Case: Coen v. Georgia Department of Corrections

5:16-cv-00353 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia

Filed Date: Aug. 3, 2016

Closed Date: 2018

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On August 3, 2016, a prisoner with a hearing disability incarcerated at Central State Prison in Georgia filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. The plaintiff sued the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDOC) Commissioner, wardens, and counselors at his prison under 42 USC § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act, § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The complaint alleged that the curr…

On August 3, 2016, a prisoner with a hearing disability incarcerated at Central State Prison in Georgia filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. The plaintiff sued the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDOC) Commissioner, wardens, and counselors at his prison under 42 USC § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act, § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The complaint alleged that the current TTY system at the GDOC was inaccessible, inoperable, outmoded, and obsolete. The plaintiff had been in prison for nine years, and during that time was unable to communicate with family, friends, and lawyers. Further, he alleged that he had no access to religion or education in his native language (American Sign Language). He claimed that he had exhausted all administrative avenues for relief, and that prison administrators had ignored or denied all of his requests. The plaintiff initiated the lawsuit pro se, but was later represented by the ACLU, the National Association of the Deaf, and private counsel. He sought injunctive relief in the form of inmate calling services, TTY, and/or VRS services. He also asked for $15 million in damages for pain and suffering as well as violation of his constitutional rights. The case was assigned to Judge Marc Thomas Treadwell and then referred to Magistrate Judge Stephen Hyles.

The plaintiff filed an amended complaint on January 26, 2017, adding several defendants but no new claims. On February 15, 2017 Magistrate Judge Hyles ordered that the plaintiff’s action could go forward against all named defendants. 2017 WL 1380511. The plaintiff was released from prison on February 18, 2017. The plaintiff spent the next several months serving all of the defendants.

On September 8, 2017, multiple defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint and stay discovery.

Several months of relative inaction followed, until the plaintiff, now represented by the ACLU, the National Association of the Deaf, and private counsel, moved to file a second amended complaint on June 20, 2018. In the eighty-two paged proposed second amended complaint, the plaintiff sought to withdraw his RLUIPA claim and clarify other claims. In his new claims, he highlighted how the prison, probation, and parole systems fail deaf prisoners by not providing sign language interpretation to explain rules and conditions of their release and then punishing the deaf individuals for violating the rules. He sought to add claims related to his post-incarceration probation or parole. He also asked to add thirteen additional plaintiffs, seeking to represent a class of deaf or hard of hearing people currently or formerly incarcerated by GDOC. Finally, the plaintiff sought to eliminate all defendants who did not need to be parties to the case, while adding other defendants, including GDOC, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles (GBOP) and Georgia Department of Community Supervision (GDCS),

On September 13, 2018, Judge Treadwell issued an order denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint as moot and granted the plaintiff’s motion to file a second amended complaint in part. 2018 WL 4365503. He granted the plaintiff’s motion to clarify his ADA and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act claims, to withdraw his RLUIPA claim, to add one of the thirteen proposed additional plaintiffs, to eliminate unnecessary defendants, and to add GDOC and GBOP as defendants. The plaintiff’s request to add claims relating to his post-incarceration probation or parole was denied because these claims did not arise out of the alleged failure to provide effective communication inside Georgia’s prisons. The court denied the plaintiff’s request to join all but one additional plaintiff because the other proposed plaintiffs remained incarcerated, and thus, had different interests—the incarcerated individuals had an interest in enjoining GDOC’s future behavior whereas the plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief was moot because he had been released.

On the same day, Judge Treadway also issued a show cause order for why the case should not be consolidated with another, similar case, Woody v. Bryson. Civil Action No. 5:16-CV-467-MTT.

Neither party replied to the order to show cause. The plaintiff moved to voluntarily dismiss his claims, and on September 28, 2018, the court dismissed the case without prejudice. From the docket and reported activity online, it was unknown what prompted the plaintiff to dismiss the case. The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Elizabeth Johnson (2/7/2019)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6090086/parties/coen-v-bryson/


Judge(s)

Treadwell, Marc Thomas (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Brennan-Krohn, Zoe (California)

Center, Claudia B. (California)

Emilio, Anna Bitencourt (Maryland)

Miller, Ralph I. (District of Columbia)

Mizner, Susan (California)

Swette, Alexandria E G (New York)

Tucker, Kosha S (Georgia)

Young, Sean (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Cusimano, Angela Ellen (Georgia)

Judge(s)

Treadwell, Marc Thomas (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Brennan-Krohn, Zoe (California)

Center, Claudia B. (California)

Emilio, Anna Bitencourt (Maryland)

Miller, Ralph I. (District of Columbia)

Mizner, Susan (California)

Swette, Alexandria E G (New York)

Tucker, Kosha S (Georgia)

Young, Sean (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Cusimano, Angela Ellen (Georgia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

5:16-cv-00353

Docket

Coen v. GDOC

Sept. 28, 2018

Sept. 28, 2018

Docket
1

5:16-cv-00353

Complaint

Coen v. GDOC

Aug. 3, 2016

Aug. 3, 2016

Complaint
8

5:16-cv-00353

Amended Complaint

Coen v. GDOC

Jan. 6, 2017

Jan. 6, 2017

Complaint
9

5:16-cv-00353

Order and Recommendation

2017 WL 1380511

Feb. 15, 2017

Feb. 15, 2017

Order/Opinion
33

5:16-cv-00353

Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Revised Second Amended Complaint

June 20, 2018

June 20, 2018

Pleading / Motion / Brief
48

5:16-cv-00353

Order to Show Cause

Coen v. GDOC

2018 WL 4365503

Sept. 13, 2018

Sept. 13, 2018

Order/Opinion
47

5:16-cv-00353

Order

2018 WL 4365503

Sept. 13, 2018

Sept. 13, 2018

Order/Opinion
50

5:16-cv-00353

Stipulation for Dismissal Under Rule 41

Sept. 28, 2018

Sept. 28, 2018

Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6090086/coen-v-bryson/

Last updated Aug. 2, 2022, 3:26 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
11

ORDER ADOPTING 9 Report and Recommendations and DENYING 6 Motion for Injunction. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to forward Bell a copy of the Court's standard § 1983 forms and the necessary forms to permit him to move to proceed in forma pauperis. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE MARC THOMAS TREADWELL on 4/13/2017. (tlh)

April 13, 2017

April 13, 2017

RECAP
1

COMPLAINT against All Defendants (Attachments: # 1 Envelope),filed by JERRY THOMAS COEN. (Attachments: # 1 Envelope)(ans) (Entered: 08/04/2016)

Aug. 3, 2016

Aug. 3, 2016

Clearinghouse
29

Order for Response

June 12, 2018

June 12, 2018

PACER
4

MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis Filed by JERRY THOMAS COEN.. Motion(s) referred to STEPHEN HYLES.(ans) (Entered: 08/04/2016)

Aug. 3, 2016

Aug. 3, 2016

2

ORDER REFERRING CASE to Magistrate Judge issued at the direction of the Court. (ans) (Entered: 08/04/2016)

Aug. 4, 2016

Aug. 4, 2016

5

ORDER denying 4 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. Ordered by US MAGISTRATE JUDGE STEPHEN HYLES on 09/07/2016 (efw) (Entered: 09/07/2016)

Sept. 7, 2016

Sept. 7, 2016

Filing fee Paid $400.00 (ans) (Entered: 09/19/2016)

Sept. 19, 2016

Sept. 19, 2016

6

MOTION for an Injunction Filed by TIMOTHY O'NEAL BELL. (Attachments: # 1 Envelope). Motion(s) referred to STEPHEN HYLES.(ans) (Entered: 11/28/2016)

Nov. 28, 2016

Nov. 28, 2016

7

Letter from JERRY COEN regarding request for another consent form − 3 consent form sent to plaintiff re 3 Consent to Proceed Form Sent (ans) (Entered: 11/30/2016)

Nov. 30, 2016

Nov. 30, 2016

8

AMENDED COMPLAINT re 1 Complaint against All Defendants by JERRY THOMAS COEN (Attachments: # 1 Attachments − Various prison documents not marked as exhibits, # 2 Cover Letter, # 3 Envelope)(ans) (Entered: 01/09/2017)

Jan. 6, 2017

Jan. 6, 2017

Clearinghouse
9

ORDER directing Plaintiff to serve the individual Defendants. REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION recommending denial of 6 MOTION for an Injunction filed by TIMOTHY O'NEAL BELL. Ordered by US MAGISTRATE JUDGE STEPHEN HYLES on 2/15/2017. (efw) (Entered: 02/15/2017)

Feb. 15, 2017

Feb. 15, 2017

Clearinghouse
10

NOTICE of Change of Address by JERRY THOMAS COEN. His Release date is 02/18/2017. (Attachments: # 1 Envelope)(cma) (Entered: 02/15/2017)

Feb. 15, 2017

Feb. 15, 2017

12

Letter from JERRY THOMAS COEN regarding update to Court regarding service (Attachments: # 1 Envelope)(ans) (Entered: 07/17/2017)

July 17, 2017

July 17, 2017

13

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed as to WILLIAM CZARNESKI (ans) (Entered: 08/10/2017)

Aug. 10, 2017

Aug. 10, 2017

14

MOTION to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint by WALTER BERRY, HOMER BRYSON, JOHN FAGAN, JONES, SHENECA KING, MICHAEL THOMAS, JUANITA THORPE filed by ANGELA ELLEN CUSIMANO. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support). Motion(s) referred to STEPHEN HYLES.(CUSIMANO, ANGELA) Modified to remove TIMOTHY O'NEAL BELL on 9/14/2017 (ans). (Entered: 09/08/2017)

Sept. 8, 2017

Sept. 8, 2017

15

MOTION to Stay Discovery by WALTER BERRY, HOMER BRYSON, JOHN FAGAN, JONES, SHENECA KING, MICHAEL THOMAS, JUANITA THORPE filed by ANGELA ELLEN CUSIMANO. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support). Motion(s) referred to STEPHEN HYLES.(CUSIMANO, ANGELA) Modified on to remove TIMOTHY O'NEAL BELL as a filer 9/14/2017 (ans). (Entered: 09/08/2017)

Sept. 8, 2017

Sept. 8, 2017

16

ORDER for Response to Motion re: 14 MOTION to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint filed by WALTER BERRY, SHENECA KING, JOHN FAGAN, HOMER BRYSON, JONES, MICHAEL THOMAS, JUANITA THORPE. Plaintiff is ordered to respond to Defendant's motion within twenty one (21) days. Ordered by US MAGISTRATE JUDGE STEPHEN HYLES on 9−13−17. (bdd) Modified to remove TIMOTHY O'NEAL BELL from docket text on 9/14/2017 (ans). TIMOTHY O'NEAL BELL was selected as a filer in error when 14 was docketed. (Entered: 09/13/2017)

Sept. 13, 2017

Sept. 13, 2017

17

This is a text only entry; no document issued. ORDER granting 15 Motion to Stay discovery. Discovery is stayed pending response to, and consideration of, Defendant's motion to dismiss. Ordered by US MAGISTRATE JUDGE STEPHEN HYLES on 9−13−17. (bdd) (Entered: 09/13/2017)

Sept. 13, 2017

Sept. 13, 2017

18

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed as to MICHAEL THOMAS (ans) (Entered: 09/18/2017)

Sept. 18, 2017

Sept. 18, 2017

20

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed as to RACHEAL MONCRIEF (ans) (Entered: 09/18/2017)

Sept. 18, 2017

Sept. 18, 2017

21

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed as to SHENECA KING (ans) (Entered: 09/18/2017)

Sept. 18, 2017

Sept. 18, 2017

22

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed as to HALL (ans) (Entered: 09/18/2017)

Sept. 18, 2017

Sept. 18, 2017

23

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed as to HOMER BRYSON (ans) (Entered: 09/18/2017)

Sept. 18, 2017

Sept. 18, 2017

24

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed as to WILLIAM CZARNESKI (ans) (Entered: 09/18/2017)

Sept. 18, 2017

Sept. 18, 2017

25

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed as to WALTER BERRY (ans) (Entered: 09/18/2017)

Sept. 18, 2017

Sept. 18, 2017

26

MOTION for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint Filed by JERRY THOMAS COEN. (Attachments: # 1 Envelope). Motion(s) referred to STEPHEN HYLES.(ans) (Entered: 04/17/2018)

April 17, 2018

April 17, 2018

27

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by SEAN JENGWEI YOUNG on behalf of All Plaintiffs Attorney SEAN JENGWEI YOUNG added to party JERRY THOMAS COEN(pty:pla) (YOUNG, SEAN) (Entered: 06/07/2018)

June 7, 2018

June 7, 2018

28

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by KOSHA S TUCKER on behalf of All Plaintiffs Attorney KOSHA S TUCKER added to party JERRY THOMAS COEN(pty:pla) (TUCKER, KOSHA) (Entered: 06/07/2018)

June 7, 2018

June 7, 2018

US MAGISTRATE JUDGE STEPHEN HYLES no longer assigned to case. (ans) (Entered: 06/08/2018)

June 8, 2018

June 8, 2018

30

STIPULATION re 26 MOTION for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint by JERRY THOMAS COEN (CENTER, CLAUDIA) (Entered: 06/15/2018)

June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018

Notice of Deficiency (related document(s): 30 Stipulation re 26 MOTION for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint filed by JERRY THOMAS COEN ); Other. The parties may not stipulate to extend response and reply deadlines for motions. Leave of Court is required. A motion to extend the response and reply deadlines must be filed. (ggs) Modified spelling of motion on 6/18/2018 (ans). (Entered: 06/15/2018)

June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018

31

Order granting Petition for Admission Pro Hac Vice (Petition Attached); Attorney Admission Fee Met by RALPH I MILLER (nop) (Entered: 06/19/2018)

June 19, 2018

June 19, 2018

32

Order granting Petition for Admission Pro Hac Vice (Petition Attached); Attorney Admission Fee Met by AUDREY E STANO (nop) (Entered: 06/20/2018)

June 20, 2018

June 20, 2018

33

MOTION to Amend/Correct 8 Amended Complaint by JERRY THOMAS COEN filed by CLAUDIA CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A − Proposed Second Amended Complaint, # 2 Proposed Order)(CENTER, CLAUDIA) (Entered: 06/20/2018)

June 20, 2018

June 20, 2018

Clearinghouse
34

This is a text only entry; no document issued. ORDER re 30 Stipulation filed by JERRY THOMAS COEN: Defendants have through and including July 11, 2018 to respond to 33 Motion to Amend/Correct Amended Complaint. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE MARC THOMAS TREADWELL on 6/20/18. (lnb) (Entered: 06/20/2018)

June 20, 2018

June 20, 2018

36

RESPONSE filed by JERRY THOMAS COEN re 14 MOTION to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (CENTER, CLAUDIA) (Entered: 06/26/2018)

June 26, 2018

June 26, 2018

37

AFFIDAVIT re 36 Response to Motion to Dismiss by JERRY THOMAS COEN (CENTER, CLAUDIA) (Entered: 06/26/2018)

June 26, 2018

June 26, 2018

38

Order granting Petition for Admission Pro Hac Vice (Petition Attached); Attorney Admission Fee Met by ANNA BITENCOURT EMILIO (nop) (Entered: 07/09/2018)

July 9, 2018

July 9, 2018

39

RESPONSE filed by BASELY, TIMOTHY O'NEAL BELL, WALTER BERRY, HOMER BRYSON, CHILDRESS, WILLIAM CZARNESKI, MIZELL DAVIS re 33 MOTION to Amend/Correct 8 Amended Complaint (CUSIMANO, ANGELA) (Entered: 07/11/2018)

July 11, 2018

July 11, 2018

40

REPLY to Response filed by BASELY, TIMOTHY O'NEAL BELL, WALTER BERRY, HOMER BRYSON, CHILDRESS, WILLIAM CZARNESKI, MIZELL DAVIS re 33 MOTION to Amend/Correct 8 Amended Complaint (CUSIMANO, ANGELA) (Entered: 07/13/2018)

July 13, 2018

July 13, 2018

41

Order granting Petition for Admission Pro Hac Vice (Petition Attached); Attorney Admission Fee Met by SUSAN MIZNER, CLAUDIA CENTER (Attachments: # 1 Pro Hac Vice Admission) (nop) (Entered: 07/18/2018)

July 18, 2018

July 18, 2018

42

REPLY to Response filed by JERRY THOMAS COEN re 33 MOTION to Amend/Correct 8 Amended Complaint (CENTER, CLAUDIA) (Entered: 07/25/2018)

July 25, 2018

July 25, 2018

Notice of Deficiency (related document(s): 42 Reply to Response to Motion filed by JERRY THOMAS COEN ); Certificate of Service not attached. Do NOT refile document − file only the Certificate of Service and link to document. (mdm) (Entered: 07/26/2018)

July 26, 2018

July 26, 2018

43

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by JERRY THOMAS COEN re 42 Reply to Response to Motion (CENTER, CLAUDIA) (Entered: 07/27/2018)

July 27, 2018

July 27, 2018

44

MOTION to Vacate by JERRY THOMAS COEN filed by CLAUDIA CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support of Motion to Lift Stay of Discovery, # 2 Proposed Order Granting Motion to Lift Stay)(CENTER, CLAUDIA) (Entered: 08/13/2018)

Aug. 13, 2018

Aug. 13, 2018

45

Order granting Petition for Admission Pro Hac Vice (Petition Attached); Attorney Admission Fee Met by ZOE BRENNAN−KROHN (nop) (Entered: 08/21/2018)

Aug. 21, 2018

Aug. 21, 2018

46

RESPONSE filed by BASELY, WALTER BERRY, HOMER BRYSON, CHILDRESS, WILLIAM CZARNESKI, MIZELL DAVIS, JOHN FAGAN, HALL, JONES, SHENECA KING, RACHEAL MONCRIEF, PHILLIP, MICHAEL THOMAS, JUANITA THORPE re 44 MOTION to Vacate (CUSIMANO, ANGELA) (Entered: 09/04/2018)

Sept. 4, 2018

Sept. 4, 2018

49

NOTICE of Voluntary Dismissal by JERRY THOMAS COEN (CENTER, CLAUDIA) (Entered: 09/27/2018)

Sept. 27, 2018

Sept. 27, 2018

50

STIPULATION of Dismissal by JERRY THOMAS COEN (CENTER, CLAUDIA) (Entered: 09/28/2018)

Sept. 28, 2018

Sept. 28, 2018

Clearinghouse
47

ORDER DENYING as moot 14 Motion to Dismiss; DENYING as moot 26 Motion for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint; GRANTING in part and DENYING in part 33 Motion to Amend/Correct 8 Amended Complaint; and GRANTING 44 Motion to Lift Stay. The parties have 90 days from the date of this order to complete discovery. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE MARC THOMAS TREADWELL on 9/13/2018. (tlh)

Sept. 13, 2018

Sept. 13, 2018

RECAP
48

Order to Show Cause

Sept. 13, 2018

Sept. 13, 2018

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Georgia

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Disability Rights

Special Collection(s):

Deaf or Blind in Jail/Prison

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 3, 2016

Closing Date: 2018

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

A deaf prisoner incarcerated by the Georgia Department of Corrections, whose native language is American Sign Language.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU Affiliates (any)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Denied

Defendants

Georgia Department of Corrections, State

Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles , State

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.

Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Equal Protection

Free Exercise Clause

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

General:

Effective Communication (ADA)

TTY/Close Captioning/Videophone/etc.

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

Hearing impairment

Type of Facility:

Government-run