United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Civil Rights — Rehabilitation Act
Where a prisoner alleges he was denied work release because he walks with a cane, his claim under the Rehabilitation Act should not have been dismissed.
“Jaros alleges that he was qualified for work release, having met all eligibility requirements for the program, including being within two years of release and classified as minimum security. See ILL. ADMIN. CODE tit. 20, § 455.10; Briggs v. Walker, 875 N.E.2d 164, 165-66 (Ill. App. Ct. 2007). His theory is that Halford, the nursing director, blocked his application by placing a ‘medical hold’ on his file—solely because he uses a cane—thus keeping him out of the program ‘by reason of’ his disability, as required to state a claim of discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act. See 29 U.S.C. § 794; Alexander, 469 U.S. at 290; Wis. Cmty. Serv., 465 F.3d at 748; Peters v. City of Mauston, 311 F.3d 835, 841 (7th Cir. 2002). And although the institutional assignment committee at Vandalia ultimately reviewed and then denied his application after concluding that he was ‘appropriately placed,’ Jaros asserts that the decision was a pretext for further discrimination. We do not know who serves on Vandalia’s institutional assignment committee: The committee may have consisted entirely of Halford, who placed the hold, and Debbie Magnus, the heath care unit administrator who refused to remove it. Because such an allegation is plausible (even if perhaps improbable), see Arnett, 658 F.3d at 751-52, we conclude that Jaros may proceed with this claim as well.”
Affirmed in part, and Vacated in part.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Gilbert, J., Williams, J.