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Case Name Crews v. Sawyer PC-KS-0008
Docket / Court 2:19-cv-02541-CM-ADM ( D. Kan. )
State/Territory Kansas
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
Case Summary
On September 6, 2019, the plaintiff, an individual incarcerated at the Leavenworth prison facility, filed a complaint and an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order in the District Court for the District of Kansas against the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) seeking emergency, temporary, ... read more >
On September 6, 2019, the plaintiff, an individual incarcerated at the Leavenworth prison facility, filed a complaint and an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order in the District Court for the District of Kansas against the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) seeking emergency, temporary, and permanent injunctive relief from a prison policy that forbade prescription of anti-opioid medical treatment to inmates. The plaintiff was represented by attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kansas and Missouri.

Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the prison's policy of withholding medical addiction treatment (MAT) violated the Eighth Amendment's cruel and unusual punishment clause. The plaintiff described that he had not been using opioids for 15 months since his initial prescription of MAT, but if treatment was discontinued, he would experience an increased likelihood of relapse, painful withdrawals, and possible death. He also alleged that drug addiction was a disability requiring treatment under the Rehabilitation Act 27 U.S.C. 794(a). Finally, he also alleged that, as a federal facility, any of the prison's final decisions were subject to review under the Administrative Procedure Act and claimed that withholding treatment in this manner is arbitrary and capricious or not in accordance with law (5 U.S.C. 706(2)(a)). The plaintiff sought relief under the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. 2201.

The plaintiff withdrew his motion for a temporary restraining order on September 11, 2019, saying that the "parties had reached a resolution in the matter." Further discovery and motions showed that the Bureau of Prisons issued interim guidance to prescribe MAT when medically appropriate, and conducted telemedicine conferences to get the plaintiff a prescription for MAT for as long as is medically necessary during his stay in Leavenworth.

Once this administrative change was made, the BOP filed a motion to dismiss on January 17, 2020, saying that the allegations in the complaint were now moot with the new policy in place. The plaintiff contested this claim, writing in a motion that the injury remains because interim guidance is no guarantee that he would get MAT through his stay and alleging that BOP staff had threatened that his medication would be taken away.

In a ruling dated March 31, 2020 (2020 WL 1528502), Judge John W. Broomes approved the defendant's motion to dismiss, and dismissed the case without prejudice, saying that the claims in the complaint were rendered moot by the BOP interim guidance. He wrote that the interim guidance was appropriate, and that the plaintiff only asked for injunctive relief, which is no longer necessary with the guidance in place.

The case was closed and no appeal has yet been filed.

Ellen Aldin - 05/21/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Conditions of confinement
Sanitation / living conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Federal Bureau of Prisons
Plaintiff Description Inmate at Leavenworth Penitentiary previously receiving medication for addiction treatment (MAT) whose medication supply was interrupted upon transfer to Leavenworth
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
prison changed rules after lawsuit was filed without court intervention
Source of Relief None
Filed 09/06/2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
D. Kan.
03/31/2020
2:19-cv-02541-CM-ADM
PC-KS-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Kan.
09/06/2019
Complaint and Request for Emergency Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
PC-KS-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Kan.
09/07/2019
First Amended Complaint and Request for Emergency Injunctive Relief [ECF# 14]
PC-KS-0008-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Kan.
03/31/2020
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 54] (2020 WL 1528502)
PC-KS-0008-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Broomes, John Wesley (D. Kan.) show/hide docs
PC-KS-0008-0003 | PC-KS-0008-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bonds, Lauren (Kansas) show/hide docs
PC-KS-0008-0001 | PC-KS-0008-0002 | PC-KS-0008-9000
Rothert, Anthony [Tony] E. (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-KS-0008-0001 | PC-KS-0008-0002 | PC-KS-0008-9000
Shroff, Zal Kotval (Kansas) show/hide docs
PC-KS-0008-0001 | PC-KS-0008-0002 | PC-KS-0008-9000
Steffan, Jessie (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-KS-0008-0001 | PC-KS-0008-0002 | PC-KS-0008-9000
Wilcox, Gillian R. (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-KS-0008-0001 | PC-KS-0008-0002 | PC-KS-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Allman, Christopher (Kansas) show/hide docs
PC-KS-0008-9000
Clark, Bryan C (Kansas) show/hide docs
PC-KS-0008-9000

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