United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge.
Paul Bonner, who is incarcerated at the Wisconsin Secure
Program Facility, proceeds in this matter pro se. He
filed a complaint alleging that the defendants violated his
constitutional rights. (Docket #1). This matter comes before
the court on Plaintiff's petition to proceed without
prepayment of the filing fee (in forma pauperis).
(Docket #2). Plaintiff has been assessed and paid an initial
partial filing fee of $2.44. See 28 U.S.C. §
court shall screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking
relief against a governmental entity or an 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. Id. §
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 mere
“labels and conclusions” or a “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 (citation 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. Section 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) (citing Kramer v. Village of North 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)).
presents two claims from his time spent in Green Bay
Correctional Institution. The first arose in November 2016.
Plaintiff states that he suffers from migraine headaches as a
result of a severe skull injury. (Docket #1 at 1). On
November 20, Plaintiff complained to Defendant Sgt.
Rozmarynoski (“Rozmarynoski”) that he was having
such a headache. Id. Rozmarynoski contacted the
Health Services Unit (“HSU”), namely nurse Jane
Doe (“Nurse Doe #1”). Rozmarynoski told Nurse Doe
#1 that Plaintiff had no signs of severe pain and had walked
to the cafeteria and back. Id. Nurse Doe #1 decided
that she did not need to see Plaintiff immediately, and that
he should instead submit a standard request for medical
services. Id. Plaintiff later told Rozmarynoski that
he was having severe pain and blacked out, but the sergeant
refused to call the nurse. Id. at 2. Two days later,
Plaintiff was seen by HSU and received treatment.
second claim arose on December 16, 2016. He contacted
Defendant Sgt. John Doe (“Sgt. Doe”) about his
headaches, requesting an injection which had been prescribed
to treat them. Id. Sgt. Doe told Plaintiff to submit
a written request for medical attention. Id. Later,
Plaintiff told Defendant Sgt. Collins
(“Collins”), who was working on the next shift,
that he was in pain and needed the injection. Id.
Plaintiff waited for Collins to contact a nurse. Id.
When Plaintiff checked in later, however, Collins said she
forgot to call a nurse. Id. On the next shift,
Plaintiff again requested medical attention via the on-duty
sergeant. Id. That sergeant (not a defendant) told
Plaintiff that another Jane Doe nurse (“Nurse Doe #2)
was apparently contacted and did not think Plaintiff's
pain was serious. The sergeant reiterated that Plaintiff
should submit a written medical services request. At some
point, Plaintiff eventually received the injection he
the exceedingly low pleading bar at the screening stage,
Plaintiff may proceed on his claims under the Eighth
Amendment. The Eighth Amendment imposes liability on state
officials when they are deliberately indifferent to the
serious medical needs of inmates. Gayton v. McCoy,
593 F.3d 610, 620 (7th Cir. 2010). The Gayton case
outlines the elements of the claim:
[T]he plaintiff must show that: (1) [he] had an objectively
serious medical condition; (2) the defendants knew of the
condition and were deliberately indifferent to treating
[him]; and (3) this indifference caused [him] some injury. An
objectively serious medical condition is one that has been
diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that
is so obvious that even a lay person would perceive the need
for a doctor's attention. A medical condition need not be
life-threatening to be serious; rather, it could be a
condition that would result in further significant injury or
unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain if not treated.
With regard to the deliberate indifference prong, the
plaintiff must show that the official acted with the
requisite culpable state of mind. This inquiry has two
components. The official must have subjective knowledge of
the risk to the inmate's health, and the official also
must disregard that risk. Evidence that the official acted
negligently is insufficient to prove deliberate indifference.
Rather, “deliberate indifference” is simply a
synonym for intentional or reckless conduct, and that
“reckless” describes conduct so dangerous that
the deliberate nature of the defendant's actions can be
inferred. Simply put, an official must both be aware of facts
from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial
risk of serious harm exists, and he must also draw the
inference. Even if a defendant recognizes the substantial
risk, he is free from liability if he responded reasonably to
the risk, even if the harm ultimately was not averted.
Whether a medical condition is “serious” and
whether a defendant was “deliberately
indifferent” to it are fact questions, to be resolved
by a jury if a plaintiff provides enough evidence to survive
Id. (citations and quotations omitted).
Plaintiff's allegations state that each Defendant knew
that Plaintiff was in substantial pain, and delay in pain
treatment can qualify as a “serious medical
condition.” Berry v. Peterman, 604 F.3d 435,
441 (7th Cir. 2010). The allegations further establish that
Defendants either did nothing about it or discounted the pain
without actually evaluating Plaintiff. Finally, the exhibits
to the complaint suggest that the second claim arose from a
lack of Plaintiff's medication at the prison. (Docket
#1-1 at 9-10). Whether this was, in itself, the result of the
deliberate indifference of any Defendant, that issue will be
sorted out in this litigation.
the court finds that Plaintiff may proceed on the following
claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b): Defendants'
deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical
need, in violation of the Eighth Amendment, as related to