United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
JEFFREY ALKER MEYER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Walsh is a prisoner in the custody of the Connecticut
Department of Correction (“DOC”) and is currently
confined at MacDougall Walker Correctional Institution. He
has filed a complaint pro se and in forma
pauperis under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against six
correctional officials in their individual and official
capacities for damages and injunctive relief. Walsh claims
that defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right against
prison officials' deliberate indifference to his serious
medical needs, and that defendants violated his rights under
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the
Rehabilitation Act. His claims principally arise from the
denial of his multiple requests to be placed on single cell
status as well as his request for special transport
arrangements for any trips he must make outside of the prison
facility. Walsh requests damages, a declaratory judgment, and
a permanent injunction. In the interim, he seeks a temporary
restraining order or-in the alternative-a preliminary
injunction. For the reasons stated below, I will dismiss the
Eighth Amendment claim, allow the ADA and Rehabilitation Act
claims to proceed, and deny without prejudice Walsh's
request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary
has named the following six defendants: DOC Commissioner
Rollin Cook, MacDougall-Walker Wardens Carol Chapdelaine and
William Mulligan, Deputy Warden Gerald Hines, Dr. Joseph
Coleman, and DOC Health and Addiction Services head Colleen
Gallagher.The following facts are alleged in the complaint
and are accepted as true only for purposes of this ruling.
Prior to his incarceration, Walsh underwent psychiatric
evaluation and treatment. Doc. #1 at 4 (¶¶ 12-16).
He was previously diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder (“PTSD”), chronic depression, anxiety,
mixed personality disorder, episodic alcohol abuse, paranoia,
and obsessive compulsive disorder. Id. at 4-5
(¶¶ 12-18). Walsh had been hospitalized and treated
with various psychiatric medications. Ibid.
August 10, 1995, Walsh was arrested and admitted into DOC
custody. Doc. #1 at 5 (¶ 19). Upon his admission, he was
evaluated by mental health personnel, who incorporated his
written medical history. Id. at 5-6 (¶¶
20-21). On June 22, 1999, Walsh was found guilty of murder
and later sentenced to a term of 55 years of imprisonment.
Id. at 6 (¶ 22).
the first four years of his sentence, Walsh was regularly
seen by DOC mental health staff and was prescribed numerous
trials of psychiatric medications. Ibid. (¶
23). From 2003-2016, however, Walsh was not evaluated or
treated by mental health staff for his chronic conditions,
nor was he prescribed any medications. Ibid. (¶
24). During those years, Walsh filed numerous requests but
was told that he could only see mental health staff if he was
taking medications. Ibid. (¶ 25). Walsh also
learned that being prescribed medications would increase his
inmate mental health classification to a Level 3, which would
require evaluations on a regular basis. Ibid.
2013, Walsh was transferred to MacDougall-Walker.
Ibid. (¶ 26). On August 29, 2016, he wrote a
two-page letter to Chapdelaine, who was then the warden of
MacDougall-Walker, informing her of his documented mental
health diagnoses and treatment and that his confinement at
MacDougall-Walker had worsened his symptoms. Id. at
6-7 (¶ 27). Walsh also requested that he be placed on
single-cell status at MacDougall-Walker. Id. at 7
(¶ 27). That same day, he also filed a Request for
Reasonable Accommodations (“RRA”) requesting
single-cell status. Ibid. (¶ 28). Walsh
reasoned that his confinement “with numerous unknown
cellmates over the past three years ha[d] caused a regression
and deterioration of coping mechanisms in dealing with
clinically diagnosed [psychiatric disabilities].”
Ibid. Walsh documented his previous evaluations,
diagnoses, and hospitalizations in support of his RRA.
September 1, 2016, Walsh submitted a request to Dr. Coleman,
stating that his “mental health condition [was]
deteriorating due to conditions within [his] cell” and
describing his difficulty with relating to others in his
unit. Ibid. (¶ 29). He asked Dr. Coleman to
schedule an appointment for an evaluation. Ibid.
September 29, 2016, Walsh sent a second letter to
Chapdelaine, who had not responded to his first letter, again
seeking approval for single-cell status. Id. at 7-8
(¶ 30). Walsh explained that he had spoken with mental
health personnel, who commenced a treatment plan for him, and
that they supported single-cell status for him. Id.
at 8 (¶ 30). Once again, Chapdelaine did not respond to
the letter. Ibid. (¶ 31).
December 8, 2016, Walsh sent a four-page letter to former
Commissioner of Correction Scott Semple, requesting approval
for single-cell status. Ibid. (¶ 31). Walsh
outlined his psychiatric conditions and explained that his
symptoms were worsening. Ibid.
month later, on January 15, 2017, Walsh wrote a letter to Dr.
Coleman, highlighting his repeated attempts to schedule a
mental health evaluation and explaining that Coleman was
refusing to evaluate him. Ibid. (¶ 32). That
same day, Walsh submitted a second RRA, explaining the
reasons for SCS and that he continued to suffer exacerbated
symptoms of his psychiatric conditions. Id. at 8-9
(¶ 33). He received a response to his second RRA later
that month, stating that Dr. Coleman “would support a
temporary [single-cell status] [but that] final approv[al] of
[single-cell status] [was] contingent upon Warden
approval.” Id. at 9 (¶¶ 34-35). The
response was signed by both Dr. Coleman and Captain Hall.
Ibid. (¶ 35).
responded with a letter to Dr. Coleman on January 31, 2017,
informing him that, because of his anxiety and “mental
anguish, ” he was uncomfortable with a
“temporary” single-cell status assignment, and he
needed Coleman to evaluate him. Ibid. (¶ 36).
Walsh sent a follow-up letter on February 2, 2017,
elaborating on his increased anxiety and stressing that the
temporary single-cell status would only contribute to his
already worsen[ing] symptoms. Ibid. (¶ 37). He
asked Coleman “to consider a more long-term or
permanent solution.” Ibid.
February 10, 2017, Walsh received a letter from Chapdelaine
regarding the letter he had sent to Semple. Ibid.
(¶ 38). The letter stated that Walsh's
“request for a single cell ha[d] been reviewed and
[Chapdelaine] [had] agreed to temporarily place [him] on that
list. However, [the] status is subject to review and changes
due to bed space availability.” Id. at 9-10
learning that his single-cell status was limited depending on
further review and availability and specific only to
MacDougall-Walker, Walsh forwarded a letter to Semple
requesting permanent single-cell status, which would apply to
all DOC facilities. Id. at 10 (¶ 39). He again
outlined his worsening psychiatric symptoms and the
inadequate treatment he was receiving at MWCI. Id.
Walsh ultimately agreed to the temporary single-cell status
and thanked Chapdelaine in a follow-up letter dated February
14, 2017. Ibid. (¶ 40). He advised Chapdelaine
that he had already sent another letter to Semple requesting
permanent single-cell status. Ibid. On March 9,
2017, he received another response from Chapdelaine stating
that she had approved him for temporary single-cell status
for three to four months based on Dr. Coleman's
recommendation but that there were no clinical reasons for
permanent single-cell status. Id. at 10-11 (¶
March 3, 2017, Walsh submitted his third RRA, requesting that
he receive “[f]acility transport to and from [c]ourt
and/or medical trips” because of his mental health
conditions. Id. at 10 (¶ 41). In a letter to
Chapdelaine dated March 23, 2017, Walsh again attempted to
address the temporary nature of his single-cell status and
advised her of his third RRA for facility transports to court
as opposed to transporting him via Central Transport Units
(“CTUs”). Id. at 11 (¶
43).Chapdelaine did not respond to this letter,
and Walsh continued to endure mental health problems.
April 3, 2017, Walsh advised Chapdelaine that his temporary
single-cell status had commenced on March 24, 2017, but that
he still wished to receive permanent single-cell status.
Ibid. (¶ 44). He also sent a letter to Dr.
Coleman on April 26, 2017, advising him about his temporary
single-cell status and inquiring when it would be reviewed.
Id. at 12 (¶ 45).
April 28, 2017, Walsh sent a request to Captain Hall
inquiring about his RRA for facility transports.
Ibid. (¶ 46). That RRA was later denied based
on Dr. Coleman's conclusion that “facility
transport to medical [appointments] [and] court is not
supported by mental status findings.” Ibid.
(¶ 47). Walsh later filed two written grievances, dated
May 8, and May 12, 2017, complaining about his inability to
receive permanent single-cell status and facility transports.
Ibid. (¶¶ 48-49). Walsh received a
response from Hall explaining that Dr. Coleman had determined
that facility transports were not necessary at that time.
Ibid. (¶ 50).
letter dated June 25, 2017, Walsh informed Dr. Coleman that
he had been advised by mental health personnel that his
temporary single-cell status had expired. Id. at
12-13 (¶ 51). Walsh explained that it had only been
three months since his temporary single-cell status began,
and Coleman's recommendation was for “three to four
months.” Id. at 13 (¶ 51). Walsh also
informed Coleman that he continued to suffer from exacerbated
psychiatric symptoms and pleaded with him to “consider
the fourth month of the initial . . .
letter was later returned to Walsh with a hand-written
response signed by Deputy Warden Hines, stating that his
request for single-cell status was denied. Ibid.
(¶ 52). Thereafter, Walsh's single-cell status was
revoked without any evaluation of his mental health
condition. Ibid. (¶ 53). Walsh wrote a letter
to Warden Mulligan on June 26, 2017, requesting an extension
of his single-cell status. Ibid. (¶ 54). He
informed Mulligan that, although his single-cell status had
been temporary, it established that there was “some
type of need for [him] to be in a single cell.”
Ibid. Walsh forwarded a copy of the letter to
Commissioner Semple. Ibid. In response to
Hines's previous letter, Walsh replied by letter to Hines
explaining the basis for his single-cell status, ...