assistant Warden Brookhart, and, eventually, Transfer
Coordinators Funk and Patterson. (Doc. 12, p. 20). No
attendant was provided, so he filed a grievance seeking one.
(Doc. 12, p. 8).
was not issued an ADA permit authorizing an ADA attendant
until April 14, 2014, more than a year after he first
requested one. (Doc. 12, pp. 8-9). He was initially assigned
one or more attendants, but he claims that they were not
properly trained to assist an individual with dyslexia and
were therefore unqualified to serve as his ADA attendant.
February 22, 2016, Plaintiff spoke about the issue with Dee
Dee Brookhart, the Assistant Warden of Programs and ADA
Coordinator at Lawrence. (Doc. 12, p. 9). He complained about
the denial of a properly trained ADA attendant. Id.
The following day, Brookhart informed Plaintiff that
“placement had been notified of [his] need for an ADA
receiving a new assignment, Doctor Coe and Nurse Cunningham
made the decision to cancel Plaintiff's ADA permit on
June 7, 2016. (Doc. 12, p. 9). Plaintiff asked Brookhart to
reinstate it. Id. Pursuant to his request, the
permit was reinstated on December 21, 2016. Id. Even
so, no ADA attendant was assigned to him. Id.
filed numerous grievances to complain about the denial of an
ADA attendant and the failure to accommodate his disability.
(Doc. 12, pp. 10, 23-24). He also filed written requests with
Transfer Coordinators Funk and Patterson for a transfer to
Robinson Correctional Center or Taylorville Correctional
Center, two facilities that allegedly could accommodate his
needs. Id. His complaints were ignored or denied.
Id. Copies of these grievances were not provided
with the First Amended Complaint. (Doc. 12).
now claims that his rights have been violated under the ADA,
RA, Eighth Amendment, and Fourteenth Amendment. (Doc. 12, pp.
5-8). In the First Amended Complaint, he lists approximately
two dozen policies, practices, or procedures at Lawrence that
violate his rights under the ADA and more than a dozen that
violate his rights under the RA. (Doc. 12, pp. 15-20). All
stem from the denial of an ADA attendant or auxiliary aids
and services to assist him with reading, writing, and
denial of these accommodations occurred in “critical
situations” such as TABE testing, medical and mental
health appointments, disciplinary hearings, classification
reviews, religious services, educational programs, and court
hearings. (Doc. 12, p. 5). Plaintiff complains that he has
been unable to effectively communicate with his friends and
loved ones. (Doc. 12, pp. 6-7). He has not been alerted to
critical prison communications about head counts, meal times,
medical and legal call-outs, recreation time, etc.
Id. He has also been excluded from educational,
employment, and other programs. (Doc. 12, pp. 7-8). Plaintiff
seeks declaratory judgment, monetary damages, and injunctive
relief. (Doc. 12, pp. 27-28).
facilitate the orderly management of future proceedings in
this case, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure 8(e) and 10(b), the Court deems it
appropriate to organize the claims in the First Amended
Complaint into the following enumerated counts:
Count 1 - Defendants failed to accommodate
Plaintiff's dyslexia in violation of Title II of the
Americans with Disabilities Act. (Doc. 12, pp. 13-17)