United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DECISION AND ORDER
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge
Lawrence Threadgill, proceeding pro se, brought this 42
U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action against Registered
Nurse Margaret Zarwell, Nurse Practitioner Floyd Elftman,
Lieutenant Allamont Perine, Lieutenant Jayne Hopkins, and
Lieutenant Anthony Dodd. Threadgill alleges Defendants
displayed deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth
Amendment regarding his treatment, and lack thereof, for
potential injuries from a slip and fall. This case is now
before the Court on Defendants' motion for summary
judgment. (ECF No. 28.) Threadgill failed to respond to
Defendants' proposed findings of fact, despite having
been provided the proper notice and warnings as to the
consequences of failing to do so. Defendants' proposed
findings of fact are therefore deemed undisputed. Civil L. R.
56(b)(4). Based on the undisputed facts, the Defendants'
motion will be granted and the case will be dismissed.
claims arise from the alleged injuries he suffered during a
slip and fall while jogging in the gym at the House of
Corrections in Franklin, Wisconsin on December 20, 2012.
Nurse Zarwell reported to the gym, where Threadgill claimed
he could not move. However, Nurse Zarwell observed Threadgill
moving his upper extremities, including his head, neck, and
arms. Threadgill refused all offers for Nurse Zarwell to
assess his injuries in the gym and was moved by wheelchair to
the health services unit. Nurse Zarwell observed Threadgill
hold his head and neck in a rigid position that required the
use of his muscles for approximately an hour. She further
observed him moving his legs, arms, head, shoulder, and neck
to look up while in the health services waiting area.
Threadgill's pulse and skin color in his extremities all
appeared normal. Threadgill did not display any behavior
consistent with the level of pain he reported.
Zarwell reported her observations to Mr. Elftman. Mr. Elftman
requested that Threadgill walk back into the assessment area
in order to receive treatment. Because Threadgill refused to
follow instructions, Nurse Zarwell indicated that he would
not be evaluated any further in the health services unit.
Despite his refusal to cooperate, Threadgill was still given
Naproxen to alleviate his pain symptoms. Naproxen was also
given to Threadgill on December 20, 21, 22, 25, and 26, 2012.
Dodd reported to health services to assist in
Threadgill's return to his cell. While still in the
health services waiting area, Lt. Dodd informed Threadgill
that he could not force medical services to treat or evaluate
him. Lt. Dodd further informed Threadgill if he wanted
treatment, he should fill out a health services request.
Threadgill claims he filled out medical request forms, but
the only forms on file were three grievances complaining that
he was not seen by health services. The first grievance was
filed with Lt. Perine, who dismissed the claim because he saw
Threadgill walking back and forth between the bathroom and
the card tables on December 20, 2012. The other two
grievances were processed by Lt. Hopkins, who forwarded the
grievances to the health center.
did not report a need for ongoing medical services relating
to his alleged injury during a meeting with a psychiatric
social worker on January 8, 2013. Threadgill was also
examined during a comprehensive intake physical exam at the
Milwaukee County Jail on February 1, 2013-he raised
complaints about dry skin, but made no mention of lingering
effects from his alleged December 20, 2012 injury. Threadgill
then filed this claim on April 24, 2015.
judgment is proper “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; see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242 248 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 324 (1986); McNeal v. Macht, 763 F.Supp.
1458, 1460-61 (E.D. Wis. 1991). “Material facts”
are those under the applicable substantive law that
“might affect the outcome of the suit.” See
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A dispute over
“material fact” is “genuine” if
“the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.
In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court will
view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving
parties. Crull v. Sunderman, 384 F.3d 453, 460 (7th
deliberate indifference claim requires both an objectively
serious risk of harm and a subjectively culpable state of
mind. Edwards v. Snyder, 478 F.3d 827, 830 (7th Cir.
2007); Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994);
Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 653 (7th Cir. 2005).
A deliberate indifference claim based on inadequate medical
treatment requires, to satisfy the objective element, a
medical condition “that has been diagnosed by a
physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious
that even a lay person would perceive the need for a
doctor's attention.” Edwards, 478 F.3d at
830 (quoting Greeno, 414 F.3d at 653). The
subjective component of a deliberate indifference claim
requires that the prison official knew of “a
substantial risk of harm to the inmate and disregarded the
risk.” Greeno, 414 F.3d at 653 (citing
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834). Mere medical malpractice
or a disagreement with a doctor's medical judgment is not
deliberate indifference. Edwards, 478 F.3d at 830-31
(citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 107 (1976);
Greeno, 414 F.3d at 653; Estate of Cole by
Pardue v. Fromm, 94 F.3d 254, 261 (7th Cir. 1996)). Yet,
a plaintiff's receipt of some medical care does not
automatically defeat a claim of deliberate indifference if a
fact finder could infer the treatment was “so blatantly
inappropriate as to evidence intentional mistreatment likely
to seriously aggravate” a medical condition.
Id. (citing Snipes v. DeTella, 95 F.3d 586,
592 (7th Cir. 1996)).
back or neck injury resulting in paralyzation would be
objectively serious, the undisputed evidence shows that
neither Zarwell nor Elftman knew of a substantial risk of
harm to Threadgill and then disregarded that risk. Zarwell
immediately reported to the House of Corrections' gym
after she received the report that Threadgill had slipped and
fallen. Recognizing Threadgill's claims that he was in
pain and could not move, Zarwell first offered to conduct her
evaluation in the gymnasium. Zarwell then ensured that
Threadgill was moved to health services and observed his
symptoms for approximately an hour before determining that
Threadgill could safely walk. Even though Threadgill refused
to comply with Zarwell and Elftman's reasonable requests
for further treatment, Zarwell still issued Threadgill
Naproxen for his reported pain on five of the next seven
days. Furthermore, Lt. Perine witnessed Threadgill walking on
December 20 and Threadgill did not report any lingering pain
on January 8, 2013 or February 1, 2013. These undisputed
facts establish that Zarwell and Elftman reasonably viewed
any injury harm suffered by Threadgill as not objectively
serious and, thus, they cannot be found to have been
deliberately indifferent to Threadgill's serious medical
needs. Therefore, summary judgement in favor of Zarwell and
Elftman is appropriate.
claims against Dodd, Perine, and Hopkins also fail as they
were not treatment providers and only responded to
institutional complaints. Threadgill asserts that Dodd's
failure to insist upon treatment at the health services
center amounted to deliberate indifference. However, Dodd had
no authority at the time-Threadgill was currently in the care
of health services. Dodd instructed Threadgill to fill out a
health services request if he felt he needed more treatment,
which was the extent of Dodd's authority regarding
Threadgill's treatment. Likewise, Threadgill only filled
grievances with Perine and Hopkins, not medical request
forms. Grievance forms have no bearing on whether or not a
prisoner is treated. Perine directed Threadgill to fill out a
medical request form if he wanted to be seen. (ECF No. 35-2.)
Hopkins acknowledged receipt of the grievances she received
and forwarded them to the health center. Dodd, Perine, and
Hopkins did not refuse to provide medical care to Threadgill;
to the contrary, they assisted him in taking the proper steps
to seek any needed care. Accordingly, Dodd, Perine, and
Hopkins' actions do not amount to a denial of medical
care and the claims against them must be dismissed.
upon the foregoing analysis, Defendants' motion for
summary judgment (ECF No. 28) is GRANTED and this action will
be DISMISSED. The ...