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Andrews v. Rauner

2018 WL 3748401 (2018)

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Andrews v. Rauner

United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

2018 WL 3748401 (2018)

Facts

Tiffany Rusher (plaintiff) was a prisoner in the State of Illinois (defendant). Prior to incarceration, Rusher had not been diagnosed with a mental illness. During her imprisonment, Rusher was put in solitary confinement for a discipline issue, and Rusher’s mental health began to deteriorate. Rusher made several attempts at self-harm and was returned to solitary confinement as a punishment for each attempt. After a year, the prison medical staff (defendants) diagnosed Rusher with several mental disorders and noted that Rusher was at continued risk of harming herself. The medical staff further noted that Rusher needed time outside of her cell to engage in activities like socializing and writing. However, unlike prisoners with physical illnesses who were transferred out of the prison for advanced medical care, Rusher was monitored in the facility and eventually put in a crisis cell due to her worsening condition. Rusher was kept medicated in isolation, had all personal belongings confiscated, and was put under 24-hour guard observation. Rusher participated in group therapy sessions, but after each self-harm attempt, the prison cancelled Rusher’s therapy sessions as punishment. Kelli Andrews (plaintiff), the administrator of Rusher’s estate, filed suit against the state, the prison staff, and Bruce Rauner (defendant), the governor of Illinois. Andrews alleged that the state violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by discriminating against Rusher and failing to provide reasonable accommodations for Rusher’s conditions. Andrew argued that Rusher had a disabling mental condition that limited major life activities and that by denying Rusher inpatient psychological treatment and putting her in isolation, the prison denied Rusher access to education, recreation, exercise, human interaction, and mental-health treatment. The state moved for summary judgment, arguing that inadequate treatment was not grounds for an ADA claim and that human contact was not a program or service under the statute.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Myerscough, J.)

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