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Johnson v. Wisconsin Correctional Center System

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

August 10, 2016

EARNEST L. JOHNSON, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
WISCONSIN CORRECTIONAL CENTER SYSTEM, DR. EUGENE BURKE, AURORA HEALTH CARE, DR. JOHN DOE, DR. JEFFREY B. SHOVERS, SGT. STEVEN JANUS, STATE OF WISCONSIN CORRECTIONALS, TANYA CHIAPUSIO, and MARIA BEG, Defendants.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          LYNN ADELMAN District Judge

         Plaintiff, Earnest Johnson, filed an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that defendants violated his civil rights. This matter comes before me on plaintiff’s second motion to change payment from $350 to $304.12 (ECF No. 14), plaintiff’s third motion for appointment of counsel (ECF No. 15), and for screening of the amended complaint (ECF No. 16).

         “Motion to Pay $350”

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) allows inmates to proceed with their lawsuits in federal court without pre-paying the $350 filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915. However, this right is only available to a petitioner who is “unable to pay such fees or give security therefor.” § 1915(a)(1). Plaintiff was able to pay the full filing fee at the time the lawsuit was filed, and he in fact paid the amount. Therefore, his second motion to change payment $350 to $304.14 (ECF No. 14) will be denied.

         Screening of the Amended Complaint

         The PLRA requires me to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). I must dismiss an action or portion thereof if the claims alleged are “frivolous or malicious, ” fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         To state a claim under the federal notice pleading system, plaintiffs must provide a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The complaint need not plead specific facts and need only provide “fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). “Labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” will not do. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         The factual content of the complaint must allow me to “draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. Indeed, allegations must “raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Factual allegations, when accepted as true, must state a claim that is “plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         I follow the two step analysis set forth in Twombly to determine whether a complaint states a claim. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. First, I determine whether the plaintiff’s legal conclusions are supported by factual allegations. Id. Legal conclusions not supported by facts “are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id. Second, I determine whether the well-pleaded factual allegations “plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id. Pro se allegations, “however inartfully pleaded, ” are given a liberal construction. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff’s amended complaint is confusing and a bit difficult to understand. Plaintiff appears to allege that sometime in 2007, he was injured and was placed in the ICU. (ECF No. 16 at 3). During this time, defendant, Dr. Maria Beg, prescribed him “blood thinners for life.” (Id.). About eight months later, plaintiff required knee surgery and Beg took plaintiff off of the blood thinners in preparation for the surgery. (Id.). Plaintiff states that Beg should have placed him back on the blood thinners after the surgery. (Id.). She failed to do so, and this failure has caused plaintiff to develop very painful blood clots in his leg. (Id. at 3, 5).

         Defendant, Dr. Jeffrey Shovers, was the individual who conducted plaintiff’s knee surgery. (Id. at 3). Plaintiff states that the knee surgery caused knee swelling and popping that did not exist prior to surgery. (Id. at 3). Plaintiff notified Shovers about his knee troubles. (Id.). He also notified Shovers that he was suffering substantial leg pain likely caused by blood clots that developed after being taken off of the blood thinners. (Id.). Shovers examined plaintiff post-operation and indicated that he might have “left something in” plaintiff’s knee and that “he will have to go back in there.” (Id. at 3-4). Shovers did not go back to do another surgery on plaintiff’s knee, and he also did not place plaintiff back on blood thinners to alleviate his leg pain. (Id.)

         Plaintiff notified Nurse Tanya Chiapusio about leg pain likely caused by blood clots that developed after being taken off of the blood thinners. (Id. at 4.). By this time, plaintiff also suffered “internal bleeding” from being taken off of the blood thinners. (Id.). Chiapusio also refused to place plaintiff back on the blood thinners. (Id.). Instead, she accused plaintiff of having leg pain because he was not taking Warfarin, the medicine he was prescribed after his knee surgery. (Id.).

         Sometime later, plaintiff was transferred to Chippewa Valley Correctional Center where he was given an ultrasound and was indeed diagnosed with “new and old blood clots” in his leg. (Id. at 4-5). Plaintiff was put back on blood thinners at this time to help with the blood clots. (Id.) Plaintiff was then transferred to Kenosha Correctional Center where Dr. Eugene Burke took the plaintiff off of the blood thinners because plaintiff was still taking ...


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