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Disabled Kansas Prisoners Forced Labor Claim Dismissed

The plaintiff, who had had heart bypass surgery and was on medical restrictions, was ordered to sand baseboard. He complained and the doctor said it was all right. He did the work, reported chest pains, and was taken to the clinic where nothing was found wrong. His minimum security status was revoked, allegedly because he refused to work and to keep him close to medical facilities and personnel. After further chest pains his medical classification was changed to a non-working status.

Changes in medical classification that left the plaintiff in general population, albeit in maximum security, were not atypical and significant under Sandin. Inability to participate in a prison work program is not atypical and significant.

A defendant's direction to the plaintiff to do work arguably inconsistent with his medical condition did not violate the Eighth Amendment absent evidence that the plaintiff suffered serious harm and given that he checked with the doctor before ordering him to do the work. The doctor's authorization of the work was not deliberately indifferent; it was negligent at most.

Waiting 15 minutes before summoning medical assistance when the plaintiff complained of chest pains did not violate the Eighth Amendment, since there was no indication he was injured as a result.

Defendants were entitled to summary judgment on the equal protection claim that a white inmate in a wheelchair was permitted to work but the black plaintiff was not, since there was no evidence that they were similarly situated in their medical conditions. See: Collins v. Hannigan, 14 F.Supp.2d 1239 (D.Kan. 1998).

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Related legal case

Collins v. Hannigan