Brown v. Fofana, No. 22-2458 (7th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
Brown injured his knee when he fell at his former prison. He received medical care and was placed on “special needs,” which included being assigned a lower bunk, a wheelchair, and crutches. Weeks later, Brown was transferred. Over the first few months, he spent time in segregation. Brown repeatedly asked several times for medical care but received none. He was later moved to a shared cell where his cellmate, who was disabled, slept in the lower bunk. While climbing to his top bunk, Brown fell. Afterward, Brown saw a doctor who said that Brown needed surgery but that the prison would not provide it. Brown then asked the prison’s “special needs committee” to provide him “accommodations,” and he “filed an ADA reasonable accommodation request.” He also alleged violations of his Eighth Amendment rights. The district court dismissed.
The Seventh Circuit reversed, in part. Brown alleged a viable failure-to-accommodate claim, 42 U.S.C. 12132. Brown’s complaint did not need to identify any particular legal theory, nor did it need to allege all legal elements of a particular claim. Brown’s alleged knee injury renders him disabled under the ADA and he alleged failure to accommodate his disability. No rule of law required Brown to identify a particular accommodation in his complaint. The ADA “does not create a remedy for medical malpractice” but Brown’s claim is not about allegedly substandard medical care.