United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION
FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF THE FILING FEE
(DKT. NO. 2) AND SCREENING PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT (DKT.
PAMELA PEPPER United States District Judge.
plaintiff, a Wisconsin state prisoner who is representing
herself, filed a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C.
§1983, alleging that the defendants were deliberately
indifferent to her serious medical condition. Dkt. No. 1. She
petitioned for leave to proceed without prepayment of the
full filing fee, and the court ordered her to pay an initial
partial filing fee of $13.30. Dkt. Nos. 2, 5. On August 19,
2016, the plaintiff paid the filing fee in full. The case is
before the court for screening of the plaintiff's
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915A.
SCREENING OF THE PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT
Standard for Screening Complaints
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) applies to
this action because the plaintiff was incarcerated when she
filed her complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Even when the
plaintiff pays the filing fee in full, the PLRA requires
courts to screen any complaint brought by inmates seeking
relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee
of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. §1915A(a). The court
may 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).
state a claim under the federal notice pleading system, the
plaintiff must provide a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that [she] 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 Atl. c 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
factual content of the complaint must allow the court 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.
courts follow the two-step analysis set forth in
Twombly to determine whether a complaint states a
claim. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. First, the court
determines 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, the
court determines whether the well-pleaded factual allegations
“plausibly give rise to an entitlement to
relief.” Id. The court gives pro se
allegations, “however inartfully pleaded, ” a
liberal construction. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).
state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege that the defendants: 1) deprived her of
a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States; and 2) acted under color of state law.
Buchanan-Moore v. Cnty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824,
827 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Kramer v. Vill. of N. Fond du
Lac, 384 F.3d 856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)); see also
Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980).
Facts Alleged in the Complaint
11, 2016, the on-call psychologist at Taycheedah Correctional
Institution (“TCI”) placed the plaintiff in
“observation status” because she was not eating,
was not drinking, was not taking her prescribed psychotropic
medication, and was engaging in self-harm by pulling skin off
her arm. Dkt. No. 1 at 2. Around 10 or 11p.m. that night, the
plaintiff asked to speak with a lieutenant or captain because
she had been having “continued thoughts of wanting to
self-harm.” Id. at 3. Lieutenant Chase went to
the plaintiff's observation cell, and the plaintiff
showed Chase her bleeding arm. Id. The plaintiff had
“pull[ed] off a tattoo that was on [her] left
arm” and was “putting the skin from [her] arm in
a cup.” Id.
seeing the plaintiff's arm, Chase “made a gagging
face” and said, “your [sic] nasty.”
Id. Chase asked the plaintiff why she was pulling
skin from her arm, and the plaintiff replied that “she
couldn't stop self-harming and needed to be tied down in
restraints for her own protection.” Id. Chase
stated that he would not put the plaintiff in restraints, and
he left the unit. Id. at 3-4.
plaintiff started crying, screaming and asking for help.
Id. at 4. The plaintiff then “dug into [her]
left arm which was bleeding badly [and] proceeded to write on
the back wall of the observation cell with her own blood
writing, ‘I WANT ICE!'” Id. The
defendants did nothing. Id. The plaintiff continued
to self-harm throughout the night. Id. Correctional
Officers Zielieke and Hernandez conducted their routine
rounds (“15 minute checks” of the observation
cells) throughout the entire night, and failed to report the
incident to their supervisor. Id. Neither asked the
plaintiff how she was doing, though the plaintiff alleges
that they clearly could see blood in her cell and all over
the walls. Id.
next morning, the first shift officers called the nurse to
examine the plaintiff's arm. Id. The nurse
diagnosed the plaintiff with an infection and prescribed
antibiotics for seven days. Id. While the plaintiff
was gone, the janitor cleaned the blood off the wall in her