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Brown v. Dittmann

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

August 30, 2017

SCOTT A. BROWN, Plaintiff,

          OPINION & ORDER


         Pro se plaintiff Scott A. Brown, a Wisconsin prisoner incarcerated at the Columbia Correctional Institution (CCI), asserts Eighth Amendment claims against various CCI employees. Brown contends that defendants failed to respond adequately to his threats of suicide and that they are not taking Brown's mental illnesses seriously.

         Brown has made an initial partial payment of the filing fee under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). 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 monetary damages from a defendant who by law cannot be sued for money damages. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A. I must read Brown's pro se complaint generously. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521 (1972) (per curiam). With these principles in mind, I conclude that Brown fails to state a claim. I will dismiss the case, and Brown will incur a strike under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).

         Brown also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. Dkt. 3. I will deny the motion.


         I draw the following facts from Brown's complaint, Dkt. 1, which I accept as true.

         A. Correspondence with Baures

         On September 26, 2016, Brown submitted a request form to see defendant Dickson Baures, a psychologist at CCI, because Brown had suicidal thoughts. The next day, Baures met with Brown. Two days later, on September 29, Baures responded to Brown's request form, stating that Baures met and discussed the concerns on September 27 and that they developed a plan for treating Brown's behavior.

         On October 3, Brown submitted multiple request forms to see Baures. (It is unclear how many forms he submitted.) Brown indicated in one form that he had “been very depressed having thoughts and dreams, sweating in my sleep.” Id. ¶¶ 16, 20. He wrote in another form that “this is making me very depressed knowing I have to go through this.” Id. ¶ 18. The next day, Baures sent Brown a letter stating, “you are on my list.” Id. ¶ 19. Two days later, on October 6, Baures met with Brown again and discussed Brown's concerns.

         On October 17, Brown submitted two request forms. He wrote in one form that he had “been depressed lately and it's been very hard on me to sleep because of the dreams.” Id. ¶ 22. He wrote in the other form that he wished to know the exact diagnosis of his mental condition. Id. ¶ 23. The next day, Baures responded by saying, “Please see Memo dated 10-18-16 . . . We will discuss this in our next Appointment.” Id. ¶ 24. Brown does not explain what Baures wrote in the memorandum.

         On October 24, Brown submitted yet another request form, telling Baures he had “been depressed trying to do other things like read, write, listening to my radio, and working out” and that he had suicidal thoughts and dreams. Id. ¶ 25. Three days later, on October 27, Baures responded by saying “I will see you as soon as I can. Please inform staff if there is an emergency.” Id. ¶ 26.

         B. October 27, 2016 incident

         On October 27, the same day he received a response from Baures, Brown told an unnamed correctional officer that he needed to speak to Baures because he had suicidal thoughts. The correctional officer let Brown out of his cell and escorted him to see Baures, who interviewed Brown and discussed his concerns. Brown told Baures that he needed to be on observation status because of the thoughts he had. Baures did not place Brown on observation status and instead told a correctional officer that Baures did not want Brown to cut himself and wanted Brown to stay out of his cell and help clean up the dayroom. Baures also told Brown to “try and use [Brown's] coping skills.” Id. ¶ 29.

         On the same day, Brown told defendant Sgt. Willett that he needed to see Baures again and that Baures had instructed Brown to inform a staff member in case of an emergency. Willett responded by saying that Brown had already seen Baures that day and that “Baures told them that she [had] seen [Brown] and she only see[s] [Brown] once a week and that [Brown] knew that.” Id. ΒΆ 31. Willett also added that Baures was probably on her way home at the time because the Psychological Services Unit (PSU) staff at CCI usually leave the prison at 4:30 p.m. and that Baures would be back the next day. Brown asked Willett what he was ...

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