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Louis v. Milwaukee County Jail

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

July 18, 2017

MILWAUKEE COUNTY JAIL, et al, Defendants.


          HON. PAMELA PEPPER United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Monchello Cornell Louis, who is confined at the Milwaukee County Jail, is representing himself. He filed a complaint alleging that the defendants violated his constitutional rights. The plaintiff filed a petition to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee under 28 U.S.C. §1915(b), dkt. no. 2. The court also must screen the plaintiff's complaint. 28 U.S.C. §1915A.

         The plaintiff has paid an initial partial filing fee of $11.00. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The court will grant his motion to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee, and direct collection of the rest of the filing fee, as explained at the end of this order.

         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.

         Standard of Review for Screening Complaint

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act requires courts 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 the complaint, 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, the plaintiff must provide a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief[.]" Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The plaintiff need not 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 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). A complaint that offers mere "labels and conclusions, " however, 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).

         In 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. The party must support legal conclusions by factual allegations. Id. Second, 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.

         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 Allegations in the Complaint

         During the time of the events the plaintiff describes in the complaint, he was confined at the Milwaukee County Jail. He is suing Deputy Toliver, Nurse Kirk, the Milwaukee County Jail, and the CJF Med Clinic.

         The plaintiff alleges that on November 29, 2016, Deputy Toliver intentionally and maliciously slammed a cell door onto his foot, which caused his skin to break and "bleed profusely." Dkt. No. 1 at 2. Nurse Kirk was passing by the plaintiff's cell at the time of the incident. The plaintiff and other inmates requested that she come to his cell. She did, and when she started to attempt to clean the blood from the plaintiff's foot, he told her that he "can do that part." Id. at 3. Nurse Kirk then told the plaintiff that the jail's "Med Clinic" would call him. Nine hours later, Lieutenant Haw (not a defendant) came to the unit and requested that the plaintiff be seen immediately. The plaintiff was seen immediately. A nurse at the Med Clinic treated the plaintiff's injury with antibiotic ointment, wrapped it, and prescribed him Ibuprofen for five days. This helped the plaintiff "minimally, " because he still had pain due to a preexisting ankle sprain "and now a big toe injury." Id.

         The plaintiff asks for monetary damages from the Milwaukee County Jail, Deputy Toliver, and the Medical Clinic. He also asks that jail staff be trained on proper protocol when dealing with these ...

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