United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON District Judge
Damien Green, a prisoner at the Waupun Correctional
Institution, brings claims against various supervisory
officials at the Columbia Correctional Institution, alleging
that he was allowed to stockpile medication while he was
placed in observation at CCI, enabling him to twice attempt
suicide by overdosing. He also brings claims against Daniel
Norge, a CCI psychologist, for failing to properly respond to
both overdoses. Defendants have filed a motion for summary
judgment, which I will grant in part and deny in part
regarding plaintiff's claims about his first overdose. I
will direct the parties to provide supplemental briefing
regarding the second overdose. I will also address various
non-dispositive motions filed by the parties.
following facts are drawn from the parties' proposed
findings of fact and supporting materials, and are undisputed
unless otherwise noted.
Damien Green is currently an inmate at the Waupun
Correctional Institution, but during the events in question,
he was incarcerated at the Columbia Correctional Institution.
Defendants all worked at CCI: Karen Anderson was supervisor
of the Health Services Unit (HSU), Michael Meisner was the
warden, Lucas Weber was the security director, David Melby
was a corrections unit supervisor, Michael Morrison was a
lieutenant, Raymond Wood was the Psychological Services Unit
supervisor, Sandra Hautamaki was the deputy warden, and
Daniel Norge was a psychological associate.
medications for inmates in general population housing units
are either “controlled” or
“non-controlled.” Non-controlled medications
include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin, and may also
include blood pressure medication and asthma inhalers. For
all inmates, controlled medications are maintained under
staff control until medication pass. During medication pass,
an individual dose of the controlled medication is provided
to the inmate.
to medication is restricted further in segregation units. The
Disciplinary Separation 1 unit, known as “DS-1, ”
houses inmates who have just arrived in segregation or who
are having behavioral problems and placed in observation
status. Inmates in segregation cells have access to limited
property and the cells are searched often. A segregation cell
is also searched thoroughly prior to an inmate being
transferred into that cell.
status within the DS-1 unit is a restrictive status used for
the purpose of preventing an inmate from inflicting harm upon
himself or someone else. Inmates in observation status are
given a smock without pockets, a mattress, and a thick
blanket made especially for high-risk suicidal inmates. Each
time an inmate leaves his observation cell for a shower, the
cell is searched. Inmates in observation status are checked
on by unit staff every 15 minutes throughout the day and
night. Psychological staff conducts daily rounds of inmates
on observation status. An inmate's placement in
observation status is reviewed daily by a psychologist during
the weekdays to either continue their placement or remove
them from observation status; the inmate's behavior and
mental health condition are evaluated to determine whether
there is a risk to the inmate's safety or the safety of
others, and the inmate's property can also be reviewed
during these contacts to determine if property should be
added or removed.
housed in segregation, including those in observation status,
are not allowed to keep medication in their cells. All
medication in segregation is controlled by staff, and
distributed to the inmates at the frequency and dosage as
prescribed. In segregation, staff is required to bring an
inmate's medication to the cell and ask the inmate if he
wants the medication. If the inmate requests his medication,
the staff member delivers the dosage as prescribed into a cup
or hand in view of the inmate. In order to receive the
medication, the inmate extends his arm through the trap on
the cell door and the staff member pours the cup or places
the medication into the inmate's hand.
the inmate receives the medication in his hand, the inmate
must immediately swallow the medication. The inmate opens his
mouth to show the staff member that he has swallowed, and in
doing so, the inmate must lift his tongue. The inmate may
also need to spread his fingers so staff can make sure that
the inmate did not hide the medication.
says that the correctional officers distributing medication
at DS-1 do not always check to see whether inmates swallow
their medication. Defendants state that “[t]here have
been circumstances where inmates have partially swallowed
medication enough for the officer dispensing the medication
to not see the pill inside the inmate's mouth, and that
“[a]fter the officer walks away, inmates regurgitate
the pills back into their hand.” Dkt. 162, at 12-13,
presents testimony of two fellow inmates, Randy McCaa and
Chris Goodvine, about the efficacy of the CCI medication
policies. McCaa states that he overdosed in the DS-1 unit
both before and after CCI procedures were changed to have
officers hand out individual doses of medication. The final
overdose he mentions was in October 2012. McCaa says that he
was able to obtain pills from other prisoners. Goodvine
provides a declaration saying he and “many” other
inmates overdosed at some unidentified time, and that it was
easy to stockpile medication because correctional officers
would not watch to ensure that prisoners ingested their
was housed in the DS-1 unit on observation status from
December 26, 2013, to March 7, 2014. Defendant Norge was
plaintiff's assigned psychologist during that time
period. Plaintiff was originally placed in observation status
at least in part due to threats of self-harm.
was evaluated daily by psychologists to determine whether he
should continue to be placed in observation status. During
those psychological contacts, plaintiff repeatedly presented
thoughts of self-harm, anger and agitation, and did not deny
feelings of depression.
in mid-January 2014, inmate Goodvine, who was also in
observation status, wrote to the warden's office and
spoke to defendant Morrison about plaintiff
“preparing” to overdose on medications.
January 21, 2014, at 9:50 a.m., Norge arrived at
plaintiff's cell to review his placement in observation
status. Norge had received a Psychological Services Request
that morning from plaintiff indicating that he was feeling
depressed. Plaintiff states that he had frequently previously
told Norge that he was feeling depressed and was going to
kill himself by overdosing on pills, but Norge did not place
him in “one on one” observation status, where
prisoners were watched even closer. Nor did Norge contact HSU
staff to have his medication crushed, to make it even harder
to stockpile. The parties dispute whether Norge was aware of
a 2011 suicide attempt by plaintiff at the Wisconsin Secure
Program Facility, in which he overdosed by stockpiling
Norge arrived at plaintiff's cell, plaintiff was sitting
on his toilet, but not using it, and had his head down.
Plaintiff told Norge that he could not take it anymore, that
he was depressed, and that he felt like he wanted to give up
and die. Plaintiff then opened his right palm and showed
Norge a handful of pills. Plaintiff said that there were
approximately 60 pills in his hand. He had a cup of water in
his left hand. He put the pills in his mouth and swallowed
them. Plaintiff told Norge that he swallowed
“all” of the medication he was prescribed,
including allergy, blood pressure, heart, and psychiatric
had no authority or ability to open plaintiff's door. As
a psychological associate, he is not properly trained nor
equipped to enter an inmate's cell to maintain safety and
security, so he had to leave plaintiff's cell to notify
security staff of the incident. It is undisputed that Norge
did not carry a radio.
is a dispute about Norge's response to these events.
Defendants state that Norge immediately left plaintiff's
cell and told the unit sergeant that plaintiff had ingested
an unknown number of pills. Plaintiff says that Norge stayed
at his cell for 30 minutes talking to him, and that Norge
only left to get help after inmate Goodvine told Norge to get
help. Defendants say that after Norge reported the incident,
he returned to observe plaintiff and question him about
precisely which medications he took.
inmate overdoses, standard protocol is for security staff to
go to the inmate's cell, attempt to get the inmate to
comply with restraining procedures, and escort the inmate
away from the cell to receive proper medical attention.
Security staff arrived at plaintiff's cell at 10:02 a.m.
to remove him from his cell and to escort him to the Health
Services Unit for medical attention. Plaintiff was taken out
of his cell at about 10:05. The parties dispute whether
plaintiff was argumentative about needing shoes before
was escorted to the HSU for a medical evaluation and it was
determined that he needed to be hospitalized for emergency
medical care. Plaintiff says that on his way to the hospital,
“[his] body began to twitch and jerk severely and
wouldn't stop” and that he lost consciousness. Dkt.
158, at 6. At the hospital, plaintiff continued to twitch so
severely that staff had to hold him down on the bed.
returned from the hospital two days later. He was placed back
into observation status since he had recently ingested a
large amount of medication, and upon returning ...