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Laboy v. Beaulieu

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

May 10, 2019

JAMES LABOY, Plaintiff,
BEAULIEU, et al., Defendants.



         Preliminary Statement

         The plaintiff, James Laboy (“Laboy”), commenced this civil rights action asserting claims for violation of his constitutional and statutory rights against the defendants, school principal Beaulieu and school area officer Brown. Following the Court’s, Thompson, D.J., initial review, two claims remained: (1) a due process claim arising from his removal from the school program; and (2) a claim that the defendants violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq., and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“RA”), 29 U.S.C. § 794(a), by dismissing him from the school program for medical issues relating to his disability. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment to which Laboy objected. For the following reasons, the defendants’ motion is GRANTED.

         Standard of Review

         A motion for summary judgment may be granted only where there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Rule 56(a), Fed. R. Civ. P.; see also Redd v. New York Div. of Parole, 678 F.3d 166, 173-74 (2d Cir. 2012). “When the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial, the moving party can satisfy its burden at summary judgment by ‘pointing out to the district court’ the absence of a genuine dispute with respect to any essential element of its opponent’s case: ‘a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party’s case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.’” Cohane v. National Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, 612 F. App’x 41, 43 (2d Cir. 2015) (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)).

         Once the moving party meets this burden, the nonmoving party must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Wright v. Goord, 554 F.3d 255, 266 (2d Cir. 2009). He cannot “‘rely on conclusory allegations or unsubstantiated speculation’ but ‘must come forward with specific evidence demonstrating the existence of a genuine dispute of material fact.’” Robinson v. Concentra Health Servs., 781 F.3d 42, 34 (2d Cir. 2015) (citation omitted). He must present such evidence as would allow a jury to find in his favor in order to defeat the motion for summary judgment. Graham v. Long Island R.R., 230 F.3d 34, 38 (2d Cir. 2000). Although the court is required to read a self-represented “party’s papers liberally and interpret them to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest,” Willey v. Kirkpatrick, 801 F.3d 51, 62 (2d Cir. 2015), “unsupported allegations do not create a material issue of fact” and do not overcome a properly supported motion for summary judgment. Weinstock v. Columbia Univ., 224 F.3d 33, 41 (2d Cir. 2000).

         Facts [1]

         Laboy was incarcerated at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution (“MacDougall”) at all times relevant to this action. Doc. No. 20-4, ¶ 1. Defendant Beaulieu was the school principal at MacDougall and defendant Brown worked at MacDougall as a correctional officer. Id., ¶¶ 2-3.

         On July 14, 2017, Laboy enrolled in the MacDougall school program to obtain his GED. Id., ¶ 4. All inmates participating in the school program are required to sign a contract acknowledging the rules and regulations of the school program, including rules pertaining to absences. Id., ¶ 5. Laboy signed such a contract on July 5, 2017. Id., ¶ 6.

         Laboy attended the morning school session which ran from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Id., ¶ 7. For the first ten days of the session, Laboy reported to the medical unit at 11:00 a.m., when the school session concluded. Id., ¶ 8. Beginning July 26, 2017, Laboy requested permission to leave school every day at 10:00 a.m. to go to the medical unit. Id., ¶ 9. By leaving in the middle of the session, Laboy missed school time and disrupted the class. Id., ¶ 10.

         Defendant Beaulieu discussed these repeated absences with Laboy. Id., ¶ 11. She told him that the repeated absences were disrupting the class and that, because of repeated absences, he would be removed from the class. Id., ¶ 12. Defendant Beaulieu offered to switch Laboy to the afternoon session. Id., ¶ 13. Laboy refused the offer. Id., ¶ 14.

         On August 3, 2017, defendant Beaulieu removed Laboy from the school program. Id., ¶ 15. This action was intended to enable Laboy to work with medical staff to regulate his medical condition. Id., ¶ 16. The removal form specifically stated that Laboy could return to the school program once his medical condition had stabilized. Id., ¶ 17. Defendant Beaulieu acted alone in removing Laboy from the school program. Defendant Brown was not involved in the decision. Id., ¶ 18.

         On September 21, 2017, Laboy re-enrolled in the school program to obtain his GED, this time attending the afternoon session. Id., ΒΆ 19. On March 21, 2018, ...

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