United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
ROOSEVELT M. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
TRISH ANDERSON, SHANE ZAHRTE, and LUCAS WOGERNESE, Defendants.
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON District Judge
plaintiff Roosevelt M. Williams, a prisoner at the Columbia
Correctional Institution, has filed a civil complaint under
42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that defendant prison
officials canceled a prescription for ice used to treat his
gout. Williams has made an initial partial payment of the
filing fee as previously directed by the court.
next step is to screen the complaint and dismiss any portion
that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted, or asks for money damages
from a defendant who by law cannot be sued for money damages.
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 & 1915A. When screening a pro
se litigant's complaint, the court construes the
allegations liberally and in the plaintiff's favor.
McGowan v. Hulick, 612 F.3d 636, 640 (7th Cir.
reviewing the complaint with these principles in mind, I
conclude that Williams may proceed on Eighth Amendment claims
against defendants, but I will not consider the state law
causes of action discussed in his complaint unless he shows
that he has complied with Wisconsin's notice-of-claim
Roosevelt Williams is a prisoner at the Columbia Correctional
Institution. He suffers from gout, which causes him severe
pain in his joints. A doctor had prescribed him to be
provided with ice bags four times daily and as needed.
17, 2016, defendant Correctional Officer Shane Zahrte saw
Williams getting two bags of ice. Zahrte somehow induced
defendants Nurse Trish Anderson and supervising officer Lucas
Wogernese to terminate Williams's access to ice.
Non-defendant correctional officer Benninger told Williams
that defendants terminated his ice treatment.
Williams to be bringing claims under a few different
theories. First, he states that defendants violated his
Eighth Amendment rights by canceling his prescribed ice
treatment. The Eighth Amendment prohibits prison officials
from acting with deliberate indifference to prisoners'
serious medical needs. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 103-04 (1976). A “serious medical need” may
be a condition that a doctor has recognized as needing
treatment or one for which the necessity of treatment would
be obvious to a lay person. Johnson v. Snyder, 444
F.3d 579, 584-85 (7th Cir. 2006). A medical need may be
serious if it is life-threatening, carries risks of permanent
serious impairment if left untreated, results in needless
pain and suffering, significantly affects an individual's
daily activities, Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d
1364, 1371-73 (7th Cir. 1997), or otherwise subjects the
prisoner to a substantial risk of serious harm. Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 847 (1994).
point I will assume that Williams's gout is a serious
medical need. The withholding of his ice treatment could
qualify as deliberate indifference, because it is reasonable
to assume that none of these defendants had the authority to
countermand the doctor who prescribed the treatment. See
Zentmyer v. Kendall Cty., Ill. 220 F.3d 805, 812 (7th
Cir. 2000) (“If a defendant consciously chose to
disregard a nurse or doctor's directions in the face of
medical risks, then he may well have exhibited the necessary
deliberate indifference.”). Williams does not detail
exactly what each defendant did to withhold the treatment,
but he says that the three of them together terminated his
treatment. At this point he has said enough to state
deliberate indifference claims against each defendant.
Williams to be attempting to bring additional state law
causes of action for negligence and negligent or intentional
infliction of emotional distress. I will hold off on
screening those claims because Williams does not explain
whether he has complied with Wisconsin's notice-of-claim
statute, Wis.Stat. § 893.82, by notifying the attorney
general about his state law claims. This notice is required
before a plaintiff can sue defendants under these state law
theories. Section 893.82(3) states:
Except as provided in sub. (5m), no civil action or civil
proceeding may be brought against any state officer, employee
or agent for or on account of any act growing out of or
committed in the course of the discharge of the
officer's, employee's or agent's duties ...
unless within 120 days of the event causing the injury,
damage or death giving rise to the civil action or civil
proceeding, the claimant in the action or proceeding serves
upon the attorney general written notice of a claim stating
the time, date, location and the circumstances of the event
giving rise to the claim for the injury, damage or death and
the names of persons involved, including the name of the
state officer, employee or agent involved.
does not address the notice-of-claim requirement in his
complaint, so I cannot allow him to proceed on his state law
claims at this point. I will give him a short time to submit
a supplement to his complaint explaining whether he has
complied with the notice-of-claim statute. If Williams does