United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DECISION AND ORDER
ADELMAN DISTRICT JUDGE
Czapiewski, Anthony Riach, Larry Andrews, David Thomas,
Michael Connely, Jacob Dietrich, Dontrell Anderson, and
William Ziemer are Wisconsin state prisoners proceeding
pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on claims that
Maria Larson, Lynn Propson, Kevin Knudson, Joseph Weister,
Kurt Thomas, and Jessica Rhines violated their Eighth
Amendment rights when they allowed plaintiffs to share a
shaving razor with an inmate who had been diagnosed with
Hepatitis C. Before me now are the parties' cross-motions
for summary judgment.
relevant times, plaintiffs were inmates in the custody of the
Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS) at the
Wisconsin Resource Center (WRC). Defendants were employed by
WDHS at WRC: Rhines was a part-time nurse specialist who
functioned as the Infection Prevention Specialist; Thomas was
a nurse clinician; and Larson, Propson, Knudson, and Weister
were psychiatric care technicians (PCTs).
time, a WRC resident was permitted to have his own personal
razor if he purchased one or had one in his property. If a
resident did not have his own razor, but did have Hepatitis
B, Hepatitis C, or HIV, then WRC would provide a medically
issued personal razor. Otherwise, a resident who did not have
his own razor could check out a shared electric razor on the
housing units. A resident using a shared razor was only
allowed to shave his face. After each use, the resident was
required to clean the razor by removing all hair with a small
brush and spraying the razor with disinfectant spray in view
of staff, as stated in the WRC inmate handbook.
March 26, 2015, Jerry DuBose was transferred to WRC. At
intake, Thomas reviewed DuBose's medical chart and
learned that he had Hepatitis C. He completed a medical
restriction/special needs form (referred to as an F-20159
form) indicating that DuBose required a personal razor.
Thomas did not indicate the medical reason for DuBose's
razor restriction on this form because, due to health
information privacy laws, residents' specific medical
diagnoses are not shared with unit staff, including PCTs. It
was near the end of Thomas's shift, so he placed two
copies of the form on the medication cart for the
second-shift nurse to deliver to Unit 17, where DuBose was
housed. One copy was for the unit PCT (for the unit's
records); the other was for DuBose. Thomas does not know what
happened after he put the copies on the cart. DuBose says
that he received his copy but that he lost it.
March 26, 2015, and June 11, 2015, DuBose used Unit 17's
shared razor whenever he needed to shave. He attests that, on
the first few such occasions, he told the PCT on duty-he
specifically identifies Propson and Weister-that he was
supposed to be using a personal razor because of his
Hepatitis C. Each time, according to DuBose, the PCT told him
that there was no documented razor restriction on file for
him, even though he never saw them check. All four defendant
PCTs attest that they were not aware that DuBose had
Hepatitis C prior to June 11, 2015.
11, 2015, DuBose approached Weister with an open wound on his
hand and asked for a band-aid. He told Weister that he had a
contagious disease and did not want to infect other inmates.
Weister then asked DuBose why he had been using the
unit's shared razor and told him to stop doing so
16, 2015, Rhines returned to work from vacation and learned
via email that DuBose had Hepatitis C. She also learned that
DuBose had been given a personal razor on June 12, 2015. On
June 18, 2015, Rhines advised the Unit 17 PCT to replace the
unit's shared razor. She also reviewed the “Sharps
Checkout logs, ” which contain a record of razors
issued, used, and returned by residents, to identify those
who had used Unit 17's shared razor between April 1,
2015, when DuBose used it for the first time, and June 18,
2015, when it was replaced.
19, 2015, Rhines met individually with each of the residents
she had identified, as well as other residents who requested
to be screened for Hepatitis C- Czapiewski attests that use
of “sharps” was not always properly recorded. She
provided them with education about Hepatitis C, transmission,
risk, and treatment. Residents who agreed to be were screened
for Hepatitis C and informed that they would be tested again
in six months (though, it's not clear whether this
follow-up testing ever happened).
1, 2015, Rhines met individually with each of the residents
again to review their test results. Each resident received a
copy of his results and had an opportunity to ask questions.
None of the residents who were tested received a positive
test result. WRC no longer uses shared unit razors.
is entitled to summary judgment if it shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and it is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). To survive a
motion for summary judgment, a non-moving party must show
that sufficient evidence exists to allow a jury to return a
verdict in its favor. Brummett v. Sinclair Broad. Grp.,
Inc., 414 F.3d 686, 692 (7th Cir. 2005). For the
purposes of deciding the parties' motions, I resolve all
factual disputes and make all reasonable factual inferences
in favor of the non-moving party. Springer v.
Durflinger, 518 F.3d 479, 483-84 (7th Cir. 2008).
Eighth Amendment requires prison officials to take reasonable
measures to guarantee the safety of inmates. Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). A prison official is
liable for failing to protect an inmate from harm if (1)
“the harm to which the prisoner was exposed [was] . . .
an objectively serious one” and (2) “the official
. . . ha[d] actual . . . knowledge of the risk, ” i.e.,
“he ‘must both be aware of facts from which the
inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious
harm exists, and he ...