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Center for Public Representation Re List of Cases Prisoners W Mobility Impairments Feb 1 2001

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Annotated List of Cases Involving Prisoners With Mobility Impairments
Prepared by
Center for Public Representation
February 1, 2001
Armstrong v. Davis, 2000 WL 369622 (April 11, 2000)(9th Cir.). This was a class action
brought under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act focusing on prisoners and parolees with
mobility and other impairments. Most issues were resolved by settlement agreement, but
in a dispute over remaining issues, the court applied the "reasonableness" standard
established by the Supreme Court in Turner v. Saffley, overruling the district court decision
that prison officials had to show that accomodating inmates' disabilities would be unduly
burdensome. Rather, the inmates must establish that the challenged practices are not
reasonably related to a legitimate penological interest.
Becker v. Armenakis, 208 F.3d 220, 2000 WL 184993 (9th Cir.)(Unpublished). The court
affirmed summary judgment in favor of prison officials on claims brought by an inmate
under the ADA and Eighth Amendment for denying him a functional prosthesis. Court
stated that taking prosthesis for security purposes while plaintiff was in segregation did not
violate the ADA because it was not done with discriminatory intent.
Beckford v. Irvin, 49 F.Supp.2d 170, (W.D. N.Y. 1999). The court awarded compensatory
damages of $125K and punitive damages totalling $25K to a prisoner whose wheelchair
was taken from him, and who was placed in segregation and denied showers and
recreation for approximately one month. In a subsequent opinion, 60 F.Supp.2d 85, the
court also ordered defendants to pay about $50K in attorneys' fees.
Beckford v. Portuendo, 234 F.3d 128 (2d Cir. 2000). Wheelchair bound inmate did not fail
to state claim under the Eighth Amendment and ADA by alleging that prison staff deprived
him of water for more than a week and outdoor recreation for six months.
Berthelot v. Stadler, 2000 WL 15682224 (E.D.La). While incarcerated, plaintiff had his leg
amputated and alleged that jail failed to provide him with prosthesis. Court held that neither
the ADA or Rehabilitation Act can support an action against prison staff in their individual
capacities, but held that the suit could go forward against them in their official capacities.
Bradley v. Puckett, 157 F.3d 1022 (5th Cir. 1998). Disabled inmate who wore leg brace
and was unable to shower without shower chair was placed in lockdown cell for disciplinary
reasons. There, he was unable to shower or bathe himself except using toilet water. As a
result, he developed a fungal infection and blisters. The court held that inmate stated a
claim under the Eighth Amendment, rejecting the argument that prison officials took timely
action to accommodate his disability after they became aware of the infection.
Brady v. Griffith, 1998 WL 814630 (S.D.N.Y.). Prisoner alleged that prison hospital
administrator's decision to deny her a wheelchair to transport her to infirmary prevented her
from receiving treatment for her diabetes, arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. Court denied
defendant's motion for summary judgment on Eighth Amendment claim because evidence
suggested she was aware of plaintiff's difficulty ambulating, had countermanded
orthopedist's order for wheelchair, and was aware that plaintiff had missed medication
because trip to infirmary was too difficult without a wheelchair.
Candelaria v. Coughlin, 1994 WL 119146 (S.D.N.Y. April 4, 1994). The court stated in dicta
that paraplegic inmate had a potentially legitimate claim under the ADA where prison

officials replaced his wheelchair with one that was inadequate and unsafe.
Casey v. Lewis, 834 F.Supp 1569 (D.Az.1993). The court ruled that the failure to
provide accessible bathrooms, showers, and cells to mobility impaired inmates
violated the Eighth Amendment. It held that plaintiffs had not established violations of the
Rehabilitation Act because they had failed to identify particular programs from which any of
the mobility impaired inmates were excluded because of their disabilities.
Crowder v. True, 1993 WL 532455 (N.D.Ill.1993), aff'd other grounds, 74 F.3d 812 (7th Cir.
1995). Plaintiff was a paraplegic who alleged that his rights under the ADA were violated
when he was deprived of his wheelchair in a segregation unit. The court ruled that the ADA
does not apply to federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Further,
plaintiff's claims under the Rehabilitation Act were dismissed for failure to exhaust
administrative remedies. The court also held that allegation that jailers denied the inmate a
wheelchair because it did not fit through the cell doors was not sufficient to raise inference
of deliberate indifference to medical needs that is necessary to violate the Eighth
Cummings v. Roberts, 628 F.2d 1065 (8th Cir.1980). Inmate was bedridden due to a back
injury. His allegations that defendants refused to give him help he needed to clean his
person and also refused to give him a wheelchair for three days, thus forcing him to crawl
on the floor, were sufficient to state a claim of cruel and unusual punishment in violation of
the Eighth Amendment.
Donald v. Wilson, 847 F.2d 1191 (6th Cir. 1988). Upon arrival at Jail, prisoner whose leg
had been amputated below the knee had his prosthesis taken from him as a security
measure in conformity with jail policy; he was issued crutches instead. Court ruled that
because a doctor testified that prosthesis was not medically necessary in the jail because
prisoners can't move around very much, and because plaintiff had used the prosthesis in
the past to smuggle contraband and as a weapon, taking the prosthesis was reasonable
and thus did not violate the Eighth Amendment.
Evans v. Dugger, 908 F.2d 801 (11th Cir. 1990). The court affirmed jury verdict against
paraplegic inmate who alleged that in accordance with policies in force at maximum
security institution, prison authorities confiscated his braces, crutches, orthopedic shoes
and other personal items. To satisfy his need for mobility, the officials issued the inmate a
wheelchair. He was housed in an otherwise empty eight-person medical ward in prison
clinic which was sparsely equipped for a prisoner in his physical condition. Both the toilet
area and the shower space lacked adequate support rails and safety bars. Narrow
openings and small steps impeded his access to the shower. Neither outdoor recreation, a
gymnasium nor physical therapy was accessible to him. As a result of these deprivations,
inmate lost his ability to walk with braces and crutches and requires the constant use of a
Fennell v. Simmons, 951 F.Supp. 706 (N.D.Ohio 1997), 1998 WL 552830 (6th Cir.(Ohio).
Plaintiff with paraplegia was confined to a wheelchair and alleged that conditions in the
county jail violated the ADA. No qualified immunity available where defendants are sued in
their official capacities.
Ford v. Frame, 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9086 (E.D.Pa. 1994). Plaintiff challenged on
constitutional grounds a jail policy that restricted inmates who use wheelchairs to either the
infirmary or maximum security. The plaintiff was therefore denied access to such things as
the canteen, visitation, exercise, law library, religious services, and visitation made
available to other inmates who were not a security risk. The court upheld the jail's policy on
grounds that a wheelchair could be used as a weapon and the inmate might be trapped in

an emergency. However, the court said it could see no reason why the inmate's desire to
attend religious services could not be accommodated.
Frost v. Agnos, 152 F.3d 1124 (9th Cir.1998). Sheriff's failure to provide handicap
accessible shower accommodations to a pre-trial detainee in a full leg cast on crutches
presented a triable issue of fact regarding plaintiff's claim under section 1983.
Garcia v. Marshall, 5 F.3d 536, 1993 WL 321613 (9th Cir.) (Unpublished). Without
describing the facts, court concludes that the restriction of inmate's use of wheelchair and
knee brace for security reasons does not constitute deliberate indifference to serious
medical need in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Gorman v. Bartch, 152 F.3d 907 (8th Cir. 1998). Arrestee who used wheelchair brought
action for damages under Rehabilitation Act and ADA for injuries received when being
transported in police van that was not equipped with wheelchair restraints. The court held
that arrestee's allegations fell within framework of both ADA provisions regarding public
services and the Rehabilitation Act.
Gleish v. Hardiman, 1993 U.S. Dist. Lexis 3809 (N.D. Ill. 1993). Inmate with knee injury
was unable to walk without bracing himself against wall or furniture. The court denied
motion for summary judgment of prison guard who allegedly repeatedly ordered that the
prisoner's cane and crutches be taken away, thus denying him prescribed medical
Grant v. Schuman, 151 F.3d 1032, 1998 WL 516784 (7th Cir.) (unpublished). Dismissing
ADA claim of mobility impaired inmate on grounds that he had not sued the state or the
department of correction, even though he had sued prison officials in their official capacity.
Hallett v. New York State Dept of Correctional Services, 109 F. Supp. 190 (S.D. N.Y.
2000). Plaintiff stated claim under ADA based on allegation that he was denied access to
special shock incarceration program because he was HIV+ amputee. Court also held that
allegations that prison officials failed to provide him with adequate wheelchair for five
months, despite receiving notification that inmate was in pain and inmate's grievances
concerning confiscation of his personal wheelchair, along with allegations that inmate
suffered severe back pain and cut to his head as a result of such failure, supported § 1983
claims against officials for failure to provide adequate medical care in violation of Eighth
Amendment. Allegations that superintendent directly refused to allow inmate's personal,
customized wheelchair to be repaired and ordered its confiscation were sufficient to satisfy
requirement, under 1983, that inmate show personal involvement of superintendent and
director in alleged unconstitutional denial of adequate medical care. Hallett was apparently
told by Green Haven officials that the metal rims and spokes of his personal wheelchair
posed a security risk. In response to the correctional facility's concerns, on March 16,
1998, Hallett requested that Green Haven nurse authorize the purchase of plastic parts that
would conform to security standards. She refused to authorize the replacement parts but
did not confiscate Hallett's wheelchair. Def. Artuz then confiscated Hallett's wheelchair,
providing him instead with a "standard-issue" DOCS wheelchair that had neither a fixed
frame nor movable foot and arm rests.
Harrelson v. City of Millbrook, 859 F.Supp. 1465 (M.D. Ala. 1994). Paraplegic inmate
brought action against jail for depriving him of his wheelchair and not providing a handicap
accessible bathroom. The court held that plaintiff stated a claim under Title II of the ADA,

but that punitive damages are not available under the ADA.
Hicks v. Frey, 992 F.2d 1450 (6th Cir. 1993). Upholding damage award to inmate who was
completely dependent upon a wheelchair for any mobility. Yet he was placed in a cell too
small to accommodate his wheelchair, and thus for about three months was confined to a
bunk with no opportunity to move about or exercise his injured limbs. Further, he had
problems controlling urination and bowel movements, yet had no access to a shower while
in the isolation cell.
Hughes v. Joliet Correctional Center, 931 F.2d 425, 428 (7th Cir.1991). Court reversed the
dismissal of a prisoner's complaint where he alleged that prison officials had denied him
access to his crutches and leg brace forcing him to walk without them in order to get to the
toilet .
Johnson v. Hardin County, Ky., 908 F.2d 1280, 1283-84 (6th Cir.1990) (Eighth Amendment
claim based in part on jailers' refusal to provide inmate crutches prescribed by doctor;
jailers instead told plaintiff to stay off his feet as much as possible)
Jones v. St. Tamany Parish Jail, (1999 WL 219769 (E.D.La.)). (Denying summary judgment
to Sheriff who denied prisoner a wheel chair. Factual issues in dispute included (1)
whether the wheelchair was denied due to a medical decision or the Sheriff's failure to
maintain an adequate supply to accommodate disabled detainees; and (2) whether
provision of a wheelchair requires a medical prescription.
Journey v. Vitek, 685 F.2d 239, 242 (8th Cir.1982). Applying the Rehabilitation Act, the
Court of Appeals affirmed the findings of the District Court that a paraplegic prisoner
confined to wheelchair had not been excluded from participation in educational,
rehabilitative, recreational and employment programs because "prison personnel have
afforded (Journey) access to the activities in which he had interest, nearly as often as he
wanted to participate."
Kaufman v. Carter, 952 F.Supp. 520, (W.D.Mich. 1996). Plaintiff was a bilateral amputee
who used a wheelchair and, on occasion, walked with the aid of prostheses. He alleged
violations of the ADA and Rehabilitation Act based on inaccessible showers, toilets, and
other necessities in the Kalamazoo County Jail. Specifically, the shower was too narrow to
accommodate his wheelchair. Also, because it lacked handrails and non-slip flooring
materials, he faced great difficulty in transferring himself from his wheelchair to the shower
bench. He claims that this arrangement caused him to fall at one point while attempting to
use the shower. As a result, he was taken by ambulance to a local emergency room and
diagnosed as having pulled a back muscle. Plaintiff further claims he was unable to
maintain proper hygiene due to his difficulties with the shower, and was harassed by
cellmates due to his odor. Plaintiff also asserts that the toilet in Sick Bay No. 3 was
inaccessible to him because it lacked both handrails and a seat, and was set into a narrow
stall into which he could not maneuver his wheelchair. He claims that on occasion he
either fell to the floor while attempting to transfer between his wheelchair and the toilet, or
fell directly into the toilet water, which required his cellmates to pull him out of the bowl.
These events, he asserts, left him bruised and humiliated. He claims that the cell's
drinking fountain and sink were inaccessible to him, and that their design once caused him
to fall while attempting to get a drink of water. He also claims that he could not reach the
telephone without assistance from fellow inmates. Plaintiff alleges that he informed
defendant nurses of each of these inadequacies, to no avail.

The court discussed the applicability of the ADA and Rehabilitation Act in great
detail, rejecting the defendants, contention that the statutes are not applicable to prisons
and jails, Based on the plain language of the statutes, the Department of Justice
regulations, and precedential case law, the court also rejected the defendants' claim that
they were entitled to qualified immunity because the law was not clearly established.
LaFaut v. Smith, 834 F.2d 389, 392-94 (4th Cir.1987) (knowing failure to provide adequate
toilet facilities to prisoner who used a wheelchair violated Eighth Amendment).
Lawson v. Dallas County, 112 F. Supp.2d 616 (N.D. Tex. 2000). Jail inmate who had
paraplegia developed decubitus ulcers because jail's policies and practices prevented him
from receiving adequate care in violation of his right to be free of cruel and unusual
punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Although nurse warned Sheriff's Department
that plaintiff needed to be in a hospital setting, her warnings were disregarded. He was
given inadequate bedding, medications were denied, he received no assistance in cleaning
himself, did not see a doctor for weeks, and nursing staff failed to change dressing. As a
result of all this, the inmate ultimately required multiple surgeries with little potential for full
Layne v. Superintendent, Massachusetts Correctional Institution, Cedar Junction, 406
Mass. 156, 159 (1989). Prisoner who used wheelchair entitled to access to law library
under state constitutional provision protecting persons with disabilities.
Love v. Westville Correctional Center, 103 F.3d 558 (7th Cir. 1996). The court affirmed a
jury award of approximately $30,000 to a quadriplegic prisoner who was denied access to
programs and services in the Indiana State Prison. Love was housed in Westville's
infirmary unit. This meant, among other things, that he was unable to use the prison's
recreational facilities, its dining hall, the visitation facilities that were open to the general
inmate population, and that he was unable to participate in substance abuse, education,
church, work, or transition programs available to members of the general inmate
In addition, his access to the law library, the regular library, and the
commissary was limited. Court gave several other examples of discrimination, Sunday
church services were not available in Love's unit, A2-South, but such services were offered
in the main quarters of the prison. Love was denied access to a group substance abuse
program because none was available for A2-South, even though the program was available
in the main quarters, Love's counselor had recommended he attend it, and he had asked to
participate. College classes were also only available in the main quarters, not in A2-South.
Love offers a host of other examples, but these suffice to show that he was denied access
to a variety of programs available at Westville.
Maclin v. Freake, 650 F.2d 885 (7th Cir.1981). Paraplegic inmate who received no physical
therapy for an 11 month period stated a claim under the Eighth Amendment.
Martinez v. California Department of Correction, 1997 WL 207946 (9th Cir.(Cal.))
(unpublished disposition). Quadraplegic prisoner was restricted by prison authorities to the
hospital area of the prison. He sued under the ADA seeking access to the prison's general
yard, classroom education, and vocational training programs on the same terms as other
similarly classified inmates. The court affirmed the district court decision granting summary
judgment to the prison officials. Citing Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89 (1987), the court
held that the restrictions were reasonably related to legitimate penological interests in
security in that the plaintiff conceded that he could not defend himself from attack by other

inmates. Judge Wiggins dissented stating that it is not rational to prevent misconduct by
punishing the potential victim rather than those who misbehave.
Mills v. Lee, 2000 WL 972841 (10th Cir. July 14, 2000). Disabled father of prisoner was
denied use of his wheelchair and not provided prison wheelchair when he visited his son in
federal prison. Court held this was at best a tort case. Sovereign immunity protected
Federal Govt from damages under Rehab. Act.
Miller v. Tanner, 196 F.3d 1190 (11th Cir. 1999). Prisoner alleged that prison staff were
indifferent to his medical needs as a paraplegic with a neurogenic bladder. Instead of
treating him, they housed him in an unaccommodated unit, left him on the concrete floor of
his cell, allowed him to become covered in feces and urine, denied him the use of a
wheelchair or leg braces, and denied him physical therapy. Court of Appeals reversed
district court's dismissal, holding that prisoner had complied with the Prison Litigation
Reform Act requirement that he exhaust administrative remedies.
Moore v. Farrier, 984 F.2d 269 (8th Cir. 1993). Prison need not provide wheelchair bound
inmates same cable TV access as other inmates.
Moore v. Prison Mental Health Service, 24 F.Supp.2d 1164 (D. Kans. 1998). The court
dismissed the complaint of prisoner who was unable to participate in programs or enjoy
other benefits because prison had provided him with a poor quality wheelchair. Further,
fact that prisoner was issued older wheelchairs which later broke, causing him to fall or cut
himself, did not violate Eighth Amendment, ADA, or Rehabilitation Act. Court reasoned that
this was a claim that concerning inadequate medical care, which is not covered by the
ADA. The decision was affirmed by the 10th Circuit, which held that ADA affords disabled
persons legal rights regarding access to programs and activities enjoyed by all, not a
general federal cause of action for challenging the medical treatment of their underlying
disabilities, 201 F.3d 448, 1999 WL 1079848 (10th Cir.(Kan.)))(unpublished).
Nelson v. Norris, 2001 WL 21250 (8th Cir.). Prisoner, a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair,
claimed defendants--all prison officials--violated his rights by (1) confiscating his shower
wheelchair; (2) failing to develop and implement an exercise program with proper
equipment for his needs; and (3) maintaining a facility that was not compliant with ADA
regulations because it lacked shower safety devices, and its dining and gaming tables,
chapel, and recreation yard had accessibility problems. Court held that prisoner failed to
state a claim under the Eighth Amendment because inmate failed to show that defendants
denied him minimal life necessities, or that they were deliberately indifferent to his health or
safety. The court also refused to permit the prisoner to amend complaint to add
institutional defendants because of the 11th Amendment.
Newman v. Alabama, 349 F.Supp. 278 (M.D. Ala. 1972), aff'd 503 F.2d 1320 (5th Cir.
1974). Unreasonable to delay one year in providing inmates with prosthetic devices.
Noland v. Wheatley, 835 F. Supp 476 (N.D. Ind. 1993). Inmate confined to wheelchair who
used both colostomy and urostomy bag, alleged that he was denied access to sufficient
water to clean himself and was denied care necessary to prevent pressure sores from
forming. The court dismissed Rehabilitation Act claim for failure to allege that the jail
received federal funds. However, it held that plaintiff had stated a claim under the ADA,
rejecting the argument that he was required to exhaust administrative remedies.


Owen v. Chester County, 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 710 (D.Pa.). Just prior to his
incarceration, plaintiff had surgery requiring angioplasty. Prison staff denied him crutches
within the cell block for "security reasons," although prisoners on other blocks were allowed
crutches. As a result, he suffered severe pain, and also was unable to use the phone, the
library, the dining area, or to participate in other activities. His condition ultimately
deteriorated and his leg eventually had to be amputated. The court dismissed the claim
under the Eighth Amendment on grounds that there was no allegation that the crutches had
been prescribed by a doctor or that they were essential to his treatment. Although
condoning the jail's storing the crutches for security reasons, the court allowed the ADA
claim to go forward because there was a factual dispute as to whether the jail gave the
prisoner his crutches back when he needed to leave the cell block. The court stated that it
would be "unreasonable" to make the jail accommodate all of the prisoner's request for his
crutches, but his requests could not be denied by officers simply saying "tough luck."
Parkinson v. Goord, 116 F. Supp. 2d (W.D. NY 2000) - Inmate who was missing a leg
claimed prison officials had failed to provide him with a prosthesis and denied him
accessible toilet and shower, and that he fell several times as a result of having to move
around the facility with crutches. The court dismissed plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim
because he had not exhausted prison remedies as required by the PLRA, but went on to
say that there was no Eighth Amendment violation any way because defendants had
transported him on several occasions to be fitted for a prosthesis and eventually provided
him with one. The court stated that the prisoner had elected not to accept housing in the
infirmary where he would not have had to travel distances or up and down stairs. Finally, it
dismissed the ADA claim on grounds that individuals are not liable under the ADA in either
their official or individual capacity; only the state entity is a proper defendant.
Parrish v. Johnson, 800 F.2d 600, 605 (6th Cir.1986) (prison guard repeatedly assaulted
paraplegic inmates with a knife, forced them to sit in their own feces for hours, denied them
medical care, and taunted them with remarks like "you crippled bastard you should be
Purcell v. Horn 1998 WL 10236 (E.D.Pa.). Inmate with joint disease was denied a plastic
chair for use in his cell and shower. Court ruled that since he could not supply his own
chair or install grab bars in his cell or provide his own bench in the shower, then defendants
should have "accommodated" his condition by allowing him to remain in a
handicapped-accessible cell or have a chair in his cell and the shower room. Otherwise,
the regulations requiring "reasonable accommodations in policies," 28 C.F.R. § 35.130,
would have no effect at all,
Rainey v. County of Delaware, 2000 WL 1056456 (E.D.Pa.) Inmate stated claim that he
was discriminated against in violation of the ADA because as an incomplete paraplegic, he
was able to walk slowly and only with the aid of leg braces. As a result, he was denied food
and medical treatment because the defendants allowed him only a limited amount of
time--sometimes too limited--to travel to the dining room and the dispensary.
Rosales v. Coughlin, 10 F.Supp.2d 261 (W.D.N.Y. 1998). Prisoner who had back and leg
problems alleged that corrections officer repeatedly seized a cane that had been prescribed
by prison doctor and that other officers refused to do anything about it. While attempting to
walk to the shower without his cane, he collapsed and suffered a concussion and severe
back pain. Court denied summary judgment to the defendant officers on grounds that such
conduct deprives a prisoner of his constitutional right to medical care. In a subsequent

opinion, 50 F.Supp. 2d 185 (W.D.N.Y. 1999), defendants presented an affidavit from a
doctor stating that the inmate did not have a medical need to use a cane. The court ruled
that although jury might find the doctor's opinion to be persuasive, it could just as well
conclude from the evidence that the inmate was in serious pain, that it was apparent to the
officers that he needed the cane, and that they exacerbated his pain by seizing the cane.
Schmidt v. Odell, 64 F.Supp.2d 1014 (D. Kans. 1999). Former county jail inmate, a double
amputee without both legs from a point below his knees, brought civil rights action against
jail officials, asserting claims under the Eighth Amendment, the Americans with Disabilities
Act, and the Rehabilitation Act. He alleged that during his incarceration the defendants
deprived him of a wheelchair or other accommodation and forced him to crawl and pull
himself about the jail on the floor. Jail did allow him to use the prostheses that he had upon
arrival, but these became damaged and unusable. Medical personnel recommended a
wheelchair which was denied because jailers claimed the entrances and exits to the cells
are too narrow, the chair could be used to block the cell block, the other inmates would play
with the wheelchair, the wheelchair could be used to hide contraband, and the wheelchair
could be disassembled and made into a weapon. He was given kneepads instead. This
caused legs to swell making it difficult to fit new prostheses. The court pointed out that
there are no written security standards from any government agency or association of any
kind concerning the safety risks of wheelchairs in a jail. The jail has never had any written
guidelines on dealing with a prisoner in a wheelchair. because doorways too narrow. It
held that the failure to provide a wheelchair did not by itself violate the Eighth Amendment
because the jail could not accommodate wheelchairs and the jailers had "legitimate security
concerns" about placing a wheelchair in general population. Nonetheless, the ability of the
plaintiff to move himself about the jail in an appropriate manner--to use the toilet, to use the
shower, to obtain his meals, and to obtain suitable recreation and exercise--was a basic
need--part of the "minimal civilized measure of life's necessities"--that the defendants were
obligated to help provide under the Eighth Amendment. In addition, plaintiff stated claim
under the ADA.
Shakka v. Smith, 71 F.3d 162 (4th Cir. 1995). Deprivation of prisoner's wheelchair for
one-day period at direction of prison psychologist did not constitute deliberate indifference
to serious medical needs of prisoner, and (2) refusal to allow prisoner to take shower for
three days after human excrement was thrown on him did not constitute cruel and unusual
punishment as defendant was given materials to clean himself and cell. Psychologist
believed that removing all stimuli and materials that could be used in a violent manner
would quiet Shakka. In particular, he sought to prevent Shakka from disassembling his
wheelchair, as he had the plumbing fixtures, and using it to harm himself or others.
Shakka v. Smith, 28 F.3d 1210, 1994 WL 319217 (4th Cir.(Md.))) - Same inmate as above,
but different case. Here, he alleges that prison officials ordered removal of his wheelchair
to force him to "get up and walk," and that they also deliberately placed food outside his
reach. The court held that even if Shakka's paralysis was psychological, it could be a
sufficiently "serious" medical need such that denial of the wheelchair might violate the
Eighth amendment.
Shariff v. Artuz, 2000 WL 1219381 (S.D.N.Y.)) - Plaintiffs were housed in prison unit for
physically disabled. They alleged they were denied access to honor block because they
used wheelchairs and were unable to ambulate. The court denied defendants motion to
dismiss because plaintiffs were otherwise qualified for admission to the honor block but had
been denied admission because of their disabilities. It also rejected the argument of prison

officials that plaintiffs rights were governed by a consent decree which mandated prison to
establish and maintain an ADA compliant unit for physically disabled and required prison to
attempt to place all inmates in appropriate educational, vocational or job programs
consistent with the patients' medical conditions. The court held that the consent decree
was inapposite because honor block was not an educational or vocational program. But
the court also ruled there is no individual liability under the ADA.
Simmons v. Cook, 154 F.3d 805 (8th Cir. 1998). Paraplegic inmates brought § 1983 action
against corrections officials, alleging Eighth Amendment violations arising from their
placement in solitary confinement. Specifically, they were (1) were placed in solitary
confinement for thirty-two hours; (2) were denied their "egg crate" mattresses; (3) missed
four consecutive meals because their wheelchairs could not maneuver around the cell bunk
to reach the barred door where the food tray was placed; and (4) were unable to eliminate
their bodily wastes. Court upheld damage award of $2000 to each inmate.
Taylor v. Plousis, 101 F.Supp.255 (D.N.J. 2000). Prisoner who had both legs amputated
alleged that jail forced him to walk on broken prosthesis for seven months. The court
denied summary judgment motion of the doctor who was aware of the need for a new
prosthesis but who may not have made adequate efforts to obtain one. It also denied
summary judgment to the nurse and officer who allegedly deliberately delayed delivery of
plaintiff's prosthesis until he could be transferred to a state prison. The court granted
summary judgment to the Sheriff because there was no evidence that he personally knew
and disregarded the inmate's medical needs. Finally, it granted summary judgment to the
County on grounds that there was no evidence that any official with final policymaking
authority acted with deliberate indifference to the inmate's need for adequate medical care.
Terry v. Salinas Valley State Prison, 2000 U.S.App. Lexis, 31186 (9th Cir.). Correctional
officer gave inmate "a chair with wheels" because no wheelchairs were available in the
facility. Court upheld dismissal of the ADA claim because of pending class action,
Armstrong v. Davis, covering same subject matter. It upheld the dismissal of the Eighth
Amendment claim because inmate did not allege a deliberate failure to treat a serious
medical condition resulting in further significant injury or pain.
Vines v. Sondalle, 223 Wis.2d 265, 588 N.W.2d 927, 1998 WL 765502 (Wis.App.) (Wisc.
1998)(unpublished). Inmate who used wheelchair was injured when transported in van that
was not wheelchair accessible. Court dismissed ADA claim on grounds that he was
transported like all other inmates and therefore not denied any service. ADA does not
require that disabled prisoner be given best means of transportation.
Weeks v. Chaboudy, 984 F.2d 185 (6th Cir.1993). The prisoner was paralyzed from the
waist down but was placed in a portion of the prison where he was not permitted to have a
wheelchair. Wheelchairs were only permitted in the prison infirmary. The doctor, who had
been treating the prisoner throughout his incarceration, could have authorized the
prisoner's transfer to the infirmary. It was undisputed that it "was accepted practice to keep
paralyzed inmates in the infirmary" since "it was the only area of the prison equipped to
cater to their needs" and that the doctor knew the prisoner "would not have access to a
wheelchair if not admitted to the infirmary." The doctor did not, however, admit the prisoner
to the infirmary. He simply concluded that the prisoner is "presently locked in J Block so
this negates the use of a wheelchair in his particular area. We will pursue other avenues of
consultation and see if we can't derive some disposition of this man other than here in the
infirmary." No other "disposition was found or attempted" by the doctor.

As a result of being denied the use of a wheelchair, the prisoner was unable to take
advantage of his limited out-of-cell time, or to shower himself. He could not care for his
person or clean his cell from May 3, 1983 to February 4, 1985. This court found that these
facts stated a claim of deliberate indifference since the doctor knew of Weeks's paraplegia,
knew that he could not have a wheelchair outside of the infirmary, could have admitted
Weeks to the infirmary but refused to do so or to take any other steps to help the prisoner.
Westbrook v. Dallas County, 1999 WL 354231 (N.D. Texas). Plaintiff was a paraplegic who
used a wheelchair. When he was incarcerated, the jail placed him in a holding cell for three
days and confiscated his wheelchair. As a result, he was forced to sit on concrete floor and
could not move. He alleged that he developed circulatory problems and pressure sores on
his buttocks and ultimately became very ill with infected decubitus ulcers. The court held
that taking the wheelchair for a few days because the cell was not large enough to
accommodate was not a manifestation of deliberate indifference to medical needs that is
necessary to state a claim under the Eighth Amendment. Although nurses were aware of
the risk of pressure sores in such circumstances, plaintiff should have rotated himself off
the pressure points to prevent the problem.
Wetzel v. Sheahan, 210 F.3d 377, 2000 WL 222557 (7th Cir.(Ill.))(unpublished). Jail
officials refused to provide inmate who had had hip replacement with a wheelchair, despite
medical prescription. He was told to do the best he could with crutches. On one occasion,
his leg gave out after about 25 yards causing him to fall to the ground. Wetzel was then
forced to "scoot" his way across the floor. Court dismissed the claims because of statute of
limitations and because plaintiff failed to sue proper defendants.
Young v. Harris, 509 F.Supp. 1111 (S.D.N.Y. 1981). Failure to provide leg brace states
cause of action under the Eighth Amendment.