United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
JOHN H. BALSEWICZ, also known as MELISSA BALSEWICZ, Plaintiff,
BYRAN BARTOW, TIMOTHY LUNDQUIST, CRAIG BLUMER, SGT. DARRYL FRANKLIN, EDWARD KREMER, DEE KAPITZKE, GERALD LENNOP, MICHAEL HELMEID, DR. FLECK, LINDSAY DANFORTH, JOHN BESSERT, BRIAN SCHRAA, JOHN LENZ, RENATA BACON, and JENNIFER JRNKA, Defendants.
Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge
who is incarcerated at Waupun Correctional Institution, filed
a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that her civil rights were violated. (Docket #1).
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's motion
to proceed in forma pauperis. (Docket #2). Plaintiff
has been assessed and paid an initial partial filing fee of
$35.71. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4).
Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or
employee of a governmental entity. Id. §
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.
Id. § 1915A(b).
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); Gladney v. Pendelton Corr. Facility, 302
F.3d 773, 774 (7th Cir. 2002). 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; Gladney, 302 F.3d at 774. “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 (7th Cir. 2003); Paul v.
Marberry, 658 F.3d 702, 705 (7th Cir. 2011).
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 [she] is
entitled to relief[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). It is not
necessary for the plaintiff to plead specific facts; her
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)); Christopher v. Buss, 384 F.3d
879, 881 (7th Cir. 2004). 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. The complaint
allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555; Christopher, 384 F.3d at 881.
considering whether a complaint states a claim, courts should
first “identif[y] 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 “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) she was deprived of a right
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and
(2) the deprivation was visited upon her by a person or
persons acting under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore
v. County of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir.
2009); Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980).
The Court is obliged to give 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)).
alleges that she has gender dysphoria. Her allegations in
this case arise from Defendants' alleged failure to treat
Plaintiff's suicidal tendencies related to this
condition. She alleges that the relevant events occurred
while she was incarcerated at the Wisconsin Resource Center
(“WRC”) in Winnebago, Wisconsin. (Docket #1 at
4). Defendants are various employees at that institution.
Id. The Court will explain Plaintiff's claims
below, but notes at the outset that Plaintiff's
allegations suffer from a lack of detail as to actors and
dates. This will render the narrative somewhat disjointed.
alleges that she suffers from depression, bipolar disorder,
and has suicidal ideation as a result of her gender
dysphoria. Id. at 5. She received “dialectical
behavioral treatment” (“DBT”) at WRC for some
unspecified period. See Id. While there, she claims
that the testing results that confirmed her gender dysphoria
were not sent to the “G.D. Committee” for further
consideration, including the possible approval of hormone
therapy for Plaintiff. Id. at 6. She asserts that
WRC staff, none of whom are identified specifically, lied to
her about the fact that the results had been sent to the
Committee. Id. Plaintiff claims that these lies
caused an 11-month delay in her receiving hormone therapy.
Id. Initially, she submitted requests for medical
care regarding the delay. Id. Apparently, they were
not answered to her satisfaction, so she filed an inmate
complaint on the matter which was eventually rejected.
later date, after being housed at another facility for a
time, Plaintiff was returned to WRC for further DBT.
Id. Plaintiff claims the treatment was not designed
for treating transgendered individuals. Id. Nor were
there, in her opinion, any staff qualified to run groups,
programs, or classes regarding LGBT issues. Id. She
also alleges that while at WRC, certain unnamed staff members
told her that the WRC director, Byran Bartow
(“Bartow”), said that he did not want
transgendered individuals like Plaintiff at his facility.
Id. These factors caused Plaintiff's depression
to worsen, and she warned some unspecified staff members that
she would engage in self-harm. Id. She also filed
another inmate complaint about these problems, which was
point either during or after this second round of treatment
at WRC, Plaintiff sent a request for care to Dr. Craig Blumer
(“Dr. Blumer”), the WRC clinical director.
Id. Although she seems to think that DBT is not the
appropriate therapy for her, Plaintiff asked Dr. Blumer to
keep her in that therapy group. Id. She also
explained her complaints about the failure to transmit her
medical reports to the G.D. Committee, and WRC's failure
to provide qualified staff to treat LGBT issues. Id.
Sometime thereafter, Plaintiff met with Dr. Blumer, stated
that her depression was worsening, and warned Dr. Blumer that
she would commit self-harm or suicide “in an attempt to
get sexual reassignment surgery” or “gender
reassignment surgery.” Id. She states that her
warning “fell on deaf ears” and that Dr. Blumer
even tried to expunge records of her medical care request and
their conversation. Id. Again, Plaintiff submitted
an inmate grievance on these matters which was again
next reports that while at WRC, she threatened self-harm in
the form of castration-specifically, she told Sergeant Darryl
Franklin (“Franklin”), social worker Jennifer L.
Jrnka (“Jrnka”), psychological associate Lindsay
E. Danforth (“Danforth”), and psychological
associate Spiegelberg (whose first name is not given) that
she planned to go outside and allow animals to mutilate her
genitals. Id. at 7-8. They apparently ignored these
suggestions, which Plaintiff alleges constituted deliberate
indifference to her self-harm ideations. Id. Another
inmate grievance and rejection ensued. Id. at 8.
another time during her second stay at WRC-perhaps in late
2016-Plaintiff claims she told psychological care technicians
John Bessert (“Bessert”), Brian Schraa
(“Schraa”), and John K. Lenz (“Lenz”)
that she had thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Id.
at 8. Plaintiff alleges that none responded satisfactorily to
these threats, noting that Plaintiff lacked a plan or intent
to carry out the actions. Id. Plaintiff claims that
these individuals did not even document her reported threats
of self-harm. Id. When Plaintiff spoke with
psychological care supervisor Gerald Lennop
(“Lennop”) about the matter, he agreed that
something more should have been done. Id. Plaintiff
filed another grievance on these issues, and it was rejected
like the others. Id.
remainder of Plaintiff's complaint describes three
different suicide attempts she undertook in December 2016.
First, on December 16, during a meeting with Jrnka, Plaintiff
reiterated her thoughts of self-harm and said “my
preference is to hang-come in on a cord, go out on a
cord!” Id. at 9. She also threatened to
overdose on medication at or around the time she would hang
herself. Id. It appears that Plaintiff was
thereafter moved into the restrictive housing unit
(“RHU”) on “temporary lock-up”
(“TLU”) status after making these threats.
Id. Some staff members, including Jrnka, Danforth,