United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT. NO. 39) AND DISMISSING THE
PAMELA PEPPER United States District Judge.
Andre Jackson, a Wisconsin state prisoner who is representing
himself, filed an action under 42 U.S.C §1983, alleging
that the defendants violated his civil rights at the Walworth
County Jail. Dkt. No. 10. The court screened the complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915A, and allowed the plaintiff
to proceed with two Monell claims: (1) an equal
protection claim against Walworth County and Walworth County
Sherriff David Graves; and (2) a failure-to-train claim
against Walworth County. Dkt. No. 13.
defendants filed their motion for summary judgment on May 6,
2016, dkt. no. 39; the plaintiff responded on September 8,
2016, dkt. no. 51; and the defendants replied on September
20, 2016, dkt. no. 53. This decision and order resolves the
plaintiff is an African American male who was confined at the
Walworth County Jail during the events described in the
complaint. Dkt. No. 40, ¶ 1. The defendants are Walworth
County and Walworth County Sherriff David Graves. Dkt. No.
The Plaintiff's Allegations
August 20, 2014, the plaintiff and a Caucasian inmate,
Michael Steffen, engaged in a verbal altercation. Dkt. No.
40, ¶¶ 2-3. Correctional Officer Roger Millard
heard the commotion, and observed the plaintiff yelling,
swearing, and moving aggressively towards Steffen.
Id., ¶¶ 5-7, 9. Millard also observed
Steffen backing away from the plaintiff in what appeared to
be an attempt to exit the situation. Id., ¶ 8.
Millard believed that the verbal altercation could escalate
into a physical altercation, so he called in for assistance.
Id., ¶ 10.
correctional officers arrived on the scene before the inmates
engaged in any physical contact. Id., ¶11. The
correctional officers separated the two inmates.
Id., ¶¶ 12-13. They placed the plaintiff
in handcuffs and took him to non-disciplinary administrative
segregation. Dkt. No. 52, ¶ 14. They placed Steffen in
general population. Dkt. No. 40, ¶ 15.
wrote an incident report on the verbal altercation, which
stated that he observed the plaintiff advancing toward
Steffen and Steffen backing away. Id., ¶20;
Millard Aff., ¶ 14. The report also stated that Millard
interviewed other inmates who witnessed the incident, and
that the inmates stated that Steffen was
“needling” the plaintiff over a TV set, that
Steffen kept “egging” the plaintiff until the
plaintiff lost his cool, and that Steffen “made it
appear he was not the instigator.” Id. Millard
wrote in his report that “Steffen played a significant
part in the disturbance.” Id.
Sergeant Greg Sawtelle conducted the disciplinary hearings
for both inmates. Dkt. No. 40, ¶¶ 22-23. After
reviewing the incident reports, he sentenced both inmates to
“5 days full sanction, stayed for 90 days.”
Id., ¶ 26; see Dkt. No. 45-1;
see Dkt. No. 45-2.
plaintiff alleges that he “received a harsher
punishment” than Steffen because he is an African
American. Dkt. No. 51 at 2. He states that the “harsher
punishment” consisted of prison staff placing him in
handcuffs, taking him to non-disciplinary administrative
segregation for five days, returning him to general
population for thirty days, and failing to give him a hearing
until September 3, 2014. Dkt. No. 52., ¶ 21. He alleges
that, in contrast, the prison staff did not handcuff Steffen,
gave him a hearing the day after the incident, and allowed
him to participate in Huber/work release the day after the