United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
WILLIAM C. GRIESBACH, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT
Christopher Goodvine, who is incarcerated at the Dodge
Correctional Institution, filed a pro se complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his civil rights
were violated. This matter comes before the court for
screening Plaintiff's complaint and on his petition to
proceed in forma pauperis. Plaintiff lacks the funds
to pay the partial filing fee. Therefore, the court waives
the initial partial filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4).
court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the
prisoner has raised claims that are legally “frivolous
or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either
in law or in fact. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
31 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325
(1989); Hutchinson ex rel. Baker v. Spink,
126 F.3d 895, 900 (7th Cir. 1997). The court may, therefore,
dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual
contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S.
at 327. “Malicious, ” although sometimes treated
as a synonym for “frivolous, ” “is more
usefully construed as intended to harass.” Lindell
v. McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107, 1109-10 (7th Cir. 2003)
state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading
system, the plaintiff is required to provide a “short
and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). It is not
necessary for the plaintiff to plead specific facts and his
statement need only “give the defendant fair notice of
what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S.
41, 47 (1957)). However, a complaint that offers
“labels and conclusions” or “formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). To state
a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, “that is plausible on its
face.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The complaint's
allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (citations omitted).
considering whether a complaint states a claim, courts should
follow the principles set forth in Twombly by first,
“identifying pleadings that, because they are no more
than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Legal
conclusions must be supported by factual allegations.
Id. If there are well-pleaded factual allegations,
the court must, second, “assume their veracity and then
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief.” Id.
state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege that: (1) he was deprived of a right
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States and
(2) the deprivation was visited upon him by a person or
persons acting under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore
v. Cnty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009)
(citing Kramer v. Vill. of N. Fond du Lac, 384 F.3d
856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)); see also Gomez v. Toledo,
446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). The court is obliged to give the
plaintiff's pro se allegations, “however
inartfully pleaded, ” a liberal construction. See
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).
January 31, 2017, Plaintiff was booked into the Fond du Lac
County Jail. Plaintiff's fiancé informed the
booking officer, John Doe 1, that Plaintiff was a cutter,
could not tolerate isolation, and needed his medications. On
February 5, 2017, Plaintiff alleges he informed Sergeant Jane
Doe 2 that he was despondent and that being placed in
isolation would result in him attempting suicide, but she
placed him in isolation without taking any precautions. He
asserts that he told John Doe 3 that he was suicidal and was
going to cut himself very badly. John Doe 3 indicated he
would notify Sergeant Jane Doe 2. At some unspecified time,
Plaintiff cut his right arm. He was taken to the emergency
room where he was treated. Plaintiff alleges that hospital
staff “urged” Sergeant Jane Doe 2 to complete
paperwork for a Chapter 51 emergency detention to place
Plaintiff in a stabilized mental health facility. He asserts
Jane Doe 2 did not complete this paperwork until February 7,
returned to the Fond du Lac County Jail on February 5, 2017
where he was placed in a “dungeon-like” cell.
Plaintiff claims he should have been monitored by John Does 2
through 6 but was not. He asserts he informed Jane and John
Does 4 and 5 that he was going to cut himself again but they
did not take any action. As a result, Plaintiff cut his left
arm. He was again taken to the emergency room to be treated.
returned to the Jail on February 8, 2017. He was again placed
in a “dungeon-like” cell without any further
precautions regarding his self-harm. He complained to
Sergeant John Doe 7 about the lack of precautions for
approximately one hour. He alleges that after he told John
Doe 7 that he would sue him, Plaintiff was placed in a
restraint chair for eight to nine hours. John Doe 7 noted
that Plaintiff was placed in the restraint chair because he
tampered with and picked at his cuts. Plaintiff alleges that
when he showed John Doe 7 his arms, his cuts and bandages
were in tact. Plaintiff alleges John Doe 7's reasoning
for putting him in the restraint chair was pretext and that
he put him in the restraints in retaliation of
Plaintiff's threat to sue him. Plaintiff asserts Sergeant
John Doe 7 and Sergeant John Doe 8 refused to remove him from
the chair or call a medical professional to triage him.
February 9, 2017, Plaintiff informed John and Jane Does 9
through 12 as well as Jane Doe clinician that he was
suicidal. He alleges that as a result of their failure to
monitor him, he eventually cut his left wrist and required
hospitalization. Plaintiff returned to the Jail on February
Eighth Amendment prohibits “cruel and unusual
punishments” and imposes a duty on prison officials to
take reasonable measures to guarantee an inmate's safety
and to ensure that inmates receive adequate medical care.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). Prison
officials violate the Constitution if they are deliberately
indifferent to a prisoner's serious medical needs.
Id. (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97,
103 (1976)). A prisoner's claim for deliberate
indifference must establish both an objectively serious
medical condition existed, and that the defendants were
subjectively aware of and consciously disregarded the
prisoner's medical need. Id. at 837. Under this
standard, Plaintiff has at least stated a colorable cause of
action and may proceed on his deliberate indifference claim
against John/Jane Does 2 through 6 and 9 through 12 as well
as Jane Doe clinician. However, Plaintiff has failed to state
a claim against John Doe 1. He has not demonstrated that John
Doe 1 disregarded Plaintiff's medical need. Accordingly,
the court will dismiss him as a defendant.
Plaintiff cannot proceed on his deliberate indifference and
retaliation claims against John Does 7 and 8. To assert an
Eighth Amendment claim, a plaintiff must allege an
objectively serious medical condition and that defendants
acted with deliberate indifference to that condition. See
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. Plaintiff's complaint
concerning his placement in restraints fails to satisfy both
requirements. First, eight to nine hours in restraints, while
uncomfortable, does not implicate the Eighth Amendment.
See Cunningham v. Eyman, 17 F. App'x 449, 454
(7th Cir. 2001). Further, Plaintiff's actions gave rise
to the use of restraints. Plaintiff alleges he complained to
John Doe 7 for an hour about being in the
“dungeon-like” cell and about the Jail's lack
of precautions regarding his self-harm. When John Doe 7
ultimately placed Plaintiff in the restraint chair, it was
because Plaintiff was tampering with and picking at his cuts.
By restraining Plaintiff, John Does 7 and 8 were responding
to Plaintiff's medical condition. It therefore follows
that they were not deliberately indifferent.
also claims that John Doe 7 retaliated against him by putting
him in the restraint chair because Plaintiff threatened to
sue him. To prevail on a retaliation claim, a plaintiff must
specify a retaliatory action, name the appropriate
defendants, and assert a constitutionally-protected activity,
the exercise of which caused the retaliatory action.
Hoskins v. Lenear, 395 F.3d 372, 375 (7th Cir.
2005). While Plaintiff attempts to meet this standard, he has
instead pleaded himself out of court by alleging facts which
clearly demonstrate that the actions complained of were not
in retaliation of his constitutionally-protected conduct but
rather in response to his suicidal ideation. A prisoner
cannot transform such actions into a federal lawsuit simply
by adding the conclusory allegation that, in taking such
actions, the guards were also retaliating against him for
other, constitutionally-protected conduct. Under ...