United States District Court, D. Minnesota
LEONARD J. RICHARDS, Plaintiff,
STATE OF MINNESOTA, by Lori R. Swanson, its Attorney General; MIKE HERMERDING, State Program Administrative Manager Principal of the Department of Corrections of the State of Minnesota “DOC”, in his individual and official capacities; SHEILA PACKWOOD, Food Program Director of the DOC, in her individual and official capacities; NANETTE M. LARSON, Health Services Director of the DOC, in her individual and official capacities; THOMAS A. ROY, Commissioner of the DOC, in his individual and official capacities also known as Tom Roy; MARK BRANDT DAYTON, Governor of the State of Minnesota, in his official capacity also known as Mark Dayton; STEPHEN F. SIMON, Secretary of State of the State of Minnesota, in his individual capacity also known as Steve Simon, and BRADLEY K. ANDERSON Election Administrator of the Secretary, in his individual capacity also known as Brad Anderson; and all persons in concern with any of the defendants or on their behalf, Defendants.
Leonard J. Richards, No. 149837, MCF-Stillwater, pro se.
Margaret E. Jacot, Assistant Attorney General, MINNESOTA
ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, for defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ON REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE DATED JANUARY 14,
R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE
Leonard J. Richards is an inmate at the Minnesota
Correctional Facility in Stillwater, Minnesota
(“MCF-Stillwater”). Richards commenced the
instant action against the State of Minnesota
(“State”), Minnesota Secretary of State Donald
Mark Ritchie, Minnesota Election Administrator Brad Anderson,
Minnesota Data Practices Compliance Officer Bert Black,
Minnesota Commissioner of Correction Thomas A. Roy, Governor
of Minnesota Mark Brandt Dayton, and Thomas Edward Nelson.
Richards asserted claims under the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”), Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Rehabilitation
Act”), various amendments of the United States
Constitution and Minnesota Constitution, and certain
Minnesota election statutes.
moved to dismiss Richards' First Amended Complaint. The
Court granted the defendants' motion in part, dismissing
all of Richards' claims except the ADA claims against the
State and Roy. The Court permitted Richards to amend his
Complaint to provide additional facts supporting several of
the claims dismissed without prejudice.
addition to reasserting claims against the State, Dayton,
Roy, Anderson, and Minnesota Secretary of State Stephen
Simon,  Richards' Second Amended Complaint
alleged claims against Department of Corrections'
(“DOC”) employees Mike Hermerding, Sheila
Packwood, and Nanette Larson. As well as claims premised on the
ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and the United States Constitution,
Richards brought a new claim pursuant to Section 1557 of the
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Affordable
answered the Second Amended Complaint and filed a partial
motion to dismiss, arguing the Court should dismiss all of
Richards' claims except Richards' ADA claims against
the State and DOC Defendants in their official capacities and
Rehabilitation Act claims against DOC Defendants in their
official capacities. On January 14, 2016, United States
Magistrate Judge Janie S. Mayeron issued a Report and
Recommendation (“2016 R&R”), recommending the
Court grant Defendants' partial motion to dismiss in
part. The Magistrate Judge recommended denying
Defendants' motion with regard to Richards'
Rehabilitation Act claims against the State, and granting in
all other respects.
objected to the 2016 R&R on various grounds. Because
Richards failed to state a claim on which relief may be
granted on the claims subject to the partial motion to
dismiss, except the Rehabilitation Act claim against the
State, the Court will adopt the 2016 R&R, allowing this
case to proceed on Richards' ADA and Rehabilitation Act
claims against the State and DOC Defendants in their official
capacities. The Court will dismiss all other claims.
RICHARDS' CELIAC DISEASE ACCOMODATION
physician diagnosed Richards with celiac
disease in 2011. (Second Am. Compl.
(“SAC”) ¶ 37, Apr. 14, 2015, Docket No.
134.) Richards received an initial biopsy, which showed his
small intestine suffered damage due to the disease.
(Id. ¶¶ 66, 91.) Despite the results,
Richards alleges he never received a follow-up endoscopy,
with a biopsy, to determine whether healing occurred in
Richards' small intestine. (Id. ¶¶ 65,
92, 111.) Richards also requested, but did not receive,
genetic testing to assess whether celiac disease caused the
damage to his small intestine or whether another disease was
to blame. (Id. ¶¶ 66-68, 93.)
December 23, 2011, Richards obtained a disability
accommodation under the ADA. (Id. ¶ 12.)
Richards' accommodation required the prison to provide a
gluten-free and diabetic-appropriate diet to Richards
(collectively, “accommodation-appropriate diet”).
(Id. ¶¶ 12-14.) Richards contends,
however, that the prison repeatedly failed to furnish an
accommodation-appropriate diet. (Id. ¶¶
64, 89, 94, 107; see also Pl.'s Objs. to 2016
R&R (“2016 Objs.”) ¶¶ 3, 5, Aug.
23, 2016, Docket No. 356.) Instead, the DOC used
Richards's celiac disease and diabetes to retaliate
against him. (SAC ¶ 34, see also 2016 Objs.
¶¶ 3, 5, 7.) For example, Richards alleges that the
Food Service Director at the Minnesota Correctional Facility
in Faribault told Richards, “[d]octors have invented
the gluten problem, ” (SAC ¶ 64(a)), and refused
to give him gluten-free sustenance, (id. ¶
64(c)). Another “frequent ploy” Richards alleges
occurred when the prison kitchen neglected to send
Richards' meal and then “avoid[ed] answering
the telephone and the in-prison radio”
when prison guards called to request Richards' meal.
(Id. ¶ 108.) Further, Richards alleges
Hermerding denied Richards access to his dietitian - now the
DOC Food Program Director - when Hermerding prevented
Richards from sending correspondence. (Id.
¶¶ 85-86, 113.)
addition to an accommodation-appropriate diet, dental care is
an essential part of the treatment for celiac disease.
(Id. ¶¶ 36, 38.) Richards' original
accommodation did not explicitly require provision of
gluten-free dental materials. (Id. ¶ 15.)
Richards filed a grievance and, approximately eight months
later, the DOC supplemented Richards' disability
accommodation to require gluten-free dental materials,
including gluten-free toothpaste and dental floss.
(Id. ¶¶ 16-17, 19, 29.) As a part of this
program, Richards received gluten-free dental materials for
use in the prison dental clinic, but the DOC required
Richards to purchase gluten-free dental materials outside the
prison dental clinic. (Id. ¶¶ 27-28.) In
November 2012, the DOC transferred Richards to the Medical
Unit at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Oak Park
Heights (“MCF-OPF”) for “alleged
needed medical care.” (Id. ¶ 21.) Despite
Richards' accommodation, individuals at MCF-OPF denied
Richards gluten-free dental materials. (Id. ¶
22-23.) Consequently, the staff at MCF-OPF deprived Richards
of the ability to perform dental self-care. (Id.
days later, the DOC transferred Richards to MCF-Stillwater.
(Id. ¶ 22, 25.) At MCF-Stillwater, Richards
purchased gluten-free dental materials from the prison
clinic. (Id. ¶ 28.) But in September 2013 the
prison clinic at MCF-Stillwater allegedly stopped making
gluten-free dental materials available to
Richards. (Id. ¶ 31.) In recent
months, the prison clinic began supplying Richards with
gluten-free dental materials free of charge. (Id.
¶ 29.) But, since Richards' diagnosis with celiac
disease, the DOC deprived Richards' “natural teeth
and adjoining tissues . . . of reliable, uninterrupted care,
” and, Richards alleges, the lack of access to
gluten-free dental materials damaged Richards. (Id.
initiated this action on October 6, 2013 against state and
federal defendants. (Notice of Removal, Ex. A (“Summons
and Compl.”), Nov. 5, 2013, Docket No. 1.) The case was
removed to federal court, (id.), and Richards filed
his First Amended Complaint on April 10, 2014. (First Am.
Compl. (“FAC”), Apr. 10, 2014, Docket No. 28.)
Defendants filed a motion to dismiss on May 21, 2014. (State
Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, May 21, 2014, Docket No. 31.) On
January 30, 2015, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation (“2015 R&R”), recommending the
Court grant in part, and deny in part, defendants' motion
to dismiss. (2015 R&R at 86-88, Jan. 30, 2015, Docket No.
110.) After considering Richards' objections, the Court
adopted the 2015 R&R. (Mem. Op. & Order Adopting
R&Rs of Magistrate Judge, Mar. 30, 2015, Docket No. 125.)
The Court permitted Richards to amend his Complaint to
provide additional facts supporting several claims dismissed
without prejudice. (Id. at 25.)
April 14, 2015, Richards filed a Second Amended Complaint
alleging Defendants violated the First, Fifth, Eighth, and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the ADA, the
Rehabilitation Act, and the Affordable Care Act. (SAC
¶¶ 41, 47, 51, 70, 80, 88, 95, 98, 106, 113-14.)
Defendants filed an Answer to the Second Amended Complaint,
(Defs.' Answer to SAC, May 5, 2015, Docket No. 145), and
filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended
Complaint, (Defs.' Partial Mot. to Dismiss SAC, May 5,
2015, Docket No. 147). Defendants argued the Court should
dismiss all Richards' claims except his ADA claims
against the State and the DOC Defendants in their official
capacities and his Rehabilitation Act claims against the DOC
Defendants in their official capacities.
Magistrate Judge issued the 2016 R&R, recommending the
Court grant in part and deny in part Defendants' Partial
Motion to Dismiss. (2016 R&R at 39-40, Jan. 15, 2016,
Docket No. 237.) The Magistrate Judge recommended denying
Defendants' motion with regard to Richards'
Rehabilitation Act claim against the State, but granting in
all other respects. (Id.) After the Court granted
Richards' request for an extension of time to file his
objections,  (see Order Extension Time File
Obj. 2016 R&R, June 23, 2016, ...