NATTIEL v. WEEKS et al
ORDER ADOPTING 91 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND DENYING 70 MOTION TO DISMISS. Signed by William Terrell Hodges on 11/27/2017. This case is remanded to the Magistrate Judge for further proceedings. (kdm)
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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE NO. 1:15-cv-00150-WTH-GRJ
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS,
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
AND DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS
This cause comes on for consideration upon the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation, ECF No. 91, regarding the Florida Department of Corrections’
(“FDOC”) Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 70. The parties have been furnished a copy of
the Report and Recommendation and have been afforded an opportunity to file objections
pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 636(b)(1). The FDOC has filed
objections at ECF No. 92. I have made a de novo review based on those objections.
Having considered the Report and Recommendation, and the timely filed
objections, I have determined that the Report and Recommendation should be adopted. In
its motion to dismiss and later its objections, the FDOC argues that plaintiff did not
exhaust his administrative remedies because he did not file a request for an
accommodation prior to the use of chemical agents against him. The Florida
Administrative Code provides a form which a prisoner must fill out to request an
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accommodation before an accommodation will be provided by the FDOC. Plaintiff
concedes that he never filled out this form before he was sprayed with a chemical agent.
Prison officials, however, were aware of his asthma and glass eye and even
assessed him several times for whether chemical agents should be used against him. "[A]
disabled person's failure to expressly 'request' an accommodation ... is not fatal to an
ADA claim where the defendant otherwise had knowledge of an individual's disability
and needs but took no action." McCoy v. Texas Dep't of Criminal Justice, 2006 WL
2331055 at *7 (S.D. Tex 2006) (citing Taylor v. Principal Financial Group, Inc., 93 F.3d
155, 165 (5th Cir.1996); Reed v. LePage Bakeries, Inc., 244 F.3d 254, 261 n. 7 (1st
Cir.2001)). "A specific demand may be unnecessary where the need for an
accommodation is obvious." Todd v. Carstarphen, 236 F. Supp. 3d 1311, 1328 n 33.
(N.D. Ga. 2017) (citing Schwarz v. The Villages Charter Sch., Inc., 165 F.Supp.3d 1153,
1173 (M.D. Fla. 2016)).
Here, the FDOC obviously knew about his disabilities and obviously knew the
concerns associated with using chemical agents on him, as they felt the need to assess
whether such agents should be used against him. In such circumstances, a specific
demand for an accommodation may not be necessary to trigger the FDOC's duty to
provide an accommodation. Since the duty to accommodate arises without a formal
request, filing one using the state-mandated form is not required to trigger the ADA or to
exhaust administrative remedies. What is required is for the plaintiff to use the grievance
process to give the FDOC notice of the ADA claim and a chance to correct its own
Case No: 1:15-cv-00150-WTH-GRJ
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mistakes. The Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that plaintiff's grievances filed
after chemical agents were used against him were "sufficient to put the FDOC on notice
of the general basis of Plaintiff's ADA claim." ECF No. 91 at 14.
Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED:
The Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation, ECF No. 91, is
adopted and incorporated by reference in this order.
The Florida Department of Corrections’ Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 70, is
This case is remanded to the Magistrate Judge for further proceedings.
DONE AND ORDERED this 27th day of November, 2017
Case No: 1:15-cv-00150-WTH-GRJ
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