United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ERICK V. PETERSON, Plaintiff,
BRIAN FOSTER, J. ZWIERS, DENNIS RICHARDS, M. ALSTEEN, and JULIE GUSSEL, Defendants.
Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge.
20, 2016, each of the defendants filed motions for summary
judgment on the plaintiff's, Erick V. Peterson's
(“Peterson”), claims against them, including
briefs in support, statements of fact, and other documentary
evidence. (Docket #71 to #102). On July 27, 2016, Peterson
filed responsive memoranda, statements of fact, and
affidavits. (Docket #116 to #126). On August 10, 2016,
the defendants Dennis Richards (“Richards”) and
Julie Gussel (“Gussel”) filed reply
documents. (Docket #127 to #133). The defendants
Brian Foster (“Foster”), J. Zwiers
(“Zwiers”), and M. Alsteen
(“Alsteen”) filed their own reply documents on
August 12, 2016. (Docket #134 to #136). The motions are now
fully briefed and, for the reasons stated below, they will be
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides the mechanism for seeking
summary judgment. Rule 56 states that the “court shall
grant summary judgment 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(a); see Boss v. Castro, 816 F.3d 910, 916 (7th
Cir. 2016). A “genuine” dispute of material fact
is created when “the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). The Court construes all facts and reasonable
inferences in a light most favorable to the non-movant.
Bridge v. New Holland Logansport, Inc., 815 F.3d
356, 360 (7th Cir. 2016).
Court will provide a brief timeline of events, then address
each of the defendants' roles therein. In accordance with
the standard of review, the facts and inferences therefrom
are construed in Peterson's favor. Given the
voluminous factual briefing, the Court limits its discussion
of the facts to those relevant to its holdings.
Peterson's Stay in Columbia County Jail
to March 7, 2014, Peterson was incarcerated at Green Bay
Correctional Institution (“GBCI”). The medical staff
at GBCI prescribed several medications for Peterson,
including three different laxatives. Peterson was transferred
to Columbia County Jail (the “Jail”) on March 7,
2014, for a court appearance. When he arrived there, he
complained that his laxatives were not brought with him. He
spoke with Jail staff and a nurse, Gussel, about the issue.
The Jail staff and Gussel offered him non-prescription
laxatives for purchase, but Peterson refused to pay and
demanded his prescribed medications. From that time until
March 10, 2014, Peterson apparently reiterated his complaints
about being provided his prescribed laxatives. Peterson was
returned to GBCI on March 10, 2014. At no time during his
stay at the Jail was he provided with his prescription
became the warden of GBCI on March 23, 2014. (Docket #136 at
¶ 9). Thus, he had no direct role in the events
was the Health Services Manager at the time of the Jail
incident. Id. at ¶ 5. Zwiers was on sick leave
for almost ten months prior to February 2014 and, when she
returned, she did so on a half-time basis. Id. at
¶ 7. As the Health Services Manager, she had no direct
involvement in packing inmate medications for transfer.
Id. at ¶ 23. With regard to the Jail incident,
Zwiers was never told that Peterson was missing his laxatives
and was not otherwise aware that he did not have them.
Id. at ¶¶ 37, 44.
August 28, 2013, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections
instituted DAI Policy 500.80.15 (the “Policy”),
which required nurses to pack all of an inmate's
medications when they were transferred. Id. at
¶¶ 26-27. Prior to the Policy, the practice at GBCI
was for inmates to pack their non-controlled medications,
while the nurses would pack the controlled medications.
Id. at ¶ 22. Zwiers had no role in implementing
the Policy because she was on sick leave at the time.
Id. at ¶ 28.
is the sheriff of Columbia County. (Docket #128 at ¶ 2).
He is not involved with the day-to-day operations of the
Jail. Id. at ¶ 95. Richards does not supervise
disbursement of inmate medication at the Jail. Id.
at ¶ 97. With respect to the Jail incident, he never had
contact with Peterson or made any decisions regarding his
medical care. Id. at ¶ 98.
is a nurse at GBCI. (Docket #136 at ¶ 4). Alsteen was
trained in accordance with GBCI's pre-Policy practice
that inmates were to pack their own non-controlled
medications. Id. at ¶¶ 24-25. Thus, on
March 6, 2014, prior to Peterson being transferred, she
packed only his controlled medications, not his laxatives or
any other non-controlled medications. Id. at
¶¶ 30-33. Alsteen believed Peterson would bring
those medications himself. Id. at ¶ 34. She was
not aware of the Policy at the time. Id. at ¶
did not work at GBCI from March 7 to 9, 2014. Id. at
¶ 36. She was not told that Peterson was missing any
medications or was having constipation problems. Id.
at ¶¶ 37-38. During the Jail incident, Alsteen had
no knowledge that Peterson would be without his laxatives.
Id. at ¶ 44. She understood that even if
medications were missing, facilities such as the Jail would
either provide them or notify the home prison. Id.