United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
JEFFREY ALKER MEYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jamarr Fowler was a prisoner in the custody of the
Connecticut Department of Correction (DOC) when he brought
this action against some 32 correctional officials and the
DOC alleging violations of his rights under the First,
Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act. Fowler alleges that defendants denied him
reasonable accommodations for his hearing disability, placed
him in restrictive housing, denied him access to various
prison amenities, and subjected him to harmful conditions of
confinement. See Doc. #11; Fowler v. Dep't
of Corr., 2017 WL 3401252 (D. Conn. 2017). The DOC and
the remaining individual defendants have now made an
unopposed motion for summary judgment, and for the reasons
set forth below, I will grant defendants' motion.
following facts are based on the parties' submissions and
are viewed in the light most favorable to Fowler as the
non-moving party. Fowler became a prisoner of the DOC on
November 19, 2015. Doc. #77-4 at 2. Fowler alleges that he
has a hearing-related disability. Doc. #1 at 7 (¶ 37).
Fowler also alleges the existence of another disability, but
is not specific in his complaint. Ibid.
December 16, 2015, the DOC's Utilization Review Committee
(URC) examined whether Fowler should receive hearing aids.
Doc. #78 at 2. The URC considered Fowler's medical
records from New York, ibid., and Fowler refused in
January 2016 to undergo another hearing test for the hearing
aids. Doc. #79 at 2.
the DOC noted that several accommodations should be
implemented to address Fowler's hearing disability, and
acknowledged his seizure disorder. Doc. #81 at 2. This
included use of a teletype (TTY) phone. Ibid. The
TTY phone was provided in his cell, and Fowler's
counselor at Osborn Correctional Institution has submitted an
affidavit noting that Fowler received access equal to that
other prisoners received. Ibid.; Doc. #82 at 2
officials disciplined Fowler in April of 2016 for misusing
the TTY phone and circumventing security measures there.
See Doc. #77-9. Fowler declined an advocate to aid
him in association with the disciplinary charges, and Fowler
then became disruptive and was removed from a hearing on the
matter. Doc. #77-7 at 2-3; Doc. #77-10 at 3. The investigator
recommended a guilty finding. Doc. #77-7 at 5.
again refused to take a hearing test in June of 2016. Doc.
#80 at 2. The clinician evaluating Fowler declined to refer
him to an Ear Nose & Throat specialist (ENT) if Fowler
was unwilling to take a hearing test. Ibid.
officials issued another report against Fowler—and
placed him in administrative restrictive housing—for
tampering with the TTY phone at MacDougall-Walker
Correctional Institution in February of 2017. See
claims that he was denied adequate accommodations for his
disabilities and that defendants were deliberately
indifferent to his medical needs. See Doc. #11 at
11, 14-15. Fowler never made a formal request for a
reasonable accommodation under the DOC's directives. Doc.
#82 at 2 (¶ 9). Similarly, Fowler underwent numerous
visits to medical professionals, Doc. #83 at 3, and though he
sometimes claimed a seizure disorder, his seizures were being
managed with the medication Keppra. Id. at 1-2
(¶¶ 7-9). A doctor who treated Fowler submitted an
affidavit noting that Fowler did not have severe asthma, was
receiving medical treatment within the standard of care, and
did not require a single cell or special housing for disabled
inmates. Id. at 2-4 (¶¶ 10, 14, 16).
8, 2017, Fowler filed an application for a writ of habeas
corpus in Connecticut Superior Court. See Doc.
#101.00 to Fowler v. Comm'r of Corr.,
TSR-CV-4008808-S (Conn. Super. 2017). Fowler claimed that the
disciplinary hearings for the tickets he received deprived
him of his due process rights, that he was subjected to
inhumane and dangerous prison conditions, that prison
officials violated his rights under the ADA and
Rehabilitation Act, and that he was placed on an elevated
security status in retaliation for filing complaints and
grievances against prison staff. See Fowler v. Comm'r
of Corr., 2018 WL 2069044, at *1 (Conn. Super. 2018).
The Superior Court held a trial on Fowler's claims in
October and December of 2017, and issued an order in April
2018 finding that Fowler had failed to establish that his
rights had been violated. Ibid.
meantime, Fowler filed this lawsuit on May 22, 2017. Doc. #1.
After my initial review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I
allowed Fowler to proceed on a discrimination claim under the
ADA and Rehabilitation Act, Doc. #11 at 10-11; a retaliation
claim under the First Amendment, ADA, and Rehabilitation Act
against defendants for punishing Fowler for filing grievances
and requesting accommodations by falsifying disciplinary
reports, placing Fowler in more restrictive housing, denying
him access to the phone, and publicizing his medical records,
id. at 12-13; an Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference claim for denying Fowler access to disability
accommodations, recreation, hygiene in a way that might
medically harm him, id. at 14-15; a procedural due
process claim that he was placed in restrictive housing
following inadequate hearings, id. at 16-17; and a
class-of-one equal protection claim that defendants denied
him privileges afforded to any inmates, id. at 19.
Now, however, because of the lack of evidence to support
Fowler's claims, I will grant defendants' unopposed
motion for summary judgment.
principles governing the Court's review of a motion for
summary judgment are well established. Summary judgment may
be granted only if “the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed R. Civ.
P. 56(a). I must view the facts in the light most favorable
to the party who opposes the motion for summary judgment and
then decide if those facts would be enough—if
eventually proved at trial—to allow a reasonable jury
to decide the case in favor of the opposing party. My role at
summary judgment is not to judge the credibility of witnesses
or to resolve close contested issues but solely to decide if
there are ...