United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
KENNETH B. FARRIS, JR., Plaintiff,
SUSAN KURR, HEATHER CARPENTER WAMPLER, PHIL MARTIN, RANDY GROUNDS, ILLINOIS DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS, and WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Kenneth Farris, a former inmate in the custody of the
Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”),
brings this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that his constitutional rights were violated while
he was incarcerated at Robinson Correctional Center
(“Robinson”). Specifically, Farris alleges he has
permanent paralysis in his right arm and right leg and, as a
result, is confined to a wheelchair and requires assistance
to perform activities of daily living. He contends that while
at Robinson, he was not provided with an assistant or
otherwise accommodated in order to perform his activities of
brings this action against IDOC, Robinson Warden Randy
Grounds, Health Care Administrator and ADA Coordinator Phil
Martin, Health Care Administrator and ADA Coordinator Susan
Kerr, Director of Nursing Heather Carpenter Wampler, and
Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”). He is
proceeding on the following claims asserted in his First
Amended Complaint (Doc. 39):
Count One: Violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
against the IDOC. Count Two: Violation of the Rehabilitation
Act against the IDOC.
Count Three: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim
against Wexford, Kerr, Wampler, Martin, and Grounds.
Count Four: Eighth Amendment unconstitutional conditions of
confinement claim against Wexford, Kerr, Wampler, Martin, and
case is now before the Court on the Motions for Summary
Judgment filed by Defendants Wampler and Wexford (Doc. 93),
Defendants Grounds, IDOC, Kerr, and Martin (Doc. 98), and
Plaintiff (Docs. 99 and 101). Responses have been filed
(Docs. 104, 109-110). For the following reasons, Defendants
Wampler and Wexford's motion is GRANTED
IN PART AND DENIED IN PART,
Defendants Grounds, IDOC, Kerr, and Martin's motion is
GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART, and
Plaintiff's motions are DENIED.
2009, Kenneth Farris suffered a stroke that caused the
permanent paralysis of his right arm and right leg
(Deposition of Kenneth Farris, Doc. 94-1 at 4, 17). As a
result of his paralysis, Farris is confined to a wheelchair
(Id. at 4).
was incarcerated at Robinson from March 2015 to November 2015
(Id.). On March 28, 2015, Dr. Vipin Shah examined
him and ordered the following: (1) a low bunk permit; (2)
that Farris be medically unassigned (not be required to
work); (3) a key lock rather than a combination lock; and (4)
that Farris receive a wheelchair pusher or assistant for his
activities of daily living (“ADLs”) - all for six
months (Deposition of Dr. Vipin Shah, Doc. 94-6 at 9;
see Doc. 98-3 at 3 and Doc. 98-5).
received a low bunk and a key lock, and was medically
unassigned while he was at Robinson, but he was never
assigned a wheelchair pusher or assistant (hereinafter
referred to as an ADA attendant) (Doc. 94-1 at 6). Farris had
previously been assigned an ADA attendant at another facility
and the attendant helped Farris dress and transfer to the
shower, and also pushed him to chow and retrieved his tray
(Id. at 12-13). Because he did not have an attendant
at Robinson, Farris had difficulty fastening his diapers,
transferring from his bed to his chair, dressing, and
otherwise managing his activities of daily living
(Id. at 4, 17-18; see Doc. 103-9 at 2).
Farris was able to transfer to the toilet in his dormitory
which was ADA accessible, so long as he was already in his
chair (Doc. 94-1 at 5-6, 18).
about a week of his arrival at Robinson, Farris spoke with
Health Care Administrator and ADA Coordinator Susan Kerr
about the fact that he did not receive an ADA attendant
(Id. at 13). He had approximately five conversations
with Kerr about getting an attendant, but she always just
responded that she was “working on it”
(Id. at 14). Farris also submitted kites to Kerr,
but they were either ignored or met with the same response
(Id. at 7).
April 15, 2015, Farris submitted a grievance to his
counselor, explaining that he is paralyzed on one side of his
body and is unable to transfer alone or change his diapers
(Doc. 103-9 at 2). After Farris' counselor responded to
the grievance, it was reviewed by the grievance officer who
interviewed Kerr (Id. at 2-3). According to the
grievance officer's written response, Kerr stated that
“ADA requirements are met throughout the
facility” and she recommended that Farris change his
diapers in the health care unit during medical line for more
privacy (Id. at 3). The grievance officer ultimately
recommended denial of Farris' grievance and Warden Randy
Grounds concurred with the decision (Id.). Farris
submitted another grievance concerning his issues on April
30, 2015, which was met with the same response by Kerr (Doc.
103-10). The grievance officer recommended that the April 30,
2015 grievance also be denied, and Warden Grounds concurred
also submitted kites and spoke to Director of Nursing Heather
Carpenter Wampler about not receiving an ADA attendant (Doc.
94-1 at 7). Wampler told Farris to get a friend to help him
(Id. at 8). An April 27, 2015 grievance
officer's report responding to one of Farris'
grievances concerning the attendant issue indicates that
Wampler was contacted regarding the same and remarked that
there was no indication that Farris was to receive an
attendant, and that he should write to Susan
(Doc. 103-20). Farris submitted another grievance on July 12,
2015, explaining that he is unable to care for himself and
that Robinson is not ADA accessible for his needs (Doc.
103-11). The counselor's response cites the
“DON” (Wampler), who indicated that Farris was
housed in a dorm that is ADA/wheelchair accessible and that
placement in the health care unit requires a medical order
(Doc. 103-16 at 15; Doc. 103-11).
to IDOC Administrative Directive 04.03.101, offenders with a
known disability “shall be referred to the Facility
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator for
assessment of needed accommodations for access to programs
and services” (Deposition of Susan Kerr, Doc. 94-2 at
11; Doc. 103-4 at 4). However, the Medical Director is
responsible for determining if an inmate is disabled pursuant
to the ADA at Robinson (Doc. 94-2 at 14). If the Medical
Director orders that an inmate receive an ADA attendant, then
IDOC is responsible for implementing the order (Deposition of
Dr. Roderick Matticks, Doc. 94-4 at 9).
Farris' time at Robinson, disabled inmates were not
always assigned an attendant. Instead, inmates were allowed
to ask one of the other one hundred inmates on their wing to
help them with their wheelchair (Deposition of Corporate
Representative for the IDOC, Doc. 94-5 at 13). If an inmate
was assigned to be an ADA attendant, such assignment would be
made through the Placement Office (Doc. 94-5 at 9, 17).
judgment is appropriate only if the moving party can
demonstrate “that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322(1986); see also
Ruffin- Thompkins v. Experian Information Solutions,
Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). The moving
party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the lack of
any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477
U.S. at 323. Once a properly supported motion for summary
judgment is made, the adverse party “must set forth
specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for
trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 250 (1986).
genuine issue of material fact exists when “the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Estate of Simpson
v. Gorbett, 863 F.3d 740, 745 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). In considering a summary
judgment motion, the district court views the facts in the
light most favorable to, and draws all reasonable inferences
in favor of, the nonmoving party. Apex Digital, Inc. v.
Sears, Roebuck & Co., 735 F.3d 962, 965 (7th Cir.
2013) (citation omitted).