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Adams v. Hepp

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

July 17, 2017

PAUL ALLEN ADAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
RANDALL R. HEPP, DR. LARSON, CANDI WHITMAN, and JOHN AND JANE DOES, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYING THE FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 2), SCREENING THE PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT, AND DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS TO APPOINT COUNSEL (DKT. NOS. 3, 11)

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Paul Allen Adams, who is representing himself, filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated. Dkt. No. 1. The plaintiff also filed a motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee, dkt. no. 2, and two motions asking the court to recruit counsel to represent him, dkt. nos. 3, 11. This order resolves the plaintiff's motions and screens his complaint.

         The case currently is assigned to Magistrate Judge Duffin. The defendants, however, have not had the opportunity to consent to the magistrate judge presiding over the case. For this reason, the clerk's office has referred the case to United States District Judge Pamela Pepper for the limited purpose of screening the complaint. The clerk's office will return the case to Magistrate Judge Duffin after entry of this order.

         Motion for Leave to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing Fee

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act gives courts discretion to allow prisoners to proceed with their lawsuits without prepaying the $350 filing fee, as long as they comply with certain requirements. 28 U.S.C. §1915. One of those requirements is that they pay an initial partial filing fee. On May 25, 2017, the court ordered the plaintiff to pay an initial partial filing fee of $2.49. The plaintiff paid that fee on June 7, 2017. Accordingly, the court will grant his motion to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee. The plaintiff must pay the remainder of the filing fee over time in the manner explained at the end of this order.

         Screening of the Complaint

         The 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 part of it, 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. §1915A(b). To state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading system, a 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).

         To 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) (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)).

         The Complaint's Allegations

         The plaintiff alleges that about six months after he arrived at Fox Lake Correctional Institution, he began to have diarrhea about seven times per day. He experienced severe pain and bleeding during his bowel movements and lost his ability to control them. The plaintiff states that he wrote to Health Services several times per week, begging for help and services. After about two years, a nurse practitioner finally examined him, and referred him to a specialist, but it was another six months before the specialist actually saw him. The plaintiff has had two surgeries, but states that he is still in pain. The plaintiff alleges that he filed more than two hundred requests to Health Services and complained to defendant Warden Randall Hepp (as well as other individuals who the plaintiff did not name as defendants), but was ignored.

         Analysis

         Section 1983 “creates a cause of action based on personal liability and predicated upon fault; thus, liability does not attach unless the individual defendant caused or participated in a constitutional violation.” Vance v. Peters, 97 F.3d 987, 991 (7th Cir. 1996) (quoting Sheik-Abdi v. McClellan, 37 F.3d 1240, 1248 (7th Cir. 1994)). In other words, because §1983 makes public employees liable “for their own misdeeds but not for anyone else's, ” Burks v. Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592, 596 (7th Cir.2009), a plaintiff must specify in his allegations what each individual defendant did (or did not do) to violate his constitutional rights.

         Although the plaintiff named Dr. Larson and Candi Whitman as defendants in the caption of his complaint, he did not mention them anywhere in his description of what happened to him. The plaintiff has not alleged any misconduct on ...


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