University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Medina v. Fischer PC-NY-0066
Docket / Court 1:11-cv-00176 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On January 4, 2011, visually impaired and blind inmates at Sullivan and Wende Correctional Facilities filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs, represented by Legal Aid and private attorneys, asked the court for declaratory and ... read more >
On January 4, 2011, visually impaired and blind inmates at Sullivan and Wende Correctional Facilities filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs, represented by Legal Aid and private attorneys, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief. The plaintiffs sued the State of New York for violations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the American with Disabilities Act, alleging discriminatory denial of access to services, activities and programs on the basis of their disabilities. Specifically, the plaintiffs claim that the State of New York denied them access to adequate medical care and reasonable accommodations with regard to both mobility and reading materials, among other things.

On March 14, 2014, the court (Judge James L. Cott) released an order certifying settlement class. Attached to this order was a copy of the private settlement agreement negotiated by both parties. The agreement provided that the Department of Corrections shall provide visually impaired prisoners with any reasonable accommodation recommended by a medical professional. It also provided that visually impaired prisoners will have their glasses replaced at no cost as long as the glasses were not negligently lost or broken; that the law library will have two PCs with assistive programs; that law clerks will be on hand to assist visually impaired prisoners with their legal research; that the correctional facilities will have games, books, and legal forms appropriate for use by the visually impaired; and many other things. It also included that the Department of Corrections would pay attorneys' fees to plaintiffs' counsel.

This private settlement agreement was intended to last two years, with a possibility of adding two more years if the Department of Corrections was deemed to not be following it adequately. Moreover, many of the provisions in the settlement agreement were to be added to the official facility policies of the Sullivan and Wende Correctional Facility.

On July 22, 2014, Judge Cott released a final judgment, creating the effective date of the private settlement agreement and dismissing the lawsuit with prejudice. Judge Cott ordered to keep the docket open for letters from plaintiffs about whether the correctional facilities have been following the provisions of the settlement agreement. The settlement agreement is currently due to expire on July 22, 2016, though it is possible that it will be extended for an additional two years.

Kat Brausch - 02/25/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
Visual impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Law library access
Library (non-law) access
Mail
Medical/Mental Health
Vision care
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) New York State
Plaintiff Description Visually impaired and blind inmates at Sullivan and Wende Correctional Facilities in New York State.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2014 - 2016
Case Closing Year 2014
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)
1:11-cv-00176-JLC (S.D.N.Y.) 01/16/2015
PC-NY-0066-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 01/04/2011
PC-NY-0066-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint: part 2 01/04/2011
PC-NY-0066-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint: part 3 01/04/2011
PC-NY-0066-0012.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint 04/30/2012
PC-NY-0066-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
STIPULATION OF DISMISSAL OF PLAINTIFF MORRISHAW'S CLAIMS 02/28/2014
PC-NY-0066-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
NOTICE OF JOINT MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION IN CONNECTION WITH SETTLEMENT, APPOINTMENT OF CLASS REPRESENTATIVES AND CLASS COUNSEL, PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF THE PARTIES' PRIVATE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT, AND APPROVAL OF NOTICE TO CLASS MEMBERS 02/28/2014
PC-NY-0066-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Certifying Settlement Class, Appointing Class Representatives and Class Counsel, Preliminarily Approving the Parties' Private Settlement Agreement, and Providing for Notice to Class Members. Private Settlement Agreement 03/04/2014 (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0066-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
ORDER REGARDING SUPPLEMENTAL NOTICE TO CLASS 04/15/2014 (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0066-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
STIPULATION OF DISMISSAL OF PLAINTIFF COLANTUONO'S CLAIMS 06/18/2014
PC-NY-0066-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
STIPULATION OF DISMISSAL OF PLAINTIFF MORRISHA W'S CLAIMS 06/19/2014
PC-NY-0066-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
FINAL JUDGMENT AND ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE 07/22/2014 (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0066-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Cott, James Court not on record
PC-NY-0066-0002 | PC-NY-0066-0007 | PC-NY-0066-0009 | PC-NY-0066-0010 | PC-NY-0066-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Banks, Steven L. (New York)
PC-NY-0066-0005 | PC-NY-0066-0006 | PC-NY-0066-0011 | PC-NY-0066-0012 | PC-NY-0066-9000
Boston, John (New York)
PC-NY-0066-0011 | PC-NY-0066-0012 | PC-NY-0066-9000
Fell, Katherine Kelly (New York)
PC-NY-0066-0008 | PC-NY-0066-0009 | PC-NY-0066-0011 | PC-NY-0066-0012 | PC-NY-0066-9000
Kramer, Daniel (New York)
PC-NY-0066-0005 | PC-NY-0066-0006 | PC-NY-0066-0011 | PC-NY-0066-0012 | PC-NY-0066-9000
Kudiya, Asad Ismail (New York)
PC-NY-0066-0011 | PC-NY-0066-0012 | PC-NY-0066-9000
Lenok, Marisa H. (New York)
PC-NY-0066-0011 | PC-NY-0066-0012 | PC-NY-0066-9000
Stone, Eric Alan (New York)
PC-NY-0066-0004 | PC-NY-0066-0011 | PC-NY-0066-0012 | PC-NY-0066-9000
Vela, Veronica (New York)
PC-NY-0066-0011 | PC-NY-0066-0012 | PC-NY-0066-9000
Zelermyer, Milton (New York)
PC-NY-0066-0008 | PC-NY-0066-0009 | PC-NY-0066-0011 | PC-NY-0066-0012 | PC-NY-0066-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Schulze, Daniel A. (New York)
PC-NY-0066-9000
Wen, Frederick (New York)
PC-NY-0066-0005 | PC-NY-0066-0006 | PC-NY-0066-0008 | PC-NY-0066-0009 | PC-NY-0066-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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