United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
JAMES A. PENHALLEGON, Plaintiff,
GUY NETT, SIR FINNIE, and RICHARD KUGLER, Defendants.
DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT. NO.
PAMELA PEPPER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff, who is representing himself, filed this lawsuit
under 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that his constitutional
rights were violated when the defendants failed to protect
him from an attack by his cellmate. Dkt. No. 1. On November
21, 2016, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment.
Dkt. No. 27. For the reasons discussed below, the court will
grant in part and deny in part the defendants' motion.
plaintiff is an inmate in the Wisconsin prison system. Dkt.
No. 29 at 1. During the relevant times, he was incarcerated
at the Kenosha Correctional Center. Id. The
Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) employed defendant
Sir Finnie as the Food Services Supervisor at Kenosha.
Id. at ¶4. The DOC employed defendants Guy Nett
and Richard Kugler as Correctional Sergeants at that
facility. Id. at ¶7, 10.
was responsible for the overall functioning of Kenosha's
food services, including supervising kitchen and food
production staff, overseeing the ordering and supply of food
service items, and managing Kenosha's meal menu.
Id. at ¶5. Nett's and Kugler's duties
included monitoring the various housing units and main lobby,
as well as supervising inmates. Id. at ¶8, 11.
One of Nett's assigned job duties was overseeing inmate
room changes; any sergeant, however, was authorized to make
an inmate room change. Id. at ¶9.
prior to the altercation between the plaintiff and his
cellmate John Dawley, the plaintiff asked Finnie if he could
room with inmate Timothy Lawton. Id. at ¶13.
The plaintiff and Lawton worked in the kitchen under
Finnie's supervision. Id. Finnie understood that
the two were friends. Id. Finnie asserts
that the plaintiff never told him that he believed he was in
danger from Dawley; the plaintiff asserts that he
told Finnie that he believed he and Dawley would end up in a
violent conflict if they weren't separated. Id.
at ¶16.; Dkt. No. 41 at ¶1, 2.
Finnie did not have the authority to assign rooms or
cellmates, Finnie sent an email to Kevin Madden, asking that
the plaintiff and Lawton be allowed to room together. Dkt.
No. 29 at ¶14, 17. Finnie's email makes no mention
of any threat posed by Dawley to the plaintiff. Dkt. No.
30-2. Madden told Finnie to contact Nett about cell
assignments, so Finnie emailed the request to Nett. Dkt. No.
29 at ¶15. Finnie's email to Nett also makes no
mention of any threat posed by Dawley to the plaintiff. Dkt.
plaintiff spoke to Nett about a room change, and Nett told
the plaintiff to fill out an interview/information request.
Dkt. No. 29 at ¶19. The plaintiff asserts that he spoke
to Nett about his concerns, and he sent several written
requests to Nett explaining that he and Dawley were not
getting along and that he believed Dawley was going to get
violent with him. Dkt. No. 41 at ¶3, 4. The plaintiff
states that Nett did not respond to his requests.
Id. at 3.
asserts that he received only one interview/information
requestabout two weeks before the altercation
between the plaintiff and Dawley, and states that the request
did not indicate that the plaintiff believed he was in
danger. Dkt. No. 29 at ¶21. Nett indicates that he did
not grant the plaintiff's request for a room change
because the request did not provide information necessitating
a change. Id. at ¶24.
denying the plaintiff's request, Nett received
Finnie's email asking that the plaintiff be allowed to
room with Lawton. Id. Nett believed that the
plaintiff was trying to circumvent security staff decisions
by making the request through Finnie. Id. at
¶25. Because the email contained no reason necessitating
the change, Nett again denied the request. Id.
plaintiff asserts that, in addition to Nett and Finnie, he
also spoke to Kugler on several occasions about wanting to
change rooms because he and Dawley were not getting along.
Dkt. No. 41 at ¶5. Kugler does not dispute that the
plaintiff asked to change rooms; Kugler asserts, however,
that the plaintiff never told him that he felt like he was in
danger from Dawley. Dkt. No. 29 at ¶27. Kugler states
that in response to the plaintiff's requests, Kugler
often offered the plaintiff the option of changing cells
based on which inmates were being released that week.
Id. at ¶30. Kugler states that the plaintiff
always declined to move to the available cells. Id.
The plaintiff disputes that Kugler ever offered him the
option to move to a different cell. Dkt. No. 41 at ¶7.
April 12, 2015, the plaintiff and Dawley were in an
altercation. Dkt. No. 29 at ¶35. The plaintiff
maintained (in his opposition brief) that Dawley hit him from
behind. Dkt. No. 38 at 2. Both inmates were written a conduct
report charging them with assault. Dkt. No. 29 at ¶35.
The inmates provided different accounts about who was the
initial aggressor, but the physical evidence showed that the
plaintiff had a cut on his forehead and that Dawley's
shirt was soaked in blood. Id. at ¶36.