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Williams v. Brady

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

March 8, 2017



          C. N. CLEVERT, JR. U.S. District Judge.

         The pro se plaintiff, Jeremy Devonta Williams, is a Wisconsin state prisoner. He filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that defendant Officer Willie Freeman poisoned his food and that defendants Nurse Travis Brady, Sergeant Daryl Bones, and Lieutenant Olin Mikell were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs after the alleged food poisoning. Defendants' motion for summary judgment is ready for resolution and is addressed below.


         Plaintiff was confined at the Racine Correctional Institution (Racine), a medium-security institution located in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, at all times material to this action. Defendants are all employed by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) and work at Racine. Travis Brady is a nurse clinician, Olin Mikell is a supervising officer 1 (lieutenant), Daryl Bones is a correctional sergeant, and Willie Freeman is a correctional officer.

         On September 16, 2015, Officer Freeman passed out lunch trays to the inmates in the restrictive housing unit at Racine. At about 11:30 a.m., plaintiff hit the emergency call button and told Sergeant Bones that he had stomach pains and wanted Bones to call the health services unit. Sergeant Bones called the health services unit, and a staff member there said that Nurse Brady would be notified. About twenty minutes later, Officer Freeman was at plaintiff's cell front and saw that he was breathing but not responding. Officer Freeman reported plaintiff's status to Sergeant Bones, who called the health services unit again and requested Lieutenant Mikell to report to the unit. A minute later Lieutenant Mikell came to the unit. Lieutenant Mikell, Officer Freeman, and Correctional Officer Coca entered plaintiff's cell where Lieutenant Mikell directed Sergeant Bones to call the health services unit again. Nurse Brady arrived at the unit to assess plaintiff within seven minutes of being informed that plaintiff was unconscious but still breathing.

         He examined plaintiff and found that plaintiff's vital signs and blood sugar were normal, his skin was warm and dry, his heart rhythm was normal, and his lungs were clear. Nurse Brady tried to open plaintiff's eyes to test his pupil response and observed he was squeezing his eyes shut. To Nurse Brady, this was an indication that plaintiff was conscious and was deliberately attempting to appear unconscious. Nurse Brady used smelling salts to help determine whether plaintiff was indeed unconscious and, if he was, to help him regain consciousness because using ammonia inhalants or “smelling salts” can help restore consciousness and mental alertness. Smelling salts are also a good tool for determining whether a patient is actually unconscious. When Nurse Brady used the smelling salts, plaintiff turned his head immediately and held his breath. During the assessment, Nurse Brady did not observe any injuries to plaintiff.

         Sergeant Bones completed an incident report respecting the matter on September 16, 2015. Plaintiff told Sergeant Bones that he felt drugged or poisoned, that he wanted his food tray tested in addition to a urinalysis and blood test. Afterward, Sergeant Bones contacted Lieutenant Mikell about plaintiff's requests. Pursuant to Lieutenant Mikell's directive, Sergeant Bones emailed the officer in charge of urinalysis and asked that the test be performed for plaintiff. Lieutenant Mikell also asked Sergeant Bones to advise plaintiff to send a request for the blood test to the health services unit.

         Lieutenant Mikell received four requests from plaintiff to test the food from his food tray. Lieutenant Mikell explained to plaintiff that his food would not be tested because the institution did not conduct food tests and because he did not know where to send the food for poison testing outside of the institution.

         Health services unit staff saw plaintiff during the health and psychological rounds on September 18, 21, and 23, 2015. During these visits, plaintiff did not display any signs of injury or illness.

         On September 24, 2015, plaintiff saw Nurse Tremaine Jackson for complaints of headaches. Plaintiff told Nurse Jackson that his headache had not affected his activities of daily living and that he had still been able to participate in recreation activities such as pushups. Upon examination, plaintiff's speech was clear, he was calm and he had an appropriate gait, with a steady pace within normal limits. His pupils were equally round and reactive to light. Moreover, plaintiff's bilateral hand grasps were strong and equal. Also, plaintiff moved his extremities without any weakness and displayed full head and neck range of motion. Based on the examination, Nurse Jackson diagnosed plaintiff with an “alteration in comfort, ” and instructed him to use cool or warm compresses for comfort as well as relaxation techniques. Nurse Jackson dispensed acetaminophen to plaintiff and instructed him to maintain his hydration and to limit his salt/caffeine intake.

         On September 28, 2015 and October 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, and 28, 2015, health services unit staff saw plaintiff during health and psychological services rounds. On these dates, plaintiff did not report any complaints, had no signs of injury or illness, and did not express any mental health concerns.


         “The court shall grant summary judgment 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(a); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986); Ames v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 629 F.3d 665, 668 (7th Cir. 2011). “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.

         A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must ...

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