United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
MICHAEL L. WINSTON, Plaintiff,
DAVID A. CLARK, KEONA GARTH-DICKENS, JEFFREY ANDRYKOWSKI, LT. REEVES, LT. RECKLESS, OFFICER COPELAND, BRANDON LAWLER, OFFICER JOSHUA MIKULECKY, OFFICER D. ADAMS, OFFICER D. BLUE, OFFICER BROOKS, OFFICER SPITTLEMEISTER, D. BRODSKY, CHRISTINE BECKER, DOROTHY GREER, FREDERICK PORLUCOS, MAI XIONG, and TERRI GOUDY, Defendants.
Michael Winston (“Winston”), an inmate at
Columbia Correctional Institution who was formerly
incarcerated at the Milwaukee County Jail (the
“Jail”), brought this action against former
Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke
(“Clarke”) and several officers and medical
personnel employed by Milwaukee County-Keona Garth-Dickens,
Joshua Mikulecky, D. Adams, D. Blue, Officer Brooks, Officer
Copeland, D. Brodsky, Christine Becker, Dorothy Greer, and
Frederick Porlucos (collectively, the “Jail
Staff”)-for alleged violations of his civil
rights. Specifically, Winston alleges that the
defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious
medical needs for failing to properly treat MRSA infections
he contracted while incarcerated at the Jail and for keeping
him in an unsanitary cell where he contracted those
infections. (Docket #54-1 and #57 at 2-3). Winston also
alleges that the Jail's clothing and shoe policy deprives
inmates of the basic necessities of civilized life.
filed a motion for summary judgment, as did all of the
defendants, and those motions are fully briefed. For the
reasons stated below, the Court will grant the
defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismiss this
case without prejudice.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides the mechanism for seeking
summary judgment. Rule 56 states that the “court shall
grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a); see Boss v. Castro, 816 F.3d 910, 916 (7th
Cir. 2016). A “genuine” dispute of material fact
is created when “the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). The Court construes all facts and reasonable
inferences in a light most favorable to the non-movant.
Bridge v. New Holland Logansport, Inc., 815 F.3d
356, 360 (7th Cir. 2016). In assessing the parties'
proposed facts, the Court must not weigh the evidence or
determine witness credibility; the Seventh Circuit instructs
that “we leave those tasks to factfinders.”
Berry v. Chicago Transit Auth., 618 F.3d 688, 691
(7th Cir. 2010).
following facts are taken from the parties' proposed
findings of fact, the responses thereto, the declarations in
support of the proposed facts, and related exhibits. (Docket
#71, #72, #83, #84, #85, #92, #95, #97, #104). At all times
relevant to this case, Clarke was the Sheriff of Milwaukee
County and the Jail Staff defendants were employed by
Milwaukee County and worked at or for the Jail. Winston was
incarcerated at the Jail from June 6, 2012 to March 26, 2014.
Winston's Confinement in the Jail
Winston was detained at the Jail on June 6, 2012, he received
one set of clean clothing and flip flops per Jail policy, but
no tennis shoes. Jail policy allows for the provision of
tennis shoes to inmates who require them for medical
purposes, but that was not the case for Winston. He was given
a change of clothes six days after being admitted to the
Jail. Winston says his attire was inadequate because, as a
result of having only one set of clothes, he was forced to
remain in sweaty clothing after playing basketball and,
without tennis shoes, he was forced to run around the court
in bare feet, causing injury. Inmates are not required to
play basketball at the Jail.
October 2012, on one occasion when Winston was playing
basketball, he fell and injured his hand, and he claims to
have been in severe pain while waiting for treatment. He
ultimately received treatment for his hand, but he believes
his hand healed improperly.
2013, Winston was moved to a “special needs” cell
at the Jail. He claims to have verbally complained to Jail
staff about the unsanitary conditions of his cell, including
smeared feces on the walls. He was moved to a different cell
within the special needs unit, but Winston says he confronted
the same unsanitary conditions in that cell. In August 2013,
Winston began complaining of irritation to his left eye, for
which he was treated by medical staff at the Jail. Soon
afterward, Winston was transferred to Mendota Mental Health
Institute (“Mendota”) for unrelated reasons, and
was treated for the infection in his eye, which staff at
Mendota determined was MRSA. Winston was transferred back to
the Jail on September 13, 2013 with a clean bill of health.
Winston was put back into a cell about which he previously
complained and voiced his unhappiness to Jail staff about its
uncleanliness. He switched cells in late September.
November 2013, Winston began complaining of a boil on his
leg. A culture taken from his thigh showed that it contained
MRSA. Throughout the month of November, Winston received
treatment at the Jail, including a nurse performing an
incision and draining the boil and regular dressing changes.
The treatment was resolved in early December 2013 when the
wound was reported to have closed.
The Jail's Grievance Policy
Jail maintains a grievance policy that prescribes the steps
inmates must take to submit their complaints about
non-emergency issues related to their health and welfare or
the services they are provided. (Docket #83-3 Ex. C). An
inmate with a non-emergency complaint must fill out a
grievance form and present it to an officer, who attempts to
resolve the grievance himself and records, on the back of the
grievance form, the steps taken toward that end. Id.
A lieutenant reviews the officer's work and responds to
the grievance in writing. Id. The grievance and
response are logged in a grievance database. Id. The
inmate, if he is unsatisfied with the resolution of his
grievance, can appeal to the captain and then to the jail
commander for a final decision. Id.
parties dispute whether Winston filed grievances with the
Jail about his medical issues and the Jail's clothing and
shoe policy before instituting this lawsuit. Additional facts
regarding Winston's participation in the grievance
process are provided below where relevant to the Court's
defendants move for summary judgment on two grounds. First,
the defendants argue that Winston failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies as to his claims against them, which
he is required to do by law prior to filing suit. (Docket #94
at 6-7). Second, as to the Jail Staff, the defendants argue
that Winston is not entitled to relief on his deliberate
indifference claims because the defendants were not
deliberately indifferent to Winston's medical needs or,
if they were, they are entitled to qualified immunity.
Id. at 7-15. Finally, the defendants argue that
Winston is not entitled to relief on his claim regarding the
Jail's clothing and shoe policy because it is not an
unconstitutional condition of confinement. Id. at
15-20. The Court will address the question of exhaustion
first, because “[a] suit filed by a prisoner before
administrative remedies have been exhausted must be
dismissed; the district court lacks discretion to resolve the
claim on the merits[.]” Perez v. Wis. Dep't of
Corr., 182 F.3d 532, 535 (7th Cir. 1999).
Exhaustion of ...