United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
WILLIAM M. CONLEY, DISTRICT JUDGE
se plaintiff Johnson Carter filed this complaint under
28 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging the defendant’s delay
in treating his collar bone injury violated his Eighth
Amendment rights. Because the court has determined that
Carter may proceed based on his initial partial payment of
the filing fee under the in forma pauperis statute,
28 U.S.C. § 1915, his complaint is ready for screening
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons that follow,
however, Carter may proceed no further unless he addresses
the deficiencies in his complaint described below.
purposes of the events alleged in his complaint, Carter was
incarcerated at Jackson Correctional Institution
(“JCI”), located in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.
Carter names as defendants unknown members of the Health
Service Unit (“HSU”) staff, JCI and the State of
or June of 2012 or 2013, Carter injured his shoulder after
tripping and falling on a concrete basketball court. When he
fell, Carter heard his collar bone snap, noticed blood on his
right arm and felt severe pain. He also had difficulty moving
his right shoulder.
was then HSU. When Carter arrived there, he was cradling his
right arm and asking for help. An HSU staff member told him
that “with a serious collarbone injury like that, there
is nothing we can do. You just have to let it grow back like
that.” (Compl., dkt. #1, at 3.) Carter does not
indicate that he received a diagnosis or treatment plan at
month later, Carter contacted Senator Lena Taylor’s
office regarding the lack of medical treatment he received at
JCI, something he apparently had done once before. After
contacting Sen. Taylor a second time, HSU performed an x-ray
evaluation of Carter’s right shoulder, which showed
that his collar bone was fractured.
to plaintiff, the one-month delay in medical treatment both
aggravated the pain he was experiencing in his right shoulder
and caused the pain to linger for more than a year. He also
alleges that the delay in medical treatment resulted in a
permanent deformity in his right shoulder, a limited range of
motion, pain and weakness. Carter further alleges that he is
afraid of seeking help from HSU, believing his medical
treatment was delayed as retribution for contacting Senator
Taylor regarding medical treatment at JCI in the past.
Finally, he alleges that the pain in his shoulder injury was
aggravated while working in JCI’s kitchen.
allegations implicate the First and Eighth Amendments, but
Carter may not proceed on his claims until he names a
defendant who may be held liable under § 1983. In
particular, claims under § 1983 must be alleged against
“persons.” Here, plaintiff’s complaint
names as defendants the HSU unit (although no specific staff
member, even by description), JCI and the State of Wisconsin,
but these are not “persons” under § 1983.
Thus, each must be dismissed from the lawsuit. See Will
v. Michigan Department of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71
(1989) (“neither a state nor its officials acting in
their official capacities are ‘persons’ under
plaintiff has failed to name a proper defendant, the court
will nevertheless permit him to amend his complaint, because
at least taking the allegations at face value, he may have a
prison official may violate the Eighth Amendment if the
official is “deliberately indifferent” to a
“serious medical need.” Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976). A “serious
medical need” may be a condition that a doctor has
recognized as needing treatment, or one for which the
necessity of treatment would be obvious to a lay person.
Johnson v. Snyder, 444 F.3d 579, 584-85 (7th Cir.
2006). “Deliberate indifference” means that
officials were aware that the prisoner needs medical
treatment, but disregarded the risk by consciously failing to
take reasonable measures. Forbes v. Edgar, 112 F.3d
262, 266 (7th Cir. 1997). Allegations of delayed care, even a
delay of just a few days, may violate the Eighth Amendment if
it caused the inmate’s condition to worsen or
unnecessarily prolonged his pain. McGowan v. Hulick,
612 F.3d 636, 640 (7th Cir. 2010)(“[T]he length of
delay that ...