United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT. NOS. 40, 43)
PAMELA PEPPER, United States District Judge
plaintiff, who is representing himself, filed this lawsuit
under 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that the defendants
violated his constitutional rights. On November 10, 2015, the
court allowed the plaintiff to proceed on his claims that the
defendants demonstrated deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs. Dkt. No. 7. On August 16, 2016,
defendant Donald Stonefeld filed a motion for judgment on the
pleadings or, in the alternative, a motion for summary
judgment. Dkt. No. 40. The next day, defendant Beverly Felten
filed a motion for summary judgment. Dkt. No. 43. This
decision resolves those motions.
plaintiff is a Wisconsin state prisoner who was formerly
incarcerated at the Milwaukee County Jail
(“Jail”) and the Milwaukee County House of
Correction (“HOC”). Dkt. No. 70 at 24 ¶1.
Beverly Felton is a registered nurse, an advanced practice
nurse practitioner (APNP), a clinical specialist in
gerontological nursing, and holds a PhD in nursing.
Id. at 24-25 ¶3. From 2007 through 2013, Felten
worked as a psychiatric APNP for the Milwaukee County
Sheriff's Department and provided psychiatric services to
inmates housed at the Jail and the HOC. Id. at 25
¶4. Her duties at the Jail included assessing
inmates' health care needs, including evaluating whether
an inmate exhibited mental illness and a need for
psychotropic medication, and prescribing psychotropic
medication, if necessary and appropriate. Id. at
Donald Felten is a state licensed physician specializing in
the field of psychiatry who previously provided psychiatric
services to inmates housed in the Jail and the HOC. Dkt. No.
62 at 7 ¶17. Stonefeld's duties included providing
psychiatric consultation to inmates referred by a physician,
psychologist, or nurse practitioner to evaluate whether the
subject exhibited severe mental illness and a need for
psychotropic medication, as well as prescribing psychotropic
medication if necessary and appropriate. Id. at
The Plaintiff's Interactions with the Defendants
plaintiff was admitted to the Jail on November 2, 2009. Dkt.
No. 70 at 29 ¶14. At the time he was admitted, he was
prescribed Levothyroxine for his thyroid and Ranitidine for
his acid reflux. Id. at ¶15.
November 4, 2009, a social worker at the Jail (who is not
named as a defendant) conducted a mental health exam of the
plaintiff. Id. at ¶16. The plaintiff responded
affirmatively to the social worker's inquiry about
whether the plaintiff was willing to receive help and
possibly medication for his being sad about being back in
Jail. Id. at 30 ¶18. The social worker referred
the plaintiff to “Pych MD” for a medical
evaluation. Id. at 31 ¶19.
November 5, 2009, the plaintiff told a nurse practitioner
(who is not named as a defendant) that he was depressed and
needed help. Id. at ¶21. That same day, someone
(it is unclear who) prescribed the plaintiff 150 milligram
tablets of Ranitidine. Id. at 32 ¶22.
Ranitidine is used to treat and prevent ulcers; it also
treats conditions in which the stomach produces too much
acid, and it treats gastroesophageal reflux disease and other
conditions in which acid backs up from the stomach into the
esophagus, causing heartburn. See
November 8, 2009, Jail medical personnel discontinued the
plaintiff's prescription for Ranitidine because the
plaintiff's fiancé brought his prescription to the
Jail. Dkt. No. 70 at 32 ¶23. When his personal
prescription ran out later that month, the Jail personnel
re-prescribed Ranitidine through May 11, 2010. Id.
December 2009, the plaintiff was transferred from the Jail to
the House of Correction. Dkt. No. 62 at 7 ¶7.
December 28, 2009, Felten examined the plaintiff. Dkt. No. 70
at 32 ¶24. During the examination, the plaintiff told
Felten that he felt like hurting people when they get in his
face and that he had previously tried to commit suicide two
times by cutting himself. Id. Felten states that the
plaintiff also said that he heard voices, including the
voices of his dead mother and the devil and that he felt like
breaking people's necks or poking their eyes out.
Id. at 33 ¶25. Felten asserts that the
plaintiff also displayed jerking movements. Id. The
plaintiff states that he told Felten that he recalled things
that his mother used to say to him and that he had cut his
arm when he was nineteen or twenty but that he would not ever
do that again. Id. Based on her conversation with
the plaintiff, Felten concluded that the plaintiff
demonstrated “active thoughts of hurting others with
viable plans.” Id. at 34 ¶26. She then
called for assistance and ordered the plaintiff into
psychiatric custody. Id. at ¶27.
states that the plaintiff resisted being moved into
psychiatric custody and began to bang his head. Id.
at 34-35 ¶28. The plaintiff asserts that he did not
resist or bang his head; he states that he was handcuffed,
surrounded and restrained by correctional officers at the
ordered that the plaintiff receive a two-milligram injection
of Ativan, an antianxiety medication, and that he be placed
on homicide watch with a “razor restriction.”
Id. at 35 ¶29. She also prescribed the
plaintiff a one-milligram dose of Risperidone, an
antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia and
symptoms of bipolar disorder, and a daily fifty-milligram
dose of Sertraline, an inhibitor used to treat depression,
obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorders.
Id. at 36 ¶30. Felten did not have any further
involvement with the plaintiff after December 28, 2009.
Id. at ¶32.
examined the plaintiff the next day, December 29, 2009. Dkt.
No. 62 at 8 ¶16. During that examination, Stonefeld
determined that the plaintiff was calm and rational and
“just wanted someone to talk to.” Id. at
9 ¶19. Stonefeld concluded that the plaintiff posed no
pending danger to himself or others and should be released
from psychiatric custody to general population. Id.
at ¶20. Stonefeld continued the medications prescribed
by Felten, and his assessment report indicates that he
discussed the medications and their potential side effects
with the plaintiff; the plaintiff disputes that such a
conversation occurred. Id. at ¶21.
December 31, 2009, the plaintiff's Risperidone
prescription was increased to a daily dose of two milligrams
(it is unclear who ordered this increase). Id. at
¶14. On January 7, 2010, the plaintiff's Sertraline
prescription was increased to one hundred milligrams (again,
it is unclear who ordered this increase). Id. at 10
March 24, 2010, Stonefeld met with the plaintiff for a second
and final time. Id. at ¶32. The plaintiff
complained that he was experiencing side effects commonly
associated with Risperidone, including involuntary spasms in
his back, chest, arms, and legs. Id. at ¶31. In
response to those ...