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Stechauner v. Wall

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

July 11, 2017

MATTHEW C. STECHAUNER, Plaintiff,
v.
EDWARD F. WALL, JON E. LITSCHER, CATHY JESS, JAMES GREER, PAUL KEMPER, JUDY P. SMITH, JASON ALDANA, KRISTEN VASQUEZ, DANIELLE FOSTER, SGT. JAMISON, SGT. BROWN, OFFICER DISMUKE, LORA BLASIUS, DOCTOR KREMBS, DOCTOR PATRICK MURPHY, DOCTOR WHEATLEY, DOCTOR SHEIDE, DOCTOR ADAMS, SGT. NEAL, DAWN FOFANA, JOHN DOES, and JANE DOES, Defendants.

          ORDER

          JAMES D. PETERSON District Judge.

         Pro se plaintiff Matthew C. Stechauner, a Wisconsin prisoner incarcerated at the Oshkosh Correctional Institution (OCI), filed a proposed complaint, alleging that prison officials failed to provide adequate medical care for his various physical and mental conditions. Dkt. 1. Stechauner has paid his partial filing fee.

         The next step is for me to screen his complaint and dismiss any portion that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by law cannot be sued for money damages. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A. Stechauner is a pro se litigant, so I must read his complaint generously. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521 (1972) (per curiam).

         After reviewing the complaint with these principles in mind, I conclude that Stechauner's complaint has three problems: (1) some of his allegations fail to state a claim; (2) some allegations violate Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 because they are too vague; and (3) the complaint as a whole violates Rules 18 and 20 because Stechauner's claims belong in separate lawsuits. I will dismiss Stechauner's complaint, but Stechauner may file an amended complaint that fixes these problems.

         Stechauner's complaint contains 133 numbered allegations against 20 named defendants in addition to various Doe defendants. I will not recount Stechauner's lengthy allegations but instead summarize them. In short, Stechauner's complaint contains seven sets of allegations:

1. Prison employees at Stechauner's old prison, the Racine Correctional Institution (RCI), failed to provide proper medical care for Stechauner's physical conditions, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, and back pain.
2. Prison officials at RCI retaliated against Stechauner for complaining about the lack of proper medical care at RCI by sending him to OCI.
3. Prison employees at RCI violated Stechauner's rights guaranteed under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
4. Prison employees at OCI failed to provide proper medical care for Stechauner's physical conditions.
5. Correctional officers at OCI ignored Stechauner's threats of suicide.
6. Staff members at the OCI Psychological Service Unit ignored Stechauner's requests to see a psychiatrist for mental health issues such as anxiety and suicidal ideations.
7. Defendant Doctor Sheide denied Stechauner's right to personal hygiene by not allowing him to shower and to brush his teeth from September 22, 2016, to September 26, 2016.

         Normally, I require pro se litigants to satisfy Rules 18 and 20 by separating allegations that belong in separate lawsuits before I screen their complaints. But here, some of the problems in Stechauner's complaint are obvious, and if he were to file separate lawsuits, he will incur multiple strikes under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). Given Stechauner's pro se status, providing him with some guidance is appropriate. Accordingly, I begin the discussion by identifying the allegations that fail to state a claim.

         A. Failure ...


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