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Robinson v. Krembs

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

October 23, 2017

NATHANIEL ROBINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
KEVIN KREMBS, TINA WATTS, and CATHERINE OBIORA, Defendants.

          ORDER

          William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge

         Plaintiff Nathaniel Robinson, a Wisconsin state prisoner who is representing himself, filed a complaint alleging that defendants violated his civil rights. This case is currently assigned to U.S. Magistrate Judge David E. Jones; however, because not all parties have had the opportunity to consent to magistrate judge jurisdiction, the case was randomly referred to a U.S. District Court judge for the limited purpose of screening the complaint. This case will be returned to Judge Jones following the entry of this Order.

         This matter is before the Court on plaintiff's motion to proceed without prepayment of the civil case filing fee (ECF No. 2) and for the screening of his complaint (ECF No. 1).

         Motion to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing Fee

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) applies to this case because plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed his complaint. The PLRA gives courts discretion to allow prisoners to proceed with their lawsuits without prepaying the $350 filing fee, as long as they comply with certain requirements. 28 U.S.C. §1915. One of those requirements is that the prisoner pay an initial partial filing fee. On March 14, 2017, Judge Jones assessed an initial partial filing fee of $37.62. (ECF No. 5.) Plaintiff paid that fee on March 24, 2017. The Court will grant plaintiff's motion to proceed without prepayment of the full filing fee. He is required to pay the remainder of the filing fee over time in the manner explained at the end of this Order.

         Screening of the Complaint

         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). To state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading system, a plaintiff is required to provide a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief[.]" Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). To state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, "that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

         To state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that: 1) he was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and 2) the deprivation was visited upon her by a person or persons acting under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore v. Cnty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Kramer v. Vill. of N. Fond du Lac, 384 F.3d 856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)); see also Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). The Court is obliged to give a plaintiff's pro se allegations, "however inartfully pleaded, " a liberal construction. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         Allegations in the Complain

         Plaintiff alleges that, while incarcerated at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), he complained of severe stomach pain. In December 2014, defendant Dr. Kevin Krembs, a physician employed by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and assigned to MSDF, referred plaintiff to the “University of Wisconsin Oncology.” (ECF No. 1 at 3.) During his follow-up consultation with plaintiff, Dr. Krembs informed plaintiff that he had terminal cancer. Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Krembs said he was “confident in his medical opinion.” (Id.)

         Dr. Krembs asked defendant Tina Watts, the MSDF health services manager, to join the consultation. According to plaintiff, Watts expressed her condolences. She informed plaintiff that chemotherapy and radiation were an option, but they offered only “a glimmer of hope.” (Id.) Dr. Krembs agreed that they could be “helpful” but that they “would only prolong the inevitable at best.” (Id.) Watts told plaintiff that she would “personally champion his cause with respect to gaining a compassionate release because it was not her desire to see him anguish and waste away in prison.” (Id.) Dr. Krembs informed plaintiff that he did not need to worry about suffering because he would provide him with “the best pain mediation known to man.” (Id.) Dr. Krembs prescribed several medications, including Hydrocodone and Oxycontin.

         A week or so later, plaintiff met with Dr. Krembs and received a full examination, including a rectal examination. Dr. Krembs informed plaintiff that he continued to feel severe pain because of his sitting bones. Dr. Krembs allegedly told plaintiff that he was afraid plaintiff might also have bone cancer.

         A few days later, plaintiff again met with Dr. Krembs and Watts. Watts allegedly told him that she would begin the compassionate release process after a biopsy was completed. Dr. Krembs informed plaintiff that he would begin receiving Morphine. According to plaintiff, Watts asked Dr. Krembs if Morphine was appropriate given that plaintiff had been unable to defecate and was in severe pain as a result. Dr. Krembs allegedly stated that plaintiff's bowel complications were related to his cancer.

         Near the end of December 2014, plaintiff was sent to St. Luke's Hospital for a biopsy. Plaintiff states that the biopsy was unsuccessful because the target area was never reached. Plaintiff states that ...


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