United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
JESSICA D. REIMER, Plaintiff,
PAUL DONARSKI, et al, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge
Jessica Reimer filed this action under42 U.S.C. § 1983
alleging that her civil rights were violated when she was
being held at the Brown County Jail. Plaintiff claimed that
Brown County, Corporal Paul Donarski, and Nurse Amy Jones of
Correctional Healthcare Companies violated her constitutional
and statutory rights by their deliberate indifference to her
serious medical condition, resulting in the amputation of her
finger. The case is before the Court on Defendants'
motions for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow,
the Defendants' motions will be granted. Plaintiffs
federal claim against the Defendants will be dismissed with
prejudice, and with the federal claim gone, the court will
decline to exercise jurisdiction over the remaining state law
claims. The state law claims will dismissed without prejudice
so that Plaintiff can pursue them in state court if she so
April 6, 2014, Jessica Reimer injured the middle finger of
her left hand on a locker in the Brown County Jail Work
Release Center. Corporal Paul Donarski of the Brown County
Sheriff’s Department and other jail personnel provided
first aid to Reimer, ordered that she be regularly checked
on, and informed his replacement of her injury when his shift
ended. Later that day Plaintiff was taken to the emergency
room at St. Vincent’s Hospital. At St. Vincent’s
Reimer’s wound was cleaned and examined by Dr. Defrank,
who informed her that she needed to see a hand specialist
within the next 24 hours. Though Dr. Defrank gave Reimer the
contact information for a hand specialist, neither Reimer nor
the sheriff’s deputy could make such an appointment due
to Reimer’s incarceration. Ultimately, Dr. Defrank told
Reimer that she had an appointment with the hand specialist
for the next day, April 7, 2014.
was returned to the Work Release Center after her visit to
St. Vincent’s. The sheriff’s deputy who had
accompanied her informed the corporal on duty about
Reimer’s appointment with the hand specialist, but no
one took Reimer to her appointment the next day. Nor was
Reimer seen by any other hand specialist within 24 hours
after being seen by Dr. Defrank. On the evening of April 7,
2014, Plaintiff filed a grievance with the jail, complaining
about her injury and the failure to take her to a specialist.
On April 8, 2014, Plaintiff was seen by the jail doctor, who
agreed that she needed to see a hand specialist. However,
Reimer was not taken to see a specialist until April 16,
2014. Reimer’s finger was treated on that day, but by
May 9, 2014, she was experiencing pain and swelling in her
finger. Subsequent tests found that her bone was infected.
Reimer’s left middle finger would eventually be
amputated at the distal phalangeal joint.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is proper “if the movant shows that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56.; see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986); McNeal v.
Macht, 763 F.Supp. 1458, 1460-61 (E.D. Wis.1991).
“Material facts” are those under the applicable
substantive law that “might affect the outcome of the
suit.” See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A
dispute over “material fact” is
“genuine” if “the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Id. In deciding a motion for summary
judgment, the court will view the facts in the light most
favorable to the non-moving parties. Crull v.
Sunderman, 384 F.3d 453, 460 (7th Cir. 2004).
Seventh Circuit has explained, Summary judgment is the
“put up or shut up” moment in a lawsuit.
Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., Inc., 325 F.3d 892, 901
(7th Cir. 2003). “Once a party has made a
properly-supported motion for summary judgment, the opposing
party may not simply rest upon the pleadings but must instead
submit evidentiary materials that ‘set forth specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.’” Harney v. Speedway SuperAmerica,
LLC, 526 F.3d 1099, 1104 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing
on the undisputed facts of the case, there is no evidence
that either Corporal Donarski or Nurse Jones acted with
deliberate indifference to Reimer’s serious medical
needs. During a hearing before this Court on June 24, 2016,
Plaintiff’s counsel stated that Plaintiff was
abandoning all of Plaintiff’s federal claims except the
Monell claim against Brown County. ECF No. 51. This
sentiment was echoed in Plaintiff’s response to
Defendants’ motions for summary judgment, which only
discussed Plaintiff’s Monell arguments. ECF
No. 46. During the June 24, 2016 hearing Plaintiff’s
counsel also sought to preserve Plaintiff’s state law
her Monell claim, Plaintiff concedes that she cannot
identify a policy or custom of Brown County responsible for
depriving her of her constitutional rights, as required for
the imposition of liability upon the County under Monell
v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs. of City of New York, 436
U.S. 658 (1978). Instead, relying on a series of dissenting
opinions, Plaintiff asserts that Brown County should have
respondeat superior liability for the actions of its agents.
See Bd. of Cty. Comm’rs of Bryan Cty., Okl. v.
Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 429-30 (1997) (Souter, J.
Dissenting); id. at 430-37 (Breyer, J., dissenting).
As Plaintiff readily admits, however, such a theory is
plainly barred under existing law. Monell, 436 U.S.
at 691 (“[A] municipality cannot be held liable under
§ 1983 on a respondeat superior theory.”).
Instead, Plaintiff seeks to preserve this issue for appeal,
anticipating a shift in Supreme Court jurisprudence. As the
law currently stands, however, Plaintiff’s
Monell claim cannot be sustained and, therefore,
will be dismissed.
the June 24 hearing, this Court discussed the possibility
that Plaintiff may be able to sustain her Monell
claim based on Brown County’s policy (or lack of
policy) to ensure that inmates’ critical medical
appointments are kept. But the record in this case does not
appear to support such a claim. To begin, the record does not
contain a full discussion about what policy Brown County had
in place, if any, to ensure that inmates were taken to their
medical appointments. To the extent such a discussion does
exist, it shows that Brown County’s policies are
sensitive to inmates’ medical needs. Def.’s Br.
in Supp. 10-12, ECF No. 27. Relatedly, the record lacks
sufficient development about the relationship between any
such policy and the events in this case. As such, this Court
would be left with pure speculation as to either the
existence of an unconstitutional policy or whether the
county’s policy was the “moving force”
behind any constitutional violation here. Monell,
436 U.S. at 694; see Amadio v. Ford Motor Co., 238
F.3d 919, 927 (7th Cir. 2001) (“It is well-settled that
speculation may not be used to manufacture a genuine issue of
fact.”). Moreover, Plaintiff’s brief in response
to the motions for summary judgment specifically states
“that Reimer cannot identify a policy or custom of the
County responsible for depriving her of her constitutional
rights.” Pl.’s Br. in Opp. 3, ECF No. 46.
Therefore, summary judgment is appropriate on
Plaintiff’s Monell claim.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c) “district courts may
decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a
claim” when “the district court has dismissed all
claims over which it has original jurisdiction.” The
Seventh Circuit has counseled that “[w]hen a district
court correctly dismisses all federal claims before trial,
the court ordinarily should relinquish jurisdiction over any
supplemental claims.” Porter v. Suliene, 391
F. App’x 565, 568 (7th Cir. 2010); see Groce v. Eli
Lilly & Co., 193 F.3d 496, 501 (7th Cir. 1999)
(“[I]t is the well-established law of this circuit that
the usual practice is to dismiss without prejudice state
supplemental claims whenever all federal claims have been
dismissed prior to trial.”). Declining to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction may also further the values of
“judicial economy, convenience, fairness, and
comity.” In re Repository Techs., Inc., 601
F.3d 710, 724 (7th Cir. 2010) (quoting City of Chicago v.
Int’l Coll. of Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156, 173
(1997)). Having dismissed all of ...