United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANTS' DISMISSING DEFENDANTS JESSE UMENTUM, PETER
SCHALK, CORY SABISH, AND BONNIE HALPER, AND RECRUITING PRO
BONO COUNSEL FOR THE PLAINTIFF
PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff, currently in prison in Wisconsin and representing
himself, is proceeding on Eighth Amendment claims regarding
the defendants' failure to protect the plaintiff from
time of the events he describes in the complaint, he was an
inmate at Waupun Correctional Institution (Waupun) in 2015.
Dkt. No. 29 at ¶1. (He recently was transferred to Green
Bay Correctional Institution. Dkt. No. 42.) Defendants Ryan
Rasmussen, Jesse Umentum, Peter Schalk, and Cory Sabish were
members of the security staff at Waupun, and defendant Bonnie
Halper was a psychological associate at Waupun. Dkt. No. 29
at ¶¶5-7, 19.
Previous Self-Harm Injury
February 10, 2015, a nurse was called to the restrictive
housing unit at Waupun because the plaintiff had cut himself
with a razor, then “flushed the razor.” Dkt. No.
29 at ¶31. He had a two-inch laceration on his left
upper arm. Id. “The nurse applied two
butterfly closures and two 4x4s with tape to cover the
little over a month later, on March 10, 2015, a nurse again
was called to the restrictive housing unit, this time to
check the plaintiff's left arm. Id. at ¶32.
The plaintiff had picked “the scab off his healing
laceration and dried blood surrounded the area.”
Id. It looked to the nurse as though the plaintiff
“was trying to make the wound bigger.”
Id. The nurse instructed the plaintiff to keep his
hands off his wound and to keep it clean and dry.
Transfer to Observation
days later, on March 13, 2015 at approximately 1:45 p.m., the
plaintiff reported to staff members that he was suicidal.
Id. at ¶33. He made numerous statements that he
would harm himself and needed to be placed in observation.
Id. The plaintiff “said he had been trying to
work with staff concerning his restrictions, but he felt he
had not been treated fairly, and this made him want to hurt
himself.” Id. The plaintiff asked to be
“strapped down, ” and threatened to “open
his arm up” when placed in observation. Id.
Due to the plaintiff's statements about his intention to
hurt himself and his overall agitated presentation,
Psychological Associate Joshua Olson decided to place the
plaintiff in observation, with close fifteen-minute checks as
a preventative measure. Id. The defendants indicate
that the plaintiff “had been having difficulty with
stability, ” based on the fact that this was his third
observation placement since March 7, 2015. Id.
plaintiff says that he was escorted to the “strip
cage” before he was taken to an observation cell, but
he does not specify who escorted him. Dkt. No. 1 at 3.
According to the plaintiff, defendant Rasmussen approached
him and ordered him to hand out his “green gown for
exchange for a paper gown.” Id. The plaintiff
says that Rasmussen “seemed drunk.” Dkt. No. 40
at 1. The plaintiff asked Rasmussen if he was being strip
searched, and Rasmussen said no. Dkt. No. 1 at 3. In his
complaint, the plaintiff quoted Rasmussen as saying,
“No, I'm not feeling it today, just give me your
gown and put this on ….” Id. In his
affidavit in response to the defendants' motion for
summary judgment, the plaintiff relays Rasmussen's words
as, “no I'm not feeling it today, just get
dressed.” Dkt. No. 40 at 1.
complaint, the plaintiff states that Rasmussen, Umentum,
Sabish, and Schalk escorted him to “the cell” and
placed him in observation. Dkt. No. 1 at 3. In his affidavit,
the plaintiff says that Rasmussen and Umentum escorted him to
his observation cell and, when they arrived, Schalk and
Sabish were searching the cell. Dkt. No. 40 at 1. According
to the plaintiff, “they didn't make sure I
didn't have any item on me or ask if I was in the strip
Plaintiff's Self-Harm on March 13, 2015
after he was placed in the observation cell, the plaintiff
noticed that he still had his rosary around his neck and half
a comb in his hair. Dkt. No. 1 at 3-4. The plaintiff
“instantly used both items to cut [his] inner left
elbow.” Id. at 4.
3:00 p.m. that day, Halper was “conducting other
contacts in the restrictive housing unit.” Dkt. No. 29
at ¶34. The plaintiff called out to her and asked to
talk, and Halper approached his door. Id. The
plaintiff showed Halper what she thought was a plastic
rosary. Id. He also showed Halper his wrist, and
“demonstrated that he used the charm to engage in
self-harm.” Id. Halper described the wound on
the plaintiff's wrist “as a scratch or superficial
told the plaintiff “that he would need to hand out the
rosary.” Id. Halper does not have keys to the
observation cells, and doesn't carry a radio to contact
the sergeant or other security staff. Id.
“Halper went quickly to report the incident to the
sergeant.” Id. By the time the sergeant
arrived, the plaintiff said he had swallowed the rosary and
had flushed the beads and comb. Id.; Dkt. No. 40 at
supervisor was called, ” and the plaintiff “was
placed in ambulatory restraints for his own protection. Dkt.
No. 29 at ¶34. The plaintiff says that he “was put
in the strip cage where they took pictures.” Dkt. No.
40 at 2. He also indicates that the doctor “put [him]
in mitts and the body suit.” Id. (A
“Safety Suit” covers the body from ankles to
neck; it keeps the person from “being able to pass
items through his body and retrieve them, ” as well as
preventing the person from irritating a wound or harming
himself. Dkt. No. 29 at ¶21.)
restrictive housing unit logbook entry for second shift on
March 13, 2015 indicates that the plaintiff swallowed
something and cut his arm at approximately 2:56 p.m. Dkt. No.
29 at ¶21. The health services unit saw him, and put him
in “mitts, ” or the “Tube.”
Id. at ¶¶21. (The Tube restraint covers
one's entire hand, to keep the person from grasping
items, and from irritating or opening wounds. Id.)
The plaintiff was continued on observation status as a
preventative measure. Id. at ¶34. The plaintiff
avers that he sustained severe scar tissue from cutting
himself and has emotional thoughts when he looks at the scar.
Dkt. No. 1 at 4.
the next several days, the plaintiff was placed in the Tube
and the Safety Suit. Dkt. No. 29 at ¶21. While in the
safety suit, the inmate does not have the ability to use the
toilet without a staff member assisting him and removing the
suit. Id. at ¶22. An ...