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Garcia v. Eau Claire County Jail

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

June 3, 2016

PEDRO JUAN GARCIA, Plaintiff,
v.
EAU CLAIRE COUNTY JAIL AND STAFF, OFFICER FLAKY, OFFICER OATES, OFFICER LAUER, OFFICER BERGIVEN, SERGEANT FIELD, and MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR SHARON, Defendants.[1]

          OPINION & ORDER

          JAMES D. PETERSON District Judge

         Pro se plaintiff Pedro Garcia is in the custody of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, and he is currently on active community supervision. While plaintiff was detained in the Eau Claire County jail, he filed a proposed complaint alleging poor treatment at the jail. Dkt. 5. Among other things, plaintiff alleged that he was forced to sleep without a mattress for two months, went with little food, and had his threats of suicide ignored. Plaintiff made an initial partial payment of his filing fee, as directed by the court.

         The next step in this case is for me to screen plaintiff’s complaint and dismiss any portion that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or asks for monetary damages from a defendant who by law cannot be sued for money damages. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915, 1915A. In screening any pro se litigant’s complaint, I must read the allegations of the complaint generously. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (per curiam). After reviewing the complaint with this principle in mind, I conclude that plaintiff has adequately alleged claims against defendants Officer Flaky and Sergeant Field. But the remaining allegations in plaintiff’s complaint fail to provide a short and plain statement of a claim. Moreover, plaintiff’s allegations involve several incidents that may not be part of the same transaction, and it is not clear that they all belong in the same suit. I will therefore give plaintiff an opportunity to amend his complaint to address these deficiencies.

         ALLEGATIONS OF FACT

         The relevant events of this case occurred while plaintiff was detained in the Eau Claire County jail. According to publicly available information about plaintiff’s criminal history, it appears that he had been arrested and charged with several misdemeanor violations and was awaiting a combined plea-sentencing hearing. Although plaintiff names several jail employees as defendants in this case, his complaint does not describe how anyone other than defendants Flaky and Field were involved in unlawful conduct.

         Plaintiff does not provide a narrative of what exactly happened to him at the Eau Claire County jail. Rather, he lists a series of events that occurred between March 9, 2015, and July 1, 2015. He alleges that:

• “They" (plaintiff does not say who) made him sleep without a mattress for two months to cause him physical pain, as a form of discipline;
• “They" took plaintiff’s blanket for seven days and put him in a room with the air conditioning running;
• “They" gave plaintiff little to no food, and when plaintiff received food, it was missing things like a spoon and apple juice;
• Plaintiff found a rock in his beans and it cracked his tooth;
• After plaintiff hung himself and went to the hospital, “they" took everything but his pants and ignored his later threats and attempts of suicide;
• He was not allowed to have a pencil or paper; and
• Every time that plaintiff asked for a grievance form, “they" told him that he could not submit a grievance for the issue about which he was complaining, and plaintiff became afraid that “they" would not ...

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