United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
D. Whitney, Chief United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on initial review of
Plaintiff's Complaint, filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
[Doc. 6]. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2);
1915A. On January 23, 2019, the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of North Carolina entered an order
waiving the initial filing fee and directing monthly payments
be made from Plaintiff's prison account.[Doc. 9]. Thus,
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis.
Plaintiff Rodney Elroy Cobbs (“Plaintiff”) is a
prisoner of the State of North Carolina, currently
incarcerated at Johnston Correctional Institution located in
Smithfield, North Carolina. Plaintiff filed this action on
November 28, 2018, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming
the following as Defendants in their individual and official
capacities: (1) John Doe 1, identified as the Facility ADA
Coordinator at Alexander Correctional Institution in
Taylorsville, NC; and (2) John Doe 2, identified as the
Division ADA Coordinator for the North Carolina Department of
Public Safety (NCDPS) located in Raleigh, NC. [Doc. 1 at 3].
brings claims against Defendants for violation of his rights
under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to
provide the Plaintiff, who is disabled, with reasonable
accommodation in Good Time Credit program assignments to
enable Plaintiff to receive time credits. [Doc. 1]. Plaintiff
alleges that he was designated as 100% disabled before being
incarcerated and received monthly Social Security disability
payments. Plaintiff alleges that while incarcerated his case
manager advised him that he is eligible for “ADA
medically unfit Gain time credits due to [his] medical
condition.” Plaintiff alleges, however, that he was
specifically denied this accommodation on October 26, 2017,
December 7, 2017, and March 27, 2018 after submitting Inmate
Reasonable Accommodation Request forms (IRARs). [Doc. 6 at
5-6; Doc. 6-1 at 19-24]. John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 signed the
NCDPS forms denying the Plaintiff's IRARS. [Doc. 6-1 at
22-3]. Plaintiff further alleges that he was forced to choose
between taking a job and experiencing severe pain standing
for long hours or “staying in prison longer in spite of
the fact that [he] was 100% disable[d] when [he] came to
prison.” [Doc. 6 at 6-7].
claims that as a result of these failures to provide
reasonable accommodations, the Plaintiff's physical and
mental health have deteriorated, his pain medications have
become ineffective to treat his pain, and he has become prone
to irritation, headaches, and lack of sleep. [Doc. 6 at 7].
relief, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must
review the Complaint to determine whether it is subject to
dismissal on the grounds that it is “frivolous or
malicious [or] fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Furthermore,
under § 1915A the Court must conduct an initial review
and identify and dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the
complaint, if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune to such relief.
frivolity review, this Court must determine whether the
Complaint raises an indisputably meritless legal theory or is
founded upon clearly baseless factual contentions, such as
fantastic or delusional scenarios. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989). Furthermore, a
pro se complaint must be construed liberally. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, the liberal
construction requirement will not permit a district court to
ignore a clear failure to allege facts in his Complaint which
set forth a claim that is cognizable under federal law.
Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387
(4th Cir. 1990).
Plaintiff's allegations as true for the purposes of
initial review, and construing all inferences in
Plaintiff's favor, the Court finds that the
Plaintiff's allegations of ADA violations against John
Doe 1 and John Doe 2, survive initial review. See
Pennsylvania Dep't of Corr. v. Yeskey, 524 U.S. 206,
210 (1998) (holding that the ADA applies to state prisons);
Smith v. Beck, No. 5:07-CT-3034-FL, 2010 WL 3834667,
at *6 (E.D. N.C. Sept. 29, 2010) (denying summary judgment
for defendant prison officials on disabled prisoner
plaintiff's ADA claim based on defendants' failure to
provide plaintiff with accommodation and excluding him from a
job assignment that would allow him to earn sentence