United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER RE AMENDED COMPLAINT
JEFFREY ALKER MEYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Patrick Walsh is a sentenced prisoner of the Connecticut
Department of Correction (“DOC”). He has filed an
amended complaint against the DOC and numerous state prison
officials arising from their alleged failure to accommodate
his requests for single-cell status and for special facility
transport arrangements when it is necessary for him to leave
his prison facility for medical or legal reasons. Walsh
alleges that defendants have violated his right to be free
from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment
and his rights to be free from disability discrimination and
to a reasonable accommodation for his disabilities under the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42
U.S.C. §§ 12131, et seq., and the
Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794 et seq.
accordance with my duty under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A to
conduct an initial review of Walsh's complaint, I
conclude that Walsh has not alleged plausible Eighth
Amendment claims against any of the defendants. I further
conclude that he has not alleged plausible claims under the
ADA and the Rehabilitation Act against any of the individual
defendants but that he has alleged a plausible claim under
the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act against defendants Cook
and Barone in their official capacities. Accordingly, I will
allow Walsh's amended complaint to proceed solely against
Cook and Barone in their official capacities.
claims arise from his confinement at the MacDougall-Walker
Correctional Institution (“MWCI”). He filed an
initial complaint on June 24, 2019, alleging claims under the
Eighth Amendment, the ADA, and the Rehabilitation Act against
the following defendants: DOC Commissioner Rollin Cook; MWCI
Wardens Carol Chapdelaine and William Mulligan; Deputy Warden
Gerald Hines; Dr. Joseph Coleman; and DOC Health and
Addiction Services Head Colleen Gallagher. Doc. #1.
18, 2019, I issued an initial review order dismissing the
Eighth Amendment claims and allowing the ADA and
Rehabilitation Act claims to proceed against two of the
defendants-Cook and Mulligan-in their official capacities
only for injunctive relief. Doc. #8; Walsh v.
Coleman, 2019 WL 3231194 (D. Conn. 2019).
has now filed an amended complaint as of right pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15 that names the same defendants but that also
includes two more defendants: the DOC and Kristine Barone
(the current warden of MWCI), who is sued in her official
capacity only. The following facts are alleged in the amended
complaint and are accepted as true only for purposes of this
to his incarceration, Walsh underwent psychiatric evaluation
and treatment. Doc. #9 at 4-5 (¶¶ 14-16). He was
previously diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
(“PTSD”), depression, anxiety, mixed personality
disorder, episodic alcohol abuse, and dysthymic disorder.
Id. at 4 (¶ 15). Walsh had been hospitalized
and treated with various psychiatric medications.
Id. at 4-5 (¶ 16).
August 10, 1995, Walsh was arrested and admitted into DOC
custody. Id. at 6 (¶ 21). Upon his admission,
he was evaluated by mental health personnel, who incorporated
his written medical history into his medical history file.
Ibid. (¶¶ 22-23). On June 22, 1999, Walsh
was found guilty of murder and was later sentenced to a
55-year term of imprisonment. Ibid. (¶ 24).
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. (¶
25). From 2003 to 2016, however, Walsh was not evaluated or
treated by mental health staff for his chronic conditions,
nor was he prescribed any medications. Ibid. (¶
26). During those years, Walsh filed numerous Inmate Request
Forms asking to be seen by mental health staff, but was told
that he could only regularly see staff if his inmate mental
health classification was a Level 3. Id. at 6-7
(¶ 27). But because Walsh was not taking psychiatric
medications, he did not qualify for a Level 3. Ibid.
2013, Walsh was transferred to MWCI. Id. at 7
(¶ 28). On August 29, 2016, he wrote a two-page letter
to Carol Chapdelaine, who was then the warden of MWCI,
informing her of his documented mental health diagnoses and
treatment, and explaining that his confinement at MWCI had
worsened his symptoms. Ibid. (¶ 29). Walsh also
requested that he be placed on single-cell status at MWCI.
Ibid. That same day, he also filed a Request for
Reasonable Accommodations (“RRA”) requesting
single-cell status. Ibid. (¶ 30). In the RRA,
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 an Inmate Request to Dr.
Joseph Coleman, asking to schedule an appointment for an
evaluation and stating that his “mental health
condition [was] deteriorating due to conditions within [his]
cell” and describing his difficulty to relate to others
in his unit. Id. at 7-8 (¶ 31). Dr. Coleman
failed to respond. Ibid. (¶ 31).
September 29, 2016, Walsh sent a second letter to Warden
Chapdelaine, who had not responded to his first letter, again
seeking approval for single-cell status. Id. at 8
(¶ 32). Walsh explained that he had spoken with mental
health personnel, who commenced a treatment plan for him and
who supported single-cell status for him. Ibid. Once
again, Chapedelaine did not respond to the letter.
Ibid. (¶ 33).
December 8, 2016, Walsh sent a four-page letter to
then-Commissioner of Correction Scott Semple, requesting
approval for single-cell status. Ibid. Walsh
outlined his psychiatric conditions and explained that his
symptoms were worsening. Ibid.
month later, on January 15, 2017, Walsh wrote another letter
to Dr. Coleman, highlighting his repeated attempts to
schedule a mental health evaluation and explaining that he
was made aware of Dr. Coleman's refusal to evaluate him.
Ibid. (¶ 34). Walsh also submitted a second
RRA, explaining the reasons for single-cell status and that
he continued to suffer exacerbated symptoms of his
psychiatric conditions. Id. at 8-9 (¶ 35). He
received two responses to his second RRA later that month,
one of which stated that Dr. Coleman “would support a
temporary single-cell status [but that] final approval of
single-cell status [was] contingent upon Warden
approval.” Id. at 9 (¶¶ 36-37). The
response was signed by Dr. Coleman and a “Capt.
Hall.” Id. at 9 (¶ 37).
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 assignment, and he
needed Dr. Coleman to evaluate him. Ibid. (¶
38). 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 worsening symptoms. Ibid. (¶ 39). He
asked Dr. Coleman “to consider a more long-term or
permanent solution.” Ibid.
February 10, 2017, Walsh received a letter from Warden
Chapdelaine regarding the letter he had sent to Semple.
Id. at 9-10 (¶ 40). 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.”
learning from Chapdelaine that the proposed temporary
single-cell status was dependant on further review and
availability, as well as specific only to MWCI, Walsh
forwarded a letter to Commissioner Semple requesting
permanent single-cell status applicable to all DOC
facilities. Id. at 10 (¶ 41). He again outlined
his worsening psychiatric symptoms and the inadequate
treatment he was receiving at MWCI. Ibid. Walsh
ultimately accepted the temporary single-cell status and
thanked Chapdelaine in a follow-up letter dated February 14,
2017. Ibid. (¶ 42). 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 one 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 (¶
44). Neither Chapdelaine nor Dr. Coleman responded to
Walsh's letters and requests until after the
Commissioner's office forwarded the letters to them for a
response. Id. at 11 (¶ 45).
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 (¶ 43). “Facility
transport” provides a prisoner with a “direct and
private ride” from the facility to a court or medical
appointment, in contrast to “Central Transportation
Unit” transport, which involves group transportation of
numerous inmates. Ibid. n.2. In a letter to
Chapdelaine dated March 23, 2017, Walsh again attempted to
address the temporary nature of his single-cell status, and
also advised her of his third RRA for facility transports to
court as opposed to transporting him via Central Transport
Units (“CTUs”). Id. at 12 (¶ 46).
Chapdelaine did not respond to this letter, and Walsh
continued to endure mental health problems. Ibid.
April 3, 2017, Walsh advised Chapdelaine via Inmate Request
that his temporary single-cell status had commenced on March
24, 2017 but that he still wished to receive permanent
single-cell status. Ibid. (¶ 47). 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, but he received no response. Id. at
12-13 (¶ 48).
April 28, 2017, Walsh sent an Inmate Request to Captain Hall
inquiring about his previously submitted RRA for facility
transports. Id. at 13 (¶ 49). 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. (¶ 50). Walsh later received a response
from Hall to his April 28 Inmate Request, which explained
that Dr. Coleman had determined that facility transports were
not necessary at that time. Ibid. (¶ 53). Walsh
later filed two written grievances, dated May 8, 2017 and May
12, 2017, complaining about his inability to receive
permanent single-cell status and facility transports.
Ibid. (¶¶ 51-52).
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. Ibid.
(¶ 54). Walsh explained that it had only been three
months since his temporary single-cell status began, and Dr.
Coleman's recommendation was for “three to four
months.” Ibid. Walsh also informed Dr. Coleman
that he continued to suffer from exacerbated psychiatric
symptoms and pleaded with him to “consider the fourth
month of the initial . . . recommend[ation].”
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. Id. at
13-14 (¶ 55). Thereafter, Walsh's single-cell status
was revoked without any evaluation of his mental health
condition. Id. at 14 (¶ 56). Walsh wrote a
letter to Warden Mulligan on June 26, 2017, requesting an
extension of his single-cell status. Ibid. (¶
57). 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 ...