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Murphy v. Kamphuis

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

September 16, 2019

SHAWN MURPHY, Plaintiff,
v.
NICOLE KAMPHUIS, et al., Defendants.

         ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S RENEWED MOTION FOR ADA ACCOMMODATIONS (DKT. NO. 50), DENYING PLAINTIFF'S FIRST MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT. NO. 51), DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION REGARDING ADA ACCOMMODATIONS (DKT. NO. 54), DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL (DKT. NO. 57), DENYING AS MOOT PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PEN INSERT (DKT. NO. 65), GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE (DKT. NO. 66), GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S REPLY TO DEFENDANTS' RESPONSE TO HIS THIRD REQUEST FOR DOCUMENTS (DKT. NO. 87) AND DIRECTING DEFENDANTS TO RESPOND TO PLAINTIFF'S SECOND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT. NO. 60)

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Shawn Murphy is a state prisoner representing himself. He filed an amended complaint, alleging that the defendants violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act (RA), and asserting that they denied him access to the courts. Dkt. No. 21. On June 11, 2018, the court issued an order screening the amended complaint and permitting the plaintiff to procced on the following claims: (1) that defendants Muenchow, Kamphuis and Foster repeatedly failed to make reasonable accommodations for the plaintiff's disabilities, resulting in a lack of meaningful access to the courts, in violation of the ADA and the RA; (2) that defendants Schmidt and DeBlanc failed to contact the ADA Coordinator to get the plaintiff help for his disability, in violation of the ADA and RA; and (3) that defendants Kamphuis, Muenchow and Hartman denied the plaintiff access to the courts when they denied his requests for accommodations and denied his request for legal loan, resulting in the inability to petition the Wisconsin Supreme Court regarding his criminal case. Dkt. No. 30 at 8-9.

         The plaintiff has filed two motions for summary judgment, dkt. nos. 51, 60, and the defendants have filed one motion for summary judgment, dkt. no. 67. In addition to the dispositive motions, the plaintiff has filed a renewed motion for ADA accommodations, dkt. no. 50, a motion regarding ADA accommodations, dkt. no. 54, a motion to appoint counsel, dkt no. 57, a motion for pen inserts, dkt. no. 65, a request to file an attachment to his second motion for summary judgment, dkt. no. 66, and a response to the defendants' response to his third request for production of documents, dkt. no. 87.

         I. Plaintiff's Renewed Motion for ADA Accommodations (Dkt. No. 50)

         The plaintiff has filed a renewed motion for accommodations under the ADA and the RA. Dkt. No. 50. The plaintiff states that, unlike his prior motions in which he requested relief for the defendants' alleged failure to accommodate his disabilities, in this motion he asks that the court accommodate his disabilities. Id. at 4. The plaintiff asks the court to look at the record, determine that he has a qualifying disability, and accommodate that disability in court. Id. at 8.

         Previously, the court denied the plaintiff's motions for relief (Dkt. Nos. 44, 47) in which he argued that the defendants failed to accommodate his disability. See Dkt. No. 49. The court stated:

In these motions, the plaintiff asks for the very same things that he asked for in his amended complaint. He asks for accommodations for his disabilities, and for damages. The plaintiff has not yet proven that he has a disability, and he has not yet proven that the defendants refused to accommodate his disabilities or denied him access to the courts. To prove those things, he must follow a legal process-the same process that every person who files a lawsuit in federal court must follow. First, he must ask the defendants to provide him with information about his case. This is called discovery. The court has issued an order, requiring the parties to exchange all of their discovery by April 19, 2019. Dkt. No. 46. Next, the plaintiff must decide whether he wants to file a motion for summary judgment; he also must respond to any motion for summary judgment that the defendants might file. The deadline for filing summary judgment motions is May 19, 2019. Id. If the court allows the plaintiff's claims to proceed beyond summary judgment, he then will have the chance to prove that he has disabilities and that the defendants deliberately failed to accommodate them.
It is not appropriate legal procedure for the plaintiff to keep filing motions, asking for the very same relief that the plaintiff has asked for in the lawsuit. The court will not declare him the “winner” of the lawsuit unless and until he has gone through the proper legal process and proven his case.

         Dkt. No. 49 at 2-3.

         In the current motion, the plaintiff again argues that he has a disability, but he now wants the court to accommodate his disability. The fact remains that the plaintiff must prove that he has a disability-that is an issue in this case, as explained above. And to prove that, the plaintiff must follow the legal process the court discussed above.

         The plaintiff also does not explain what accommodation he believes this court should provide. He says that because his brain doesn't work right, he doesn't have equal access to the courts, and this is why he asks for accommodations in court. Dkt. No. 50 at 2. It is not clear from the motion, but it appears that the plaintiff is arguing that the “accommodation” he believes this court should provide him is to rule in his favor, find that he is disabled within the meaning of the ADA, and grant the relief he requests against the defendants. He states that if the court doesn't grant his request for accommodations from the court, “[t]he court will show itself violating the same rights but in the court.” Id. at 3. The plaintiff appears to be continuing his pattern of asking the court to declare him the winner of the lawsuit before he has followed all the steps required. The court will deny this motion.

         II. Plaintiff's Motion Regarding ADA Accommodations (Dkt. No. 54)

         In this motion, the plaintiff again argues that he is “100% qualified for accommodations to give [him] meaningful court access.” Dkt. No. 54 at 1. He reiterates that he has a disability.

         The plaintiff filed forty-nine pages of exhibits, including a Reasonable Modification/Accommodation Request form that he submitted on August 8, 2018. Dkt. No. 54-1 at 20. This form indicates that on September 12, 2018, ADA Coordinator Aimee Wilson approved the plaintiff's request for accommodation/modification and allowed him one to three hours per week of additional library time to work on his legal work. Id. The plaintiff states that the “main problem” is the librarian, Mr. Webster (not a defendant), who doesn't believe in the ADA or in giving the plaintiff extra library time. Id. at 3. The plaintiff states that he can barely work with Mr. Webster, who thinks he can teach the plaintiff and who “drives [the plaintiff] nuts, ” and who does the schedule for the library so the plaintiff does not get his accommodation. Id. The plaintiff states that he filed several complaints about this and that Mr. Webster and Mr. Helmer, who is the Education Director, did not do anything to help him. Id. at 3-4.

         The plaintiff also states that he wrote a letter to the DOC about this issue and that defendant Warden Brian Foster responded to the letter. Id. at 5. He attaches a letter dated February 8, 2019 from Warden Foster which states:

Your letter to the Director of the Department of Corrections was forwarded to me for review and response. In your correspondence you contend that your disability, as it relates to the use of the library at WCI, is not being accommodated.
I noted that you're in the process of addressing the current matter through litigation and I have communicated with you regarding this issue in the past. It has not been determined, nor were you able to support your assertion of having a disability. Nonetheless, in consultation with the Education Department, you will be afforded an opportunity for extra library time to address your needs. Specifically, each week, once all library passes are scheduled, up to 3 extra hours of library time per week may be given to you to work on ...

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