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Thomas v. Mashak

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

November 9, 2017

DARREYLL T. THOMAS, Plaintiff,
v.
MEREDITH MASHAK, GWEN SCHULTZ and JAMES GREER, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          BARBARA B. CRABB District Judge

         Pro se plaintiff and prisoner Darreyll Thomas is proceeding on claims under both the Eighth Amendment and common law negligence regarding an alleged failure by defendants Meredith Mashak, Gwen Schultz and James Greer to provide him needed medication. Now before the court are the parties' cross motions for summary judgment. Dkt. ##28, 43. Because I conclude that plaintiff has failed to show that any of the defendants were responsible for a delay in refilling his medication, I am granting defendants' motion and denying plaintiff's motion.

         From the parties' proposed findings of fact and the record, I find that the following facts are undisputed, unless otherwise noted.

         UNDISPUTED FACTS

         A. The Parties

          At all times relevant to this case, plaintiff Darreyll Thomas was a prisoner incarcerated at the Columbia Correctional Institution, where defendant Meredith Mashak was the health services manager and defendant Gwen Schultz was a corrections unit supervisor. Defendant James Greer was the director of the Bureau of Health Services for the Department of Corrections.

         B. Policies and Procedures Relating to Medication Refill and Delivery

         The Department of Corrections operates Central Pharmacy Services, which provides prescription and over-the-counter medications needed by state prisoners. Each correctional facility must maintain its own tracking system to insure medications ordered from the pharmacy are received at the facility and delivered to patients. DAI Policy 500.80.06.

         At Columbia Correctional Institution, there are multiple policies and practices relating to medication. Security personnel deliver medications to inmates at designated times and locations each day. At the time of medication delivery, inmates are to be shown their medication card to verify the medication delivery. If an inmate notices that the supply in the card is low, he can request a refill. Additionally, the officers on the third shift at Columbia are responsible for reviewing the “medication cards” of each inmate on their housing units to determine what controlled medications need to be refilled. If a medication needs to be refilled, the officers submit a request to the health services unit. Health services then refills prescriptions and sends the medications to the housing unit.

         C. Plaintiff's Sertraline Medication is Not Refilled

         In August 2014, plaintiff was taking Sertraline 200 mg for post traumatic stress disorder, as prescribed by his psychiatrist, Dr. Maier. Sertraline is an officer-controlled medication, meaning that plaintiff did not keep the medication in his cell. Instead, he went to a designated location each morning to take his dose.

         On August 15, plaintiff reported to the designated location at the appropriate time to receive his dose of Sertraline, but he was told by the correctional officer that it was unavailable. For the next week, until August 23, 2014, plaintiff was told that his Sertraline was unavailable. Plaintiff was concerned about not receiving his medication because the Sertraline information sheet provided him warned against stopping the medication suddenly. Dkt. #47-2. Indeed, within a couple of days after stopping the medication, plaintiff began experiencing vision changes, chest tightness, sweating, panic attacks, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts.

         On August 19, 2014, plaintiff submitted a health service request to defendant Mashak, the health services manager, asking that his TENS unit be recharged and stating: “[i]t has been three days since my PTSD med. (Sertraline) has been filled. I'm on 200 mg a day and these gaps really FUCK with my emotions. I'm doing my best to stay in line only to be screwed by those charged with my safety! Please remedy this issue. Thank you.” Dkt. #36-1. Mashak received the health services request on August 22. (It is not clear from the record why plaintiff's request was not delivered until August 22.) Mashak responded that same day, stating in pertinent part that she had “reviewed [plaintiff's] medications and do not see a pattern of late issue. If this becomes a pattern please let me know.” Id.

         Also on August 22, plaintiff submitted a health service request to his psychiatrist, Dr. Maier, stating that he had been out of Sertraline for six days and was having panic attacks and trouble sleeping. A health services unit nurse responded to plaintiff as follows: “Officer controlled. ...


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