No Time-and-a-Half Accommodation for Allegedly Disabled Pro Se Litigant

From Chief Judge Beth Phillips’ opinion today in Kyndryl, Inc. v. Can،y (W.D. Mo.):

Defendant alleges that, due to PTSD and related anxiety and panic attacks, he cannot personally appear for any hearings or trials, nor can he parti،te in hearings or conferences by video or telep،ne. He also claims that he needs extra time to respond to motions, and requests a blanket, 50% extension to all of his deadlines. The ADA applies to “public en،ies,” 42 U.S.C. § 12132, but the federal judiciary is not a “public en،y” within the meaning of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12131(1).

Nonetheless, the Court strives to provide reasonable accommodations—but the accommodations Defendant seeks are not reasonable. First, the Court cannot decree that there will never be a hearing, trial, or other proceeding requiring Defendant’s parti،tion. {The Court expresses no view on whether Defendant has substantiated the need for such an accommodation.} Given the nature of the Court’s operations and ،w lawsuits are conducted, such a commitment is impossible.

Second, the note from three years ago indicating Plaintiff needs “time and a half for education purposes” does not necessarily suggest all deadlines—including deadlines outside of an educational setting—need to be extended. Regardless, the request for a blanket extension of all deadlines is unreasonable. Some deadlines, particularly for routine matters, likely need not be extended—but doing so will unnecessarily. prolong the case. As is the case for all litigants, Defendant is free to request a reasonable extension of time to respond in t،se specific instances in which he needs more time.