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Green v. Laurent

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

May 9, 2016

DAMIEN GREEN, Plaintiff,
DAWN M. LAURENT, et al. Defendants.


STEPHEN L. CROCKER Magistrate Judge

Pro se plaintiff Damien Green, a three-strike pro se plaintiff, is proceeding on claims that he was allowed to stockpile medication while he was placed in observation at the Columbia Correctional Institution, enabling him to attempt suicide by overdosing. Because this case raised potentially complex issues relating to mental health care, Judge Peterson granted plaintiff's motion for the court's assistance in recruiting counsel to represent him. See dkt. 53, at 8-9. Judge Peterson subsequently granted counsel’s motion to withdraw after plaintiff sent her sexually explicit and inappropriate letters. See dkt. 95. Plaintiff then was transferred to the Waupun Correctional Institution. Plaintiff has filed several motions regarding recruitment of counsel and discovery, which I will address in turn below.


I. Recruitment of Counsel

In a December 11, 2015 order, the court allowed plaintiff’s previously recruited counsel to withdraw from the case after plaintiff sent her inappropriate and sexually explicit letters, stating:

Volunteer attorneys willing to represent indigent parties in litigation are a scare resource. Plaintiff has abused the privilege provided to him, and I will not recruit new counsel unless plaintiff can show an immediate need of medical assistance that prison officials refuse to provide and that is connected to this case. Given plaintiff’s abuse of previous counsel and his recent transfer away from the Columbia Correctional Institution, where he received the treatment that forms the basis of his claims, it is unlikely that I would consider recruiting new counsel in this case.

Dkt. 95, at 2.

Unabashed, plaintiff has filed two motions asking the court to recruit another lawyer to represent him, the first blaming the attorney for what happened (Dkt. 97), the second taking a less confrontational tone, but asserting that the court should excuse plaintiff’s repeated misbehavior and recruit a second scarce volunteer attorney to help him. (Dkt. 102). Both motions are denied. Plaintiff has not met the conditions that Judge Peterson set in his December 11 order that require plaintiff to show that he is in immediate need of medical assistance connected to this case. Dkt. 97 & 102. Plaintiff actually has been transferred away from the alleged harm that formed the basis of his claims.

I will address some of plaintiff’s concerns about his ability to litigate these steps below.

II. Motion to Compel

Plaintiff has filed a motion to compel discovery of various items, including his health and psychological records, incident reports, inmate grievances, “work history reports” and complaints against each of the defendants, a “full copy of 1983 lawsuit” and videos of the various times he has overdosed. Dkt. 118.

Plaintiff does not attach defendants’ responses to his particular discovery requests, nor does he state that he has attempted to resolve disputes about the adequacy of the State’s responses with the AAG who is handling this case. The State responds that plaintiff sent them his signed release form for his medical records after he filed his motion to compel; when the State has received these records, it they will send a copy to plaintiff. (Dkt. 120 at 2). Otherwise, the State reports that it sent plaintiff the relevant incident reports and other documents that were responsive to his discovery requests. Id. at 3. To the extent that plaintiff believes that the State has failed to meet its discovery obligations after the explanations they have provided here, he may renew his motion. That said, the court will not grant any renewed motion to compel absent a more detailed showing and explanation by plaintiff as to what he still needs from the State that the AAG will not give him. Plaintiff should not renew his motion to compel regarding a “full copy of 1983 lawsuit, ” Plaintiff already should have a copy of each document filed by the parties in this case. Plaintiff may request additional copies from the clerk of court, but he will be charged for the copying.

III. Legal Materials

Plaintiff has filed motions for orders to force defendants to turn over legal materials that were in the possession of his court-recruited attorney. Dkt. 103 & 114. He states that when the representation ended, his attorney sent him materials on a flash drive and in a box.[1] But plaintiff received neither the flash drive nor the box. The State responds that prisoners at WCI are not allowed to have flash drives; the State further reports a box of materials was sent to plaintiff, but they were destroyed it because the box contained “pornographic materials and prescription medications. . . . [and] did not contain any legal mail.” Dkt. 108 at 1. After plaintiff asked for the flash drive to be sent to Peg Swan, whom I ...

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