United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON District Judge.
plaintiff Thaddeus Jason Karow, an inmate at the Stanley
Correctional Institution (SCI), brings this action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, asserting Eighth Amendment claims against
prison officials. Karow contends that defendants failed to
provide adequate medical care for his knee and
inappropriately shackled him to his bed while he was being
treated at a hospital.
motions are before the court: (1) Karow's motion for the
court's assistance in recruiting counsel; (2) Karow's
motion for the court to take judicial notice; and (3)
defendants' motion for summary judgment. I will deny the
first, grant the second in part, and grant the third.
Undisputed facts show that defendants were not deliberately
indifferent to Karow's medical condition or the
conditions of his confinement, so defendants are entitled to
summary judgment. The grant of summary judgment disposes of
all of Karow's claims, so I will dismiss the case.
following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.
suffered from pain in his leg, which turned out to be a
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection
in his left knee. He asserts denial of medical care claims
against defendants Kathryn Heyde, Patricia Scherreiks, Joan
Hannula, and Lauren Nelson-Bobb (Medical Defendants).
According to Karow, the Medical Defendants failed to diagnose
his MRSA infection for five days as his condition
April 24, 2010, Karow went to the Health Services Unit (HSU)
at SCI and saw defendant Kathryn Heyde, a
nurse. Although Karow indicated that he had some
knee pain, he also directed Heyde to his rectus femoris (one
of the four quadriceps) as the source of his pain. Dkt. 59,
¶ 26 and Dkt. 117, ¶ 26. As a nurse, Heyde had no
authority to order diagnostic tests. Dkt. 64, ¶ 12. But
she examined Karow's knee, took his medical history and
vital signs, and performed a physical examination. Dkt. 59,
¶ 26; Dkt. 117, ¶ 26; Dkt. 64, ¶ 12. She also
issued him various items to alleviate his pain, including a
heat bag, some muscle rub, and an extra pillow. She also
issued him a low bunk restriction. Heyde noted that Karow
already had ibuprofen from a different medical condition, but
Karow told Heyde that ibuprofen was not effective in treating
his pain and asked for stronger pain medication. Dkt. 78,
¶ 2. Heyde had no authority to prescribe pain
medication, but she referred Karow to a doctor. Dkt. 59,
¶ 26; Dkt. 61-1, at 9; Dkt. 64, ¶ 13; Dkt. 78-4, at
2; Dkt. 117, ¶ 26. Heyde also told Karow that if his
condition did not improve, then he should return to HSU.
the same day, Karow returned to HSU and saw a different
nurse, defendant Patricia Scherreiks. This time, Karow informed
the nurse that his pain was “centered in the
knee.” Dkt. 59, ¶ 27 and Dkt. 117, ¶ 27.
Karow also indicated that his pain was
“tolerable” and that the pain was not
“bad” when he was sitting. Dkt. 59, ¶ 27 and
Dkt. 117, ¶ 27. Scherreiks consulted with a doctor who
was on call and relayed to the doctor Karow's symptoms
and her observations. Dkt. 66, ¶ 11. After this
consultation, Scherreiks advised Karow to apply ice to his
knee four times a day, to continue taking ibuprofen, and to
take Tylenol 325 mg, as prescribed by the on-call doctor. She
also gave him crutches. Although Heyde had already referred
Karow to a doctor, Scherreiks scheduled an appointment with a
doctor to take place in two days.
days later, April 26, 2010, Karow showed up for his scheduled
appointment to see a doctor at HSU, defendant Joan Hannula.
Karow told Hannula that he had been experiencing
“tightness and swelling in the left thigh to
knee.” Dkt. 59, ¶ 29 and Dkt. 117, ¶ 29.
Karow denied having a fever, joint pain, or “any
history of injury to the area in pain.” Dkt. 59, ¶
29 and Dkt. 117, ¶ 29. Karrow also added that “he
thought he might have a strain.” Dkt. 64, ¶ 17.
Hannula reviewed Karow's medical history and performed a
physical examination. Hannula believed that a quadriceps
strain caused Karow's pain, and she recommended massage,
heat, and quadriceps stretches. Hannula also prescribed
Vicodin to address Karow's pain and discomfort.
next day, April 27, 2010, Karow returned to HSU and saw
Hannula again. Karow indicated that he continued to have
tightness in his left quadriceps. Hannula referred Karow to a
physical therapist to assess whether electro-stimulation
therapy would address Karow's pain. Hannula also
prescribed Karow Cyclobenzaprine, a muscle relaxant.
parties dispute whether Karow saw a physical therapist.
According to Karow, he saw a physical therapist, defendant
Lauren Nelson-Bobb, on the same day Hannula recommended that
he see a physical therapist. Karow alleges that after he
informed Nelson-Bobb about his pain, Nelson-Bobb performed
electro-stimulation therapy on his left knee and that this
therapy caused him “excruciating pain.” Dkt. 116,
¶ 21. Nelson-Bobb does not recall treating Karow, Dkt.
62, ¶ 8, and the parties have not produced any record of
her treating Karow. Nelson-Bobb points to her time sheet from
April 27, 2010, Dkt. 62-1, at 2, which does not show that she
saw Karow. Nelson-Bobb also states that she would not have
been at SCI at 6:30 p.m. on April 27, 2010, the time Karow
claims to have seen Nelson-Bobb. Nelson-Bobb also states that
she does not perform electro-stimulation therapy. Dkt. 62,
days later, April 29, 2010, Karow returned to HSU and saw
Scherreiks again. Scherreiks observed that Karow's knee
had swollen and that his pain had worsened. Scherreiks then
consulted with Hannula, who again examined Karow. Apparently
at this point, Hannula recognized that Karow had a serious
problem: she had Karow sent to an emergency room at Ministry
Our Lady of Victory Hospital. From there Karow was
transferred to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he was
hospitalized for seven days, from April 29, 2010, to May 6,
2010. At St. Joseph's Hospital, Karow received a variety
of medical treatment, including surgery to drain an abscess
in his left knee. Dkt. 61-1, at 6-7, 19-22.
Restraints at St. Joseph's Hospital
Joseph's Hospital, Karow was shackled to his hospital
bed: his right wrist was shackled to a metal bar at his right
side, and both of his ankles were shackled to the lower edge
of his bed, forcing him to lie on his back, facing up,
whenever he was in bed. The prison security staff removed his
shackles during medical procedures. He was allowed to use the
lavatory, and his restraints were removed there, although he
still had to wear leg irons. He was transported to and from
his medical appointments in a wheelchair, but it is unclear
whether he was restrained on the wheelchair. But whenever he
was in bed, which was most of the seven-day hospital stay, he
was in the three-point restraint.
challenges the constitutionality of the restraints, and
asserts claims against 17 defendants: nine security officers
(Security Defendants), who refused to remove the shackles
that bound him to his hospital bed or to remove leg irons
when he used the lavatory; six security supervisors
(Supervisor Defendants), who supervised and directed the
Security Defendants; and two wardens of SCI, one former and
one current warden (Wardens), who implemented and enforced
the policy on physical restraints.
manner in which Karow was restrained at the hospital was
determined by his security classification under the Wisconsin
Department of Corrections and SCI policies. Under these
policies, an inmate's security classification depends on
a number of nonexclusive factors:
1. Nature of offense and length of sentence;
2. History of escapes;
3. History of assaultive/disruptive behavior;
4. Pending criminal charges;
5. Security threat group affiliation;
6. Hospital staffing requirements;
7. Availability of on-site hospital security;
8. Availability of local law enforcement response;
9. Institution proximity and response time to hospital;
10. Inmate medical condition; and
11. Public perception/notoriety of crimes committed/media
Dkt. 60-4, at 3.
Karow's case, he was classified as a “medium”
security inmate. According to Karow, he has no history of
attempted escape. But other factors tip the other way. Karow
is serving a sentence of life imprisonment plus 20 years for
murder, burglary, and armed robbery. When he was a
14-year-old, he murdered an 80-year-old woman by stabbing her
several times in the head and back with her kitchen knife. He
then took the victim's car for a joyride. Dkt. 59, ¶
2 and Dkt. 60-3, at 1. During his incarceration, Karow had at
least 51 conduct reports: 15 for disobeying orders; 12 for
failure to follow institution policy; 10 for possessing
contraband; 9 for disruptive conduct; 3 for damaging or
altering property; 1 for fighting; and 1 for making threats.
SCI policies, a medium security inmate who stays at a
hospital must be “restrained to the hospital bed at all
times except when the [inmate] leaves his bed for medical
procedures.” Dkt. 59, ¶ 45; see also Dkt.
60-4, at 4. Partial removal of restraints requires a security
supervisor's approval. Complete removal requires a
security supervisor's approval and a medical
professional's determination that the proposed removal is
Karow's motion for the court's assistance in
moves for the court's assistance in recruiting counsel.
Dkt. 82. I will deny this motion.
in civil cases do not have a constitutional right to counsel,
and I do not have the authority to appoint counsel to
represent a pro se plaintiff in a civil matter. Rather, I can
only assist in recruiting counsel who may be willing to serve
without compensation. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(1); Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 653-54,
656 (7th Cir. 2007) (en banc) (“Section 1915(e)(1) thus
codifies the court's discretionary authority to recruit a
lawyer to represent an indigent civil litigant pro bono
publico; it ‘does not authorize the federal courts to
make coercive appointments of counsel.'” (quoting
Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Court for S. Dist. of Iowa,
490 U.S. 296, 310 (1989)).
assisting in recruiting counsel, this court generally
requires a pro se litigant to satisfy two requirements.
First, the pro se litigant must show that he has made
reasonable attempts to recruit counsel on his own. See
Jackson v. Cty. of McLean, 953 F.2d 1070, 1072-73 (7th
Cir. 1992) (“[T]he district judge must first determine
if the indigent has made reasonable efforts to retain counsel
and was unsuccessful or that the indigent was effectively
precluded from making such efforts”). The court
requires the pro se litigant to provide the names and