Anderson v. Dooley et al
ORDER SCREENING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING SERVICE. Signed by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier on 7/10/17. (DJP)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF SOUTH DAKOTA
DONALD LOREN ANDERSON,
BOB DOOLEY, Warden, South Dakota
State Penitentiary; MARTY JACKLEY,
Attorney General, State of South
ORDER SCREENING COMPLAINT
AND DIRECTING SERVICE
Plaintiff, Donald Loren Anderson, is an inmate at the Mike Durfee State
Prison in Springfield, South Dakota. Anderson filed a pro se civil rights lawsuit
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and paid his filing fee. Docket 1; Docket 3; Docket 5.
The court has now screened his complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and for
the reasons stated below, the court dismisses Anderson’s complaint in part
and directs service in part.
Anderson’s complaint generally concerns his disability and the prison’s
failure to accommodate that disability. Docket 1. He alleges that he uses
hearing aids, that he is in a wheelchair, and that he has medical issues with
his hands that cause him pain. Id.
When Anderson arrived at the prison his hearing aids started
malfunctioning. Id. at 2. When he asked prison officials for help, they told him
to mail his hearing aids out of the prison because they did not want to be
responsible for them. Id. He also asked prison officials for a release of
information form in order to get evidence from the veteran’s association, the
suppliers of the hearing aids. Id. This request was denied. Id.
Anderson alleges that his cell is too small, given his disability and the
fact that he shares the cell with another inmate who is also in a wheelchair.
Id. at 2-3. The door is too narrow, and Anderson has injured himself by hitting
it while going through in his wheelchair. Id. at 2. He also has medical issues
with his hands that make it very painful to maneuver his wheelchair in the
cramped cell. Id. at 2-3.
Anderson generally alleges that the prison is not built properly to
accommodate his disability. Id. at 1. He also alleges that the state penitentiary
is currently being remodeled but not in compliance with the ADA. Id. This
includes the medical building, the housing units, and the law library. Id.
Anderson also alleges a number of ways in which those in wheelchairs
are discriminated against in the prison. He alleges that inmates in wheelchairs
are allowed only one hour of recreation time a week, if they are allowed any at
all. Id. at 4. He alleges that they are not allowed to drop off their laundry. Id.
He also complains generally that he is forced to pay for medical treatment,
even though he is a disabled veteran. Id.
On May 19, 2017, Anderson filed this complaint, seeking injunctive
relief as well as damages for his injuries. Id. at 3. He requests that the prison
be ordered to fully comply with the ADA. Id. Anderson paid a portion of his
filing fee on June 17, 2017, and the remainder on June 19. Docket 3; Docket
The court must accept the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as
true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party.
Schriener v. Quicken Loans, Inc., 774 F.3d 442, 444 (8th Cir. 2014). Civil rights
and pro se complaints must be liberally construed. Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citation omitted); Bediako v. Stein Mart, Inc., 354 F.3d 835,
839 (8th Cir. 2004). Even with this construction, “a pro se complaint must
contain specific facts supporting its conclusions.” Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d
1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985); Ellis v. City of Minneapolis, 518 F. App’x 502, 504
(8th Cir. 2013). Civil rights complaints cannot be merely conclusory. Davis v.
Hall, 992 F.2d 151, 152 (8th Cir. 1993); Parker v. Porter, 221 F. App’x 481, 482
(8th Cir. 2007).
A complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations . . . [but] requires
more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of
a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007). “If a plaintiff cannot make the requisite showing, dismissal is
appropriate.” Abdullah v. Minnesota, 261 F. App’x 926, 927 (8th Cir. 2008);
Beavers v. Lockhart, 755 F.2d 657, 663 (8th Cir. 1985). Under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, the court must screen prisoner complaints and dismiss them if they
are “(1) frivolous, malicious, or fail to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted; or (2) seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief.” 1915A(b).
Anderson raises a number of claims under the ADA. “The ADA consists
of three titles addressing discrimination against the disabled in different
contexts.” Gorman v. Bartch, 152 F.3d 907, 911 (8th Cir. 1998). “Title I
prohibits employment discrimination, Title II prohibits discrimination in the
services of public entities, and Title III prohibits discrimination by public
accommodations involved in interstate commerce such as hotels, restaurants,
and privately operated transportation services[.]” Id. (citing 42 U.S.C. §§ 12112,
12132, 12182, 12184).
Anderson does not indicate which title authorizes the cause of action for
his claims. But he is not an employee of the state, and the prison is not a
private entity. Therefore, the court construes Anderson’s claims as proceeding
under Title II of the ADA. Pennsylvania Dep't of Corr. v. Yeskey, 524 U.S. 206,
210 (1998) (“State prisons fall squarely within the [Title II] statutory definition
of ‘public entity,’ which includes ‘any department, agency, special purpose
district, or other instrumentality of a State or States or local government’ ”)
(citing 42 U.S.C. § 12131(1)(B)).
Title II of the ADA states that “no qualified individual with a disability
shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be
denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or
be subjected to discrimination by any such entity.” 42 U.S.C. § 12132; Mason
v. Corr. Med. Servs., Inc., 559 F.3d 880, 886 (8th Cir. 2009). In order to
sufficiently allege that defendants violated Title II of the ADA, Anderson must
(1) that he is a qualified individual with a disability; (2) that he was
excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of the
[prison’s] services, programs, or activities, or was otherwise
subjected to discrimination by the [prison]; and (3) that such
exclusion, denial of benefits, or other discrimination was by reason
of his disability.
Baribeau v. City of Minneapolis, 596 F.3d 465, 484 (8th Cir. 2010).
Prima Facie Case of ADA Claim
Anderson states a claim under the ADA that he was excluded and denied
the benefits of numerous aspects of the prison because he is in a wheelchair.
He alleges that his cell is too small for two inmates in wheelchairs, and he is
housed in a cell with another inmate who is also in a wheelchair. Docket 1 at 3.
He alleges this causes pain when he hits himself on the doors, etc. and he
cannot get out of his cell safely and easily. Id. The court finds that Anderson
states a prima facie claim under Title II of the ADA.
Anderson also claims that he is denied numerous benefits because he is
in a wheelchair. He alleges that he is allowed only one hour a week of
recreation time, and sometimes none at all. Id. at 4. He also alleges that
inmates who are in wheelchairs are not allowed to fully use the laundry
services. Id. He claims this is because he is in a wheelchair. Therefore,
Anderson states a claim under Title II of the ADA.
Official Capacity Claims
Anderson names Bob Dooley and Marty Jackley as defendants. The
complaint does not include an “express statement” that Anderson sues
defendants in their individual capacities, and the court must therefore consider
his suit to be against defendants in their official capacity. Kelly v. City of
Omaha, Neb., No. 14-3446, 2016 WL 660117 (8th Cir. Feb. 18, 2016).
Furthermore, “the public-entity limitation precludes ADA claims against state
officials in their individual capacities[.]” Randolph v. Rodgers, 253 F.3d 342,
348 (8th Cir. 2001).
The court construes Anderson’s claims as claims against defendants in
their official capacity. “A suit against state employees in their official capacities
is the functional equivalent of a suit against the State.” Zajrael v. Harmon, 677
F.3d 353, 355 (8th Cir. 2012). Therefore, Anderson’s suit is essentially against
the State of South Dakota.
Anderson seeks injunctive relief under Title II of the ADA. He requests
that defendants be ordered to comply with the ADA and stop discriminating
against him because of his disability. He also asks that defendants
accommodate his disability. Because Anderson raises two viable claims under
the ADA and sues defendants in their official capacity, his claims for injunctive
relief may proceed. See Dinkins v. Corr. Med. Servs., 743 F.3d 633, 635 (8th
Cir. 2014) (permitting claims for injunctive relief against a state official sued in
official capacity under ADA).
Anderson seeks monetary relief under Title II of the ADA, requesting that
damages be rewarded for each of his claims. Although “the public-entity
limitation precludes ADA claims against state officials in their individual
capacities,” Randolph v. Rodgers, 253 F.3d 342, 348 (8th Cir. 2001), Anderson
sues defendants in their official capacities. These are essentially claims against
the state itself. See Zajrael, 677 F.3d at 355.
“States, as sovereigns, are immune from suits for damages, save as they
elect to waive that defense. As an exception to this principle, Congress may
abrogate the States’ immunity from suit pursuant to its powers under § 5 of
the Fourteenth Amendment.” Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Maryland, 566
U.S. 30, 35 (2012). The Supreme Court has found that “insofar as Title II [of
the ADA] creates a private cause of action for damages against the States for
conduct that actually violates the Fourteenth Amendment, Title II validly
abrogates state sovereign immunity.” United States v. Georgia, 546 U.S. 151,
159 (2006); see also Dinkins, 743 F.3d at 635.
Applying Georgia, the question of whether defendants can be held liable
for damages under Title II of the ADA, or whether they are immune from suit
under the Eleventh Amendment, depends upon a three-part analysis in which
court must determine:
(1) which aspects of the State's alleged conduct violated Title II; (2)
to what extent such misconduct also violated the Fourteenth
Amendment; and (3) insofar as such misconduct violated Title II
but did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment, whether Congress's
purported abrogation of sovereign immunity as to that class of
conduct is nevertheless valid.
Georgia, 546 U.S. at 159.
Anderson alleges that he was denied an appropriate room and conditions
of confinement in general for someone in a wheelchair. These allegations state
a claim under the ADA, but they also may, and likely do, state a claim under
the Eighth Amendment which is incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment.
Id. at 157 (citing State of La. ex rel. Francis v. Resweber, 329 U.S. 459, 463
(1947)). The court cannot say that Anderson’s claim will be successful, but at
this point, he has made allegations to overcome the immunity question under
Georgia. See Klingler v. Director, Department of Revenue, State of Missouri, 455
F.3d 888, 892 (8th Cir. 2006) (explaining that the court could analyze an
immunity claim under Georgia without remanding to the district court because
there was already “an extensive record created for summary judgment”).
Because Anderson alleges claims under Title II of the ADA that are based on
actual violations of the Fourteenth Amendment, he may seek damages against
Thus, it is ORDERED
Anderson’s ADA claims survive screening under 28 U.S.C.
The Clerk shall send blank summons forms to Anderson so he may
cause the summons and complaint to be served upon defendants.
The United States Marshal shall serve a copy of the complaint
(Docket 1), Summons, and this Order upon defendants as directed
by Anderson. All costs of service shall be advanced by the United
Defendants will serve and file an answer or responsive pleading to
the remaining claims on or before 21 days following the date of
Anderson will serve upon defendants, or, if appearance has been
entered by counsel, upon their counsel, a copy of every further
pleading or other document submitted for consideration by the
court. He will include with the original paper to be filed with the
clerk of court a certificate stating the date and that a true and
correct copy of any document was mailed to defendants or their
Anderson will keep the court informed of his current address at all
times. All parties are bound by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
and by the court’s Local Rules while this case is pending.
Dated July 10, 2017.
BY THE COURT:
/s/ Karen E. Schreier
KAREN E. SCHREIER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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