29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(i) ("Major life activities means functions such as ... walking....").
We are not convinced that Little's alleged impairment is "substantial" within the meaning of the ADA. "The determination of whether an individual has a disability is not necessarily based on the name or diagnosis of the impairment the person has, but rather on the effect of that impairment on the life of the individual." 29 C.F.R. pt. 1630 App., § 1630.2(j). "Not every impairment that affected an individual's major life activities is a substantially limiting impairment." Roth v. Lutheran Gen. Hosp., 57 F.3d 1446 (7th Cir. 1995), citing Hamm v. Runyon, 51 F.3d 721, 726 (7th Cir. 1995) ("'Many impairments do not impact an individual's life to the degree that they constitute disabling impairments.'" (quoting 29 C.F.R. pt. 1630 App., § 1630.2(j).
In Evans v. City of Dallas, 861 F.2d 846, 852-53 (5th Cir. 1988), for example, the plaintiff was discharged after excessive absenteeism attributable to a knee injury that required surgery. The court held that plaintiff was not "disabled" within the meaning of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C § 701 et seq., since that Act contemplates an impairment of a more permanent nature. Id. at 853.
Hence, we conclude that under applicable ADA standards, none of plaintiff's claims triggers ADA liability on the part of the defendants.
Even if we were to find that plaintiff has established a disability under ADA standards, prison records do not reflect any receipt of complaints from her about difficulty in using the stairs. Nor do they reflect any differing or discriminatory conditions inflicted upon plaintiff because of her alleged disability. The only deficiency specific to her which plaintiff identifies as an alleged ADA violation was alleged restrictions placed on her use of exercise time. Prison records indicate that plaintiff was restricted from gym activity due to the history of knee and heart problems. The restriction was imposed for plaintiff's benefit and does not establish an ADA violation.
Plaintiff's claims against Warden Desmond and the hospital are subject to summary judgment on another ground as well. Plaintiff has not alleged any personal involvement on their part in any of the activities alleged to have resulted in a violation of her constitutional rights.
A prerequisite for a viable civil rights claim is that a defendant directed, or knew of and acquiesced in, the deprivation of a plaintiff's constitutional rights. Gay v. Petsock, 917 F.2d 768, 771 (3d Cir.1990). Respondeat superior is not a basis for a claim asserted under section 1983 or related statutes. A defendant cannot be held liable under section 1983 unless he caused or participated in an alleged violation of constitutional rights. Section 1983 claims cannot be based on respondeat superior. Chinchello v. Fenton, 805 F.2d 126, 133 (3d Cir. 1986). The plaintiff must establish a "causal connection, or an affirmative link, between the misconduct complained of and the official sued." Campbell v. Lane, 1990 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14383, 1990 WL 171598 (E.D. Ill. Oct. 25, 1990), citing Wolf-Lillie v. Sonquist, 699 F.2d 864, 869 (7th Cir.1983). See also: Duncan v. Duckworth, 644 F.2d 653, 656 (7th Cir. 1981) (Plaintiff could not recover against prison warden for alleged eighth amendment violations, since it was unlikely that he participated in day-to-day decisions leading to the alleged delay in plaintiff's receiving treatment) and Ford v. Lane, 714 F. Supp. 310, 315-16 (N.D.Ill.1989) (Prison warden and director of Department of Corrections could not be held responsible, based on their supervisory positions, for medical care alleged to be inadequate).
No such connection exists here with respect to the claims asserted against the warden and the hospital. See, e.g., Freed v. Horn, 1995 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17956, 1995 WL 710529 at * 3-4 (E.D.Pa. Dec. 1, 1995).
Plaintiff asserts a Monell claim against Lycoming County. Under Monell v. New York City Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 56 L. Ed. 2d 611, 98 S. Ct. 2018 (1978), a governmental entity cannot be held liable under Section 1983 unless it caused or participated in an alleged violation of constitutional rights.
Respondeat superior or vicarious liability will not attach under § 1983....'It is only when the 'execution of the government's policy or custom...inflicts the injury' that the municipality may be held liable under § 1983.'
City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 103 L. Ed. 2d 412, 109 S. Ct. 1197, (1989), quoting Springfield v. Kibbe, 480 U.S. 257, 267, 94 L. Ed. 2d 293, 107 S. Ct. 1114 (1987) (O'Connor, J., dissenting). See also: Simmons v. City of Philadelphia, 947 F.2d 1042, 1991 WL 208330 (3d Cir. 1991) and Andrews v. City of Philadelphia, 895 F.2d 1469, 1480 (3d Cir. 1990).
Allegations or evidence of a "single incident of unconstitutional activity" are not sufficient to impose liability unless proof of the incident includes proof that it was caused by an existing, unconstitutional municipal policy. Tapia v. City of Greenwood, 965 F.2d 336, 339-40 (7th Cir. 1992), relying on City of Canton.
Plaintiff cannot prevail against the County or the prison board under these standards. There is no evidence of any policy, de facto or otherwise, which operated to deny her medical care in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The record, in fact, indicates the opposite: that structures and policies were in place to allow plaintiff to report any medical problem or difficulty she was experiencing and to receive an appropriate response to the concerns or problems which she raised.
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