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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Shariff v. Goord PC-NY-0057
Docket / Court 6:04-cv-06621-CJS-JWF ( W.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Special Collection Post-PLRA Jail and Prison Private Settlement Agreements
Case Summary
This single Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse case summary describes developments in a series of cases instituted by a disabled state prisoner in New York and dealing with safe transportation of prisoners who use wheelchairs. The cases were:
01-cv-1140 (Southern District of New York)
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This single Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse case summary describes developments in a series of cases instituted by a disabled state prisoner in New York and dealing with safe transportation of prisoners who use wheelchairs. The cases were:
01-cv-1140 (Southern District of New York)
04-cv-6621 (Western District of New York),
05-cv-6025 (retaliation claim, Western District of New York),
05-cv-2903 (failure to protect claim, Southern District of New York).
The same prisoner also filed a bladder care case (filed in the Southern District as 03-cv-07664, and then transferred to the Western District 05-cv-6504), but that litigation is treated separately in PC-NY-0063.

On February 14, 2001, the paraplegic, wheelchair-using New York state prisoner filed a pro se complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. After obtaining counsel in that action, he filed a first amended complaint on September 6, 2002, against officials of the New York State Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS"). That first amended complaint contained transportation-related allegations similar or identical to the allegations contained in a separate complaint he later filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. Through his Southern District lawsuit, plaintiff sought injunctive relief requiring the named defendants to transport in a safe manner disabled prisoners who require the use of a wheelchair. He alleged that he and similarly-situated prisoners were often transported by DOCS vehicles to receive medical care not available within the facilities housing them. During these occasions, he said, their wheelchairs were inappropriate for use in vehicles or were insufficiently secured within the vehicles. On May 6, 2003, plaintiff moved District Judge Deborah A. Batts, in the Southern District of New York, for a preliminary injunction, asking that defendants be ordered to transport plaintiffs in a safe manner and with procedures and equipment that are consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). Less than three weeks later, DOCS transferred plaintiff to a prison facility outside the Southern District and, on June 9, 2003, filed their opposition to issuance of the requested injunction, saying his transfer to the different facility made his request moot. On August 8, 2003, Judge Batts denied the requested injunctive relief.

After the plaintiff had been moved in 2003, and represented by private counsel, he filed a second complaint on December 12, 2004, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. In it, he noted that his move in a vehicle while in a wheelchair to his new facility occurred with the same disregard for his safety as the defendants had previously displayed and reiterated many allegations made in his transportation-based Southern District lawsuit. Plaintiff's transportation-based complaints in both districts basically asserted six causes of action. He alleged that defendants' failure to provide safe transportation to prisoners who require a wheelchair for mobility, including plaintiff: (1) demonstrated deliberate indifference and/or willful neglect to plaintiff's serious medical needs constituting cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution; (2) deprived plaintiff of liberty and property without due process of law in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution; (3) discriminated against qualified individuals with disabilities, including plaintiff, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12132; (4) discriminated against qualified individuals with disabilities, including plaintiff, solely by reason of their disability, in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794; (5) by failing to provide adequate treatment of plaintiff's wrist injury suffered during the unsafe transportation of him in a wheelchair, a defendant demonstrated deliberate indifference and/or willful neglect to plaintiff's serious medical needs constituting cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution; and (6) by failing to provide adequate treatment of that wrist injury, a defendant demonstrated deliberate indifference and/or willful neglect to plaintiff's serious medical needs and deprived him of liberty and property without due process of law in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages, as well as appropriate injunctive relief and attorney's fees.

In the Western District transportation-based case, a defense motion to dismiss was denied by District Judge Charles J. Siragusa in a July 27, 2005, unpublished order. Judge Siragusa ruled that the Eleventh Amendment did not bar plaintiff's effort for injunctive relief against state officials sued in their official capacity as to the first cause of action, nor his seeking damages from those officials in his third and fourth causes of action. Neither were his claims so similar to those made in the Southern District case that the Western District case would have to be dismissed under the first-to-file rule, according to the judge. He noted that the parties had agreed to dismiss the second and sixth causes of action.

Plaintiff's request that this case be certified as a class action was granted in an order by Judge Siragusa, on April 5, 2006 (as modified on July 20, 2006). The judge described the class as consisting of DOCS inmates who use a wheelchair during vehicular transportation. The judge rejected the defendants' claim that class certification would be error in that the Eleventh Amendment barred a federal court from granting part of plaintiff's requested relief (required training for DOCS employees). Shariff v. Goord, 235 F.R.D. 563 (W.D.N.Y. 2006).

On October 20, 2011, Judge Siragusa approved the parties' settlement of both the plaintiff's personal injury claims and the class claims in two separate stipulations. The defendants were ordered to pay $20,000 in damages and $74,942.11 in attorneys' fees and costs. The defendants also agreed to address the inadequacies in transportation for prisoners in wheelchairs. The plaintiff agreed to discontinue all pending litigation except Shariff v. Goord, 05-cv-6504 (PC-NY-0063). Litigation that was discontinued included the original motor vehicle wheelchair accident claim (01-cv-1140), a retaliation claim (05-cv-6025), and a failure to protect claim (05-cv-2903).

Mike Fagan - 05/02/2008
Jessica Kincaid - 03/02/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
Mobility impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Bathing and hygiene
Bathrooms
Personal injury
Transportation
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) New York State Department of Correctional Services
Plaintiff Description "all prisoners in the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services who must now or in the future use a wheelchair for mobility..."
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2011
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PC-NY-0063 : Shariff v. Allah (W.D.N.Y.)
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)
6:04-cv-06621-CJS-JWF (W.D.N.Y.) 05/21/2012
PC-NY-0057-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion and Order [Regarding Plaintiffs' Motion for Counsel] 08/31/2004 (2004 WL 1944681 / 2004 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 17498) (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0057-0007 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum Opinion and Order [Regarding Submission of the Case to the Pro Bono Panel] 10/15/2004 (2004 WL 2339781) (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0057-0008 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Complaint 12/20/2004
PC-NY-0057-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Decision & Order [Regarding Defendants' Motion to Dismiss with Respect to the Second and Sixth Causes of Action] 07/27/2005 (W.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0057-0002 PDF | Detail
Amended Decision & Order [Regarding Defendants' Motion to Dismiss with Respect to the Second and Sixth Causes of Action] 08/04/2005 (2005 WL 1863560 / 2005 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 22443) (W.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0057-0009 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum & Order [Transferring Venue] 08/26/2005 (2005 WL 2087840 / 2005 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 18602) (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0057-0010 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Decision and Order [Regarding Class Certification] 04/05/2006 (235 F.R.D. 563) (W.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0057-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Amended Decision and Order [Regarding Class Certification] 07/20/2006 (2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 49957) (W.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0057-0011 PDF | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Stipulation & Order of Settlement 10/19/2011 (W.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0057-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Rule 41 Voluntary Stipulation of Partial Dismissal Subject to Conditions 10/19/2011 (W.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0057-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Batts, Deborah A. (S.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0057-0010
Feldman, Jonathan W. (W.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
PC-NY-0057-9000
Pitman, Henry B. (S.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
PC-NY-0057-0007 | PC-NY-0057-0008
Siragusa, Charles J. (W.D.N.Y.)
PC-NY-0057-0002 | PC-NY-0057-0003 | PC-NY-0057-0004 | PC-NY-0057-0005 | PC-NY-0057-0009 | PC-NY-0057-0011 | PC-NY-0057-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Koob, Elizabeth L. (New York)
PC-NY-0057-9000
Magoolaghan, Joan (New York)
PC-NY-0057-0004 | PC-NY-0057-0005 | PC-NY-0057-9000
Reinert, Alexander A. (New York)
PC-NY-0057-0001 | PC-NY-0057-0002 | PC-NY-0057-0003 | PC-NY-0057-0009 | PC-NY-0057-0011 | PC-NY-0057-9000
Shariff, Abdul (New York)
PC-NY-0057-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Levine, Gary M. (New York)
PC-NY-0057-0002 | PC-NY-0057-0003 | PC-NY-0057-0004 | PC-NY-0057-0005 | PC-NY-0057-0009 | PC-NY-0057-0011 | PC-NY-0057-9000
Schneiderman, Eric T. (New York)
PC-NY-0057-0004 | PC-NY-0057-0005
Other Lawyers None on record

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