Fadeel Shuhaiber v. Illinois Department of Correct

In the United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit ____________________ No. 19-3244 FADEEL SHUHAIBER, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Defendant-Appellee. ____________________ Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 1:18-cv-03289 — Edmond E. Chang, Judge. ____________________ SUBMITTED SEPTEMBER 17, 2020* — DECIDED NOVEMBER 19, 2020 ____________________ Before HAMILTON, BRENNAN, and SCUDDER, Circuit Judges. SCUDDER, Circuit Judge. Fadeel Shuhaiber is confined to a wheelchair. Following the district court’s dismissal of claims *We have agreed to decide the case without oral argument because the briefs and record adequately present the facts and legal arguments, and oral argument would not significantly aid the court. FED. R. APP. P. 34(a)(2)(C). 2 No. 19-3244 he brought against the Illinois Department of Corrections un- der the Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act, Shuhaiber appealed and, based on his impoverished sta- tus, sought permission to proceed on appeal without prepay- ing the requisite filing fee. By the time he filed the appeal, Shuhaiber, a native of the United Arab Emirates, had been transferred to the custody of the Department of Homeland Se- curity for removal from the United States. The change in cus- tody matters because Shuhaiber, as a frequent filer of federal lawsuits, had accumulated more than three strikes under the Prison Litigation Reform Act for filing frivolous lawsuits, and therefore would have had to prepay the filing fee to appeal the district court’s dismissal of his claims. Doubting that Shuhaiber was still a “prisoner,” the district court granted his motion to proceed in forma pauperis. We agree and hold, in alignment with all other circuits to have addressed the question, that the appellate filing-fee bar does not apply where, as here, the appellant is being held by immigration authorities and thus no longer is a “prisoner” within the meaning of the PLRA. That conclusion does not lead very far for Shuhaiber, however, as the district court was also right to dismiss his claims, leaving us to affirm. I Shuhaiber’s complaint focused on events during his stay at the Stateville Northern Reception and Classification Center in Joliet, Illinois. He alleged that the institution failed to ac- commodate his disability by confining him to a cell unsuited to an inmate confined to a wheelchair. Not only was the cell too small to maneuver easily within, but, as Shuhaiber con- tended, he struggled to get into his lower bunk and use the table. He likewise complained of being transported to No. 19-3244 3 physical therapy appointments in vans that were not ADA- compliant, leaving him to depend on an officer to lift him into the vehicles. Invoking Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the De- partment of Corrections moved to dismiss Shuhaiber’s com- plaint. The district court granted the motion and dismissed the complaint without prejudice, determining that Shuhaiber failed to allege that he was deprived of access to facilities or services or that anything about the Department’s vans caused him to miss medical appointments. In ...

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