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Washington DOC Agrees to Pay $15,500 to Paraplegic Prisoner for Disability-Based Discrimination

On January 27, 2006, the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) agreed to pay $15,500 to a paraplegic prisoner who received inadequate medical care and was discriminated against because of his disability.

John Chauers, a DOC prisoner serving a life sentence, sued the DOC under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Rehabilitation Act (RA) and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. While a prisoner at Washington State Prison (WSP), Chauers was denied the use of an elevator to access educational seminars by guards. Chauers is confined to a wheelchair.

Chauers was also forced to expose himself unnecessarily to his cellmates while taking care of special medical needs. Chauers had sought to be transferred to a one-man cell, but DOC staff denied the request.

Chauers developed sores on his penis that were not adequately treated by medical staff as well. Finally, Chauers was harassed and retaliated against by DOC guards after winning a grievance that reinstated him to a former job that he had been denied because of his disability.

With the assistance of Kenneth Isserlis of Spokane, Washington, Chauers obtained a settlement that required the DOC to pay Chauers $15,500 and $10,000 to Chauers’ attorney. The DOC also agreed to move Chauers to a one-man cell. See: Chauers v. Washington State Department of Corrections, No. CV-04-0234-MWL (E.D. Wa. 2004).

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Related legal case

Chauers v. Washington State Department of Corrections