United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
CHARLES E. CARTHAGE, JR. Plaintiff,
DYLAN RADTKE, MARC CLEMENTS, WILLIAM POLLARD, JIM SCHWOCHERT, and JOHN and JANE DOES, Defendants.
Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge.
who is incarcerated at Dodge Correctional Institution
(“Dodge”), filed a pro se complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his civil rights
were violated. (Docket #1). This matter comes before the
Court on Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis. (Docket #4). Plaintiff has been assessed and
paid an initial partial filing fee of $43.43. 28 U.S.C.
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). A claim 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 [he] is
entitled to relief[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). It is not
necessary for the plaintiff to plead specific facts; 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)); 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) 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. 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 he was arrested and jailed at the Brown County
Jail (the “Jail”) in February 2013. (Docket #1 at
2). In or around March 2013, Jail guards allegedly provided
inadequate treatment for his medical needs, including
complaining about the time and expense required to transport
Plaintiff to dialysis treatment and ultimately causing
Plaintiff to be taken off of a kidney transplant waiting
list. Id. at 2-3. Their complaints about Plaintiff
led to a petition in Brown County Circuit Court to transfer
Plaintiff to a state prison, where his care might be more
easily provided. See Id. The officers also made
allegedly false accusations that Plaintiff represented an
escape risk, which made it difficult for Jail officials to
transport him to medical appointments. Id.
court petition was granted and Plaintiff was transferred to
Dodge. Id. at 3. Plaintiff believes that this was
unlawful because he was a pretrial detainee, not a convicted
prisoner. Id. He says was held at Dodge until April
22, 2014. Id.
alleges that he received further mistreatment while housed at
Dodge. Id. For instance, he claims he was wrongfully
treated as a high security or escape risk, which entailed
Plaintiff being excessively shackled and restrained with
electrical shock monitors while being transported to medical
appointments. Id. at 3-5. He also asserts that
several guards, named here as John and Jane Does, harassed
and ridiculed him. Id. Further, Plaintiff alleges
that he was subjected to baseless lockdowns and denied access
to the law library. Id. Additionally, he says that
being designated a security risk interfered with his
healthcare, since providers were hesitant to come near him,
and he was even denied a kidney transplant evaluation
appointment. Id. at 4. Finally, he suggests in
passing that prison guards “gave [him] medication
improperly, ” though he does not say what medication it
was, or what was improper about their administration of the
medicine. See Id. at 5.
Defendants Dylan Radtke (“Radtke”), Jim
Schwochert (“Schwochert”), William Pollard
(“Pollard”), and Marc Clements
(“Clements”), all identified as current or former
wardens or security directors at Dodge, Plaintiff does not
allege that any of them engaged in any specific conduct
alleged in the complaint. See Id. at 3. Instead,
Plaintiff claims that each had personal knowledge of
Plaintiff's ongoing maltreatment and, ostensibly, did not
act to correct it. See Id. at 3, 5.
allegations are closely related to those he has raised in
another action, Case No. 16-CV-326-JPS, also pending before
this branch of the Court. In that case, the Court has allowed
him to proceed on a claim against the Brown County Jail
guards. The Court rejected Plaintiff's attempt to proceed
simultaneously on claims arising at Dodge, as they are not
sufficiently related to what occurred at the Jail to be heard
in the same action. See George v. Smith, 507 F.3d
605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). This case represents
Plaintiff's effort to raise Dodge-related claims in a
allegations largely suffice to cross the low threshold set by
screening. His claims all grow from his allegation that he
was wrongfully designated as an escape/security risk. First,
according to him, this designation was wrongfully and
unjustifiably imposed, in violation of his due process rights
under the Fourteenth Amendment. Only transgressions upon
protected liberty interests can give rise to due process
claims. Wilkinson v. Austin, 545 U.S. 209, 221
(2005). A liberty interest may arise from the Constitution
itself, or it may arise from an interest created by state
laws or policies. Id.
inmates have no protectable liberty interest in a particular
security classification under the Due Process Clause, and
Plaintiff points to no Wisconsin state policy or regulation
giving rise to such an interest. See Kincaid v.
Duckworth, 689 F.2d 702, 704 (7th Cir. 1982); Miller
v. Henman, 804 F.2d 421, 423 (7th Cir. 1986). Yet
Plaintiff's claim may still proceed if the restrictions
placed on him imposed an atypical and significant hardship as
compared to the ordinary incidents of prison life.
Wilkinson, 545 U.S. at 223; Sandin v.
Conner, 525 U.S. 472, 484 (1995); Earl v. Racine
County Jail, 718 F.3d 689, 691 (7th Cir. 2013) (an
inmate's liberty interest “is affected only if the
more restrictive conditions are particularly harsh compared
to ordinary prison life or if he remains subject to those
conditions for a significantly long time”). Moreover,
as a pretrial detainee, Plaintiff may not be subjected to
punishment, although he would have no claim if his security
classification was “reasonably related to a legitimate
penological objective.” Bell v. Wolfish, 441
U.S. 520, 535 (1979); Holly v. Wollfolk, 415 F.3d
678, 679- 80 (7th Cir. 2005).
allegations suggest that his escape-risk classification
subjected him to years of unnecessary shackling, restraints,
and restrictions. In light of the generous standard of review
applied at screening, the Court finds that his factual
assertions reflect atypical and significant hardships in
relation to ordinary prison life. Moreover, Plaintiff alleges
that his designation was issued and maintained on the basis
of lies by Brown County Jail officials, and it does not
appear that Plaintiff was afforded any procedural ...