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Wright v. Waldera

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

January 21, 2016

JOSHUA SCOTT WRIGHT, Plaintiff,
v.
SHERIFF DUANE M. WALDERA, CAPTAIN MICHAEL RING, and C.O. WANDA OTTOW, Defendants.

OPINION & ORDER

JAMES D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE

Pro se plaintiff Joshua Scott Wright was a prisoner at the Jackson County Jail, located in Black River Falls, Wisconsin at the time he initiated this case. He filed a proposed complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging the conditions of his confinement, and naming Sheriff Duane M. Waldera, Captain Michael Ring, and Correctional Officer Wanda Ottow as defendants. Plaintiff alleges that defendants, who were responsible for the conditions of the jail, violated his constitutional rights by allowing those conditions to be deficient.

Plaintiff seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis and has made an initial partial payment of the filing fee as directed by the court. As a next step, I must screen his complaint and dismiss any portion that is legally frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A. In addressing any pro se litigant’s complaint, I must read the allegations of the complaint generously. McGowan v. Hulick, 612 F.3d 636, 640 (7th Cir. 2010). After considering plaintiff’s allegations, I conclude that some of his claims fail to show that plaintiff would be entitled to relief, so plaintiff will not be allowed to proceed on them. Other claims that plaintiff has alleged may entitle him to relief, but plaintiff’s complaint does not satisfy the pleading requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. I will allow plaintiff to amend his complaint to provide additional information about the facts supporting those claims. Plaintiff has also moved for preliminary injunction and to proceed as a class action. I will deny both of those motions.

ALLEGATIONS OF FACT

The following facts are drawn from plaintiff’s complaint. Plaintiff was held at the Jackson County Jail from October 1, 2012, until March 6, 2013. He was again held at the jail from February 22, 2015, until November 6, 2015. While there, plaintiff alleges that the jail charged him a $30 booking fee and charged him $10 per day for every day that he was incarcerated. To collect payment, defendants deducted 40 percent of all money plaintiff received into his account.

When he entered the jail on February 22, 2015, plaintiff began going through withdrawal from drug use. He suffered uncontrollable shivering, fever, vomiting, and severe stomach pains for the first week of his stay. He was held in isolation for five days and had no blanket from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. each day. He did not receive any medication.

During his time in the jail, there was a camera in plaintiff’s cell that was recording his actions at all times. Officers of the jail, including women, monitored the video. Plaintiff had no curtain or screen to provide him any privacy from the camera. He suffered mental anguish and constipation, leading to stomach pain.

Plaintiff was allowed out of the cell twice per week for one hour for recreation. The recreation room had a table, chairs, and books. Because his recreation was limited, plaintiff suffered muscle atrophy.

Plaintiff was fed while at the jail, but he claims that the meals did not meet the federal calorie intake guidelines. Plaintiff was also not provided a menu. He suffered severe hunger pains that resulted in migraine headaches.

ANALYSIS

I. Specific claims of constitutional violations

Plaintiff has made several allegations regarding the constitutionality of the conditions of his confinement at the Jackson County Jail, which I will address in turn. Some of his claims are doomed to fail and I will dismiss those. I will allow plaintiff the opportunity to amend his complaint to provide more detail concerning some of his claims. In drafting his amended complaint, plaintiff should carefully consider whom to name as defendants. In his complaint, he should identify in detail what each defendant did to harm him. If he does not file an amended complaint by the deadline provided in the order below, I will direct the clerk of court to enter judgment for defendants and close this case.

A. Booking fees

Plaintiff alleges that he was assessed a booking fee of $30 and that the jail charged him an additional $10 per day while he was held. Defendants deducted the money from his account, collecting 40 percent of whatever he received. Depending on the purpose of the fees that plaintiff was assessed, he may have a potential claim. Compare Schilb v. Kuebel, 404 U.S. 357, 370-71 (1971) (allowing the imposition of ‘bail bond costs’ for pretrial release.); with Markadonatos v. Village of Woodridge, 760 F.3d 545, 546 (7th Cir. 2014) (per curiam) (“If [the police] were charging the $30 fee to persons whom they arrested who did not attempt to post bail or bond (maybe persons who couldn’t or wouldn’t spare the money, or were confident of being quickly released from ...


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