University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Durrenberger v. Texas Department of Criminal Justice PC-TX-0013
Docket / Court 4:09-cv-00786 ( S.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On March 10, 2009, Plaintiff filed a civil rights action against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Chapter 121 of the Texas Human Resources Code, in the U.S. District Court Simeon ... read more >
On March 10, 2009, Plaintiff filed a civil rights action against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Chapter 121 of the Texas Human Resources Code, in the U.S. District Court Simeon for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. Plaintiff is a person with a physical disability that causes a hearing impairment. Because TDCJ's facility did not provide accommodations for him, and other persons with hearing disabilities, Plaintiff claimed that the lack of accommodations denied him the ability to participate in TDCJ's inmate visitation program. Represented by attorneys from the Texas Civil Rights Project, Plaintiff asked the Court for declaratory and injunctive relief, attorneys' fees, costs, and litigation expenses against Defendant TDCJ. District , presided over the case.

Plaintiff's complaint was later amended on June 03, 2009. On September 24, 2010, both parties filed motions for summary judgment. On December 2, 2010, in a published opinion, the Court (Judge Simeon Timothy Lake, III) granted Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment in part and denied it in part. Judge Lake ruled that the undisputed facts showed that TDCJ discriminated against Plaintiff based on his disability by failing to provide simple, inexpensive accommodation, such as allowing Plaintiff to conduct his visits in an attorney visit booth, or placing a low-cost volume amplifier in the telephones. Judge Lake noted that TDCJ failed to present any evidence whatsoever that accommodating Plaintiff would impose any significant financial or administrative burden.

On January 04, 2011, TDCJ filed a motion for reconsideration. Judge Lake denied the motion for reconsideration on January 24, 2011. Four days later, Judge Lake issued an order approving a settlement between the parties. On May 24, 2011, after a settlement was completed, the case was dismissed with prejudice. The terms of the settlement are not available.

Xin Chen - 10/11/2011


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Visiting
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Defendant(s) Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Plaintiff Description Plaintiff is a person with a physical disability that causes a hearing impairment.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2011
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
4:09-cv-00786 (S.D. Tex.) 05/24/2011
PC-TX-0013-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
First Amended Complaint 06/03/2009
PC-TX-0013-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment 09/24/2010
PC-TX-0013-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment 09/24/2010
PC-TX-0013-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 12/02/2010 (757 F.Supp.2d 640) (S.D. Tex.)
PC-TX-0013-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant’s Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's Order Granting Durrenberger's Motion for Summary Judgment 01/04/2011
PC-TX-0013-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 01/24/2011
PC-TX-0013-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Non-web U.S. District Court Clerk's Office
Judges Lake, Simeon Timothy III (S.D. Tex.)
PC-TX-0013-0004 | PC-TX-0013-0006 | PC-TX-0013-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Barton, Peter Joel (Texas)
PC-TX-0013-0001 | PC-TX-0013-9000
Harrington, James C (Texas)
PC-TX-0013-0001 | PC-TX-0013-0003 | PC-TX-0013-9000
Izzo, Lauren (Texas)
PC-TX-0013-0001 | PC-TX-0013-0003 | PC-TX-0013-9000
Krause, Wayne Nicholas (Texas)
PC-TX-0013-0001 | PC-TX-0013-0003 | PC-TX-0013-9000
McGiverin, Brian Rolland (Texas)
PC-TX-0013-9000
Medlock, Scott Charles (Texas)
PC-TX-0013-0001 | PC-TX-0013-0003 | PC-TX-0013-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Werner, Susan Elizabeth (Texas)
PC-TX-0013-0002 | PC-TX-0013-0005 | PC-TX-0013-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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