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Blackshear v. Giernoth
United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
October 31, 2017
JULIAN R. BLACKSHEAR, Plaintiff,
CAPTAIN MICHAEL GIERNOTH, JIM SCHWOCHERT, STEPHANIE HOVE, WARDEN PAUL S. KEMPER, DEPUTY WARDEN STEVEN JOHNSON, JASON ALDANA, M. BONES, CAPTAIN WIEGAND, LT. AMIN, LT. JOHN/JANE DOES, SGT. HARRIS, SGT. JOHN/JANE DOE, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER JOHN/JANE DOES, M. HAGAN, PhD, L. BUHS, PhD, DR. KOZMIN, DR. BAAS, DR. M. TOKAR, DR. M. WILINSKI, MAINTENANCE SUPERVISOR JOHN/JANE DOE, MAINTENANCE WORKER JOHN/JANE DOE, and DR. SPOTTS, Defendants. JULIAN R. BLACKSHEAR, Plaintiff,
CAPTAIN MICHAEL GIERNOTH, JIM SCHWOCHERT, STEPHANIE HOVE, WARDEN PAUL S. KEMPER, DEPUTY WARDEN STEVEN JOHNSON, JASON ALDANA, M. BONES, CAPTAIN WIEGAND, LT. MEYER, LT. JOHN/JANE DOES, SGT. HARRIS, SGT. JOHN/JANE DOE, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER JOHN/JANE DOES, DR. HAGAN, DR. L. BUHS, DR. KOZMIN, DR. BAAS, DR. M. TOKAR, DR. M. WILINSKI, DR. SPOTTS, MAINTENANCE SUPERVISOR JOHN/JANE DOE, and MAINTENANCE WORKER JOHN/JANE DOE, Defendants.
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff Julian R. Blackshear, a state prisoner incarcerated
at the Racine Correctional Institution (RCI), has filed two
proposed complaints under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that
prison officials were deliberately indifferent to the hazards
present in his observation cell. Case No. 17-cv-735, Dkt. 1;
Case No. 17-cv-736, Dkt. 1. Blackshear has paid the initial
partial filing fee for each action as ordered by the court,
so the next step in both cases is to screen the complaint. In
doing so, I must dismiss any portion that is legally
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a
defendant who by law cannot be sued for money damages. 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. In screening any pro se litigant's
complaint, the court must read the allegations of the
complaint generously. Haines v. Kemer, 404 U.S. 519,
520-21 (1972). After reviewing the complaints with these
principles in mind, I conclude that Blackshear had failed to
state a claim against defendants. But I will join his two
cases and allow him an opportunity to file an amended
complaint clarifying the individual defendants' roles in
the events underlying the suit.
alleges the following facts in his '735 complaint. On May
24, 2017, Blackshear was confined to an observation cell at
RCI while on suicide watch. The cell did not have padding or
a security camera, and no one was observing it. Blackshear
found a "large sharp metal bar" in the cell. Dkt.
1, at 6. He told RCI staff about the bar. He later found
other dangerous items in the cell, including needles, a
shank, staples, and razor shards. He alleges that each of the
defendants was "indifferent to [his] safety."
alleges the following facts in his '736 complaint. On May
25, 2017, Blackshear was confined to the same observation
cell at RCI while on suicide watch. The cell still did not
have padding or a security camera, and once again, no one was
observing it. Blackshear found razor shards in the cell. He
later found other dangerous items in the cell. He submitted
grievances about the "hazardous material" to
defendant prison officials, but they did nothing. Dkt. 1, at
6. He alleges that each of the defendants "left [him]
unwatched/unsafe and were extremely indifferent to [his]
life." Dkt. 1, at 6.
two complaints concern the same course of conduct and nearly
identical events taking place on consecutive dates. He names
the exact same defendants in each case, with two exceptions:
Lieutenant Amin is a defendant in only the '735 case, and
Lieutenant Meyer is a defendant in only the '736 case.
Blackshear could have brought all of his claims in one case.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a), 20(a)(2). I will consider
them together in this order and join the cases under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 20. I will dismiss Blackshear's
complaint in the '736 case and direct the clerk of court
to docket the '736 complaint in the '735 case. The
initial partial filing fee that Blackshear has already paid
in the '736 case will be credited to his remaining
balance in the '735 case. He will not owe a filing fee
for the '736 case.
claims that defendants were deliberately indifferent to the
hazards present in his observation cell in violation of his
Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual
punishment. To state a deliberate indifference claim,
Blackshear must allege that he "suffered an objectively
serious harm that presented a substantial risk to his
safety" and that defendants knew of and
"intentionally disregarded the risk." Minix v.
Canarecci, 597 F.3d 824, 831 (7th Cir. 2010). A risk of
suicide is an objectively serious harm. Id. Here,
Blackshear alleges that he was left unattended in a cell with
dangerous items while he was on observation status or suicide
watch. But the details of each defendant's involvement
are unclear. Blackshear has not alleged how the individuals
named as defendants in this suit are "personally
responsible for the constitutional deprivation."
Doyle v. Camelot Care Ctrs., Inc., 305 F.3d 603, 614
(7th Cir. 2002). I will give Blackshear an opportunity to
amend his complaint to explain what each defendant
knew about the conditions in his observation cell and what
that defendant did (or did not do) to expose him to a risk of
suicide. If he chooses to amend his complaint, he must file
an entirely new complaint that replaces his original
complaint. He need not cite laws; he need only describe what
each named defendant did.
clerk of court is directed to amend the caption for case
number 17-cv-735 to add Lieutenant Meyer as a defendant;
docket plaintiff's complaint in case number 17-cv-736,
Dkt. 1, in case number 17-cv-735; close case number
17-cv-736; and credit plaintiff's initial partial filing
fee already paid in case number 17-cv-736 toward
plaintiff's remaining balance in case number 17-cv-735.
Plaintiff will not owe a filing fee for the '736 case.
Plaintiff Julian R. Blackshear's is DISMISSED for failure
to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8.
Plaintiff's may have until November 21, 2017, to file an
amended complaint that provides a short and plain statement
of a claim against defendants. If plaintiff submits an
amended complaint as required by this order, I will take that
complaint under advisement for screening. If plaintiff fails
to respond to ...