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Walker v. Cox

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

August 9, 2016




         Plaintiff Lamont Walker is a prisoner in the custody of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections currently housed at the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility, located in Boscobel, Wisconsin. I previously allowed plaintiff to proceed on claims that defendant prison officials have failed to provide him with treatment for a H. pylori bacterial infection. Dkt. 17. I denied plaintiff leave to proceed on a claim against then-defendant Warden Gary Boughton for failing to rectify the unsanitary conditions that plaintiff believes caused his condition. Id. Plaintiff has filed a motion for reconsideration of that decision, an amended complaint adding new claims, several motions pertaining to discovery, and a motion to recruit counsel.[1]


         A. Motion for reconsideration

         I stated the following in dismissing plaintiff’s claim against Boughton:

         The problem for plaintiff is that his belief that he developed the infection from unsanitary conditions is complete speculation.

See, e.g., Helicobacter Pylori Infections, visited Dec. 14, 2015) (“It may be spread by unclean food and water, but researchers aren’t sure.”); Helicobacter pylori and PepticUlcerDisease;TheKeytoCure, visited Dec. 14, 2015) (“Since the source of H. pylori is not yet known, recommendations for avoiding infection have not been made.”). Plaintiff does not provide any concrete allegations making it reasonable to infer that the water is tainted, and Warden Boughton cannot be held liable on a claim for deliberate indifference for a condition without a proven cause. Therefore, I will dismiss plaintiff’s claim against Boughton.

Dkt. 17, at 5. Plaintiff seeks reconsideration of this decision, providing a printout from suggesting that H. pylori infections could be transferred from contact with feces, Dkt. 18-1. He also provides a copy of the letter he sent to Boughton suggesting that prisoners are provided with a shared bucket of cleaning solution used to wipe down cells and to clean a toilet brush, and that “[t]his is recycling other prisoners’ bacteria such as fecal matter.” This does not give me reason to reconsider plaintiff’s previous contention that the water supply itself is tainted, but he has now described a plausible mechanism by which the bacteria could be spread through unsanitary prison practices. Accordingly, I will grant plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration and allow him to proceed with a claim against Boughton.

         B. Amended complaint

         Plaintiff has filed a motion for leave to amend his complaint, Dkt. 35, along with a proposed amended complaint, Dkt. 36. I conclude that it is early enough in the lawsuit for plaintiff to add these claims without prejudicing defendants, so I will grant his motion for leave to amend.

         In his new allegations, plaintiff states that he requested a bland diet as a way of dealing with the chronic gastritis he suffers as a result of his exposure to bacteria. Defendant Nurse Sonya Anderson and proposed new defendant Health Services Manager Jolinda Waterman instructed plaintiff to “self select” items from his meals. Construing plaintiff’s allegations generously, I take him to mean that he is not eating enough using this method to receive an adequately nutritious diet. Accordingly, I conclude that plaintiff has stated an Eighth Amendment claim against defendants Anderson and Waterman. See Mays v. Springborn, 575 F.3d 643, 648 (7th Cir. 2009) (“Under the Eighth Amendment, a prisoner's diet must provide adequate nutrition . . . .”).[2]

         C. Motions to compel

         Plaintiff has filed two motions to compel defendants to produce an array of documents. In his first motion, he seeks, among other items, “all Inmate Offender Complaints, First-step and Second-steps that [were] filed at Wisconsin Secure Program Facility, ” “all Inmates Health Service Requests with responses from 2010-2015, ” and “Segregation Medical well-check documentation used to keep track of what inmate interacted with the plaintiff and the defendants listed in this civil matter.” Dkt. 30, at 1-2.

         These requests are very broad. Defendants have objected to many of these requests as overly broad but have surmised that plaintiff actually seeks records directly pertaining to him and say that they have made those documents available to him, as the DOC routinely does in prisoner cases.[3] Even in his reply, plaintiff does not provide specific objections to defendants’ responses or a better explanation of precisely what he seeks. Rather, he quibbles with the date of defendants’ response to his motion, which was indeed a day late-the court set a deadline of May 31, 2016, for defendants’ response and defendants actually ...

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