United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
BRITTNEY R. HIETPAS and MICHAEL T. WINIUS, Plaintiffs,
LISA BUHS, K. PAWLAK, K. KAESERMAN, and C. STEINICH, Defendants.
WILLIAM E. DUFFIN U.S. Magistrate Judge
Michael T. Winius, who is incarcerated at Racine Correctional
Institution, and his daughter, Brittney R. Hietpas, filed a
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that their
constitutional rights were violated. The Prison Litigation
Reform Act (PLRA) applies to this case because Winius was
incarcerated when he and his daughter filed the complaint.
This order resolves Hietpas's motion for leave to proceed
without prepayment of the filing fee and screens the
for Leave to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing
October 24, 2017, Hietpas filed a motion for leave to proceed
without prepayment of the filing fee. On November 6, 2017,
Winius paid the $400 filing fee. When multiple non-prisoner
plaintiffs jointly file a complaint, they need only pay one
filing fee per case; however, when multiple prisoner
plaintiffs jointly file a complaint, each prisoner plaintiff
must pay the full filing fee. See Boriboune v.
Berge, 391 F.3d 852, 855 (7th Cir. 2004). Given that
Winius, who is incarcerated, paid the full filing fee, the
Court finds that Hietpas, who is not incarcerated,
may join as a plaintiff without paying an additional filing
fee. As such, the court will deny her motion as moot.
of the Complaint
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).
The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the
prisoner has raised claims that are legally “frivolous
or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
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 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 him by a person or persons
acting under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore v. County
of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing
Kramer v. Village of North Fond du Lac, 384 F.3d
856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)); see also Gomez v. Toledo,
446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980).
court is obliged to give the 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)).
allege that, while incarcerated at Racine Correctional
Institution, Winius was admitted to a program called Beacon.
Beacon is a two-year residential sex offender program for
convicted sex offenders. Plaintiffs allege that upon entry to
the program Winius signed various entrance forms, one of
which required him to stop all contact with Hietpas until she
turned eighteen years old. Hietpas, who had been on
Winius's visitor list since June 21, 1999, was taken off
of his visitor list on May 29, 2015. Hietpas was seventeen
years old and had been on Winius's visitor list for
nearly sixteen years.
asserts that defendants Dr. Lisa Buhs, K. Pawlak, and C.
Steinich assured him that Hietpas would be placed back on his
visitor list once she turned eighteen on November 26, 2015.
It is not entirely clear from the complaint, but it appears
that, while Hietpas was not immediately placed on
Winius's visitor list when she turned eighteen, Winius
was permitted to communicate with her via letters and
January 27, 2016, plaintiffs explain that they were talking
on the telephone. Plaintiffs were on speaker phone and other
adults were on the call. Plaintiffs allege that the call
participants began joking about prison sexuality as depicted
in the movies. Winius allegedly joked about masturbating and
the size of his penis.
couple of days later, at a regularly scheduled appointment,
Winius talked to Dr. Buhs about the telephone conversation
and asked for advice on how to deal with similar situations
should they arise again. About a week later, plaintiffs
allege that Dr. Buhs, Pawlak, Kaeserman, and Steinich issued
Winius a Beacon Program Written Warning. The warning
summarized the call and stated that Winius had minimized his
behavior in the situation. As a sanction Winius was ordered
to have no contact with Hietpas for at least six months.
allege that Winius did not violate any rule or administrative
policy, he did not receive a conduct report, and no hearing
was held prior to the sanction being administered. Winius
alleges that he disputed that a warning was necessary and he
repeatedly asked that he be allowed to contact Hietpas.
According to plaintiffs, defendants threatened Winius that ...