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Jackson v. Litscher

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

December 15, 2017



          William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge

         Sylvester Jackson, a former Wisconsin Department of Corrections inmate, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action on March 31, 2015, alleging that the Department of Corrections' policy that permits correctional officers, rather than nurses and other medical professionals, to distribute medication to inmates at Columbia Correctional Institution (CCI) and Jackson Correctional Institution (JCI) violates his constitutional rights. His amended complaint names numerous individuals, known and unknown, who he claims are responsible for administering this policy. The court screened the complaint on May 21, 2015 and permitted Jackson to proceed with his sole claim that the defendants have shown deliberate indifference to inmates' serious medical need to receive the correct medications. This matter comes before the court on the defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons, the defendants' motion will be granted and the case dismissed.


         Before turning to the parties' substantive arguments, the court will address two preliminary matters. First, the defendants assert that their proposed findings of fact must be deemed admitted because Jackson did not comply with the district court's local rules regarding summary judgment procedures. Pursuant to the local rules, along with the motion for summary judgment, the moving party is required to file either a statement of material facts to which the parties have stipulated or a statement of proposed material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no material issue and that entitle it to judgment as a matter of law. Civil L.R. 56(b)(1). The statement of proposed facts must include numbered paragraphs containing short factual statements and specific references to affidavits, declarations, parts of the record, and other supporting materials. Civil L.R. 56(b)(1)(C).

         The party opposing the motion must file a response to the moving party's statement of undisputed facts which is intended to make clear which, if any, of those facts are in dispute, and to set forth any additional facts that bear on the motion. The opposing party's response must reproduce each numbered paragraph of the moving party's statement of facts followed by a response to each paragraph. Civil L.R. 56(b)(2)(B). If the fact is disputed, the party must include a specific reference to an affidavit, declaration, or other parts of the record that supports the claim that a genuine dispute exists as to the fact stated by the moving party. Id. If the opposing party believes there are additional facts that prevent the entry of summary judgment, he should include a statement, consisting of short numbered paragraphs that set forth each additional fact and include references to the affidavits, declarations, or other parts of the record that support the assertion. Civil L.R. 56(b)(2)(B)(ii).

         In the instant case, Jackson filed a brief in opposition to the defendants' motion for summary judgment but did not file a response to their proposed findings of fact. Instead, Jackson cites to his amended complaint to support his assertions. However, nonmovants may not “rely on the mere allegations of their complaint to defeat summary judgment.” Westward Coach Mfg. Co. v. Ford Motor Co., 388 F.2d 627, 635 (7th Cir. 1968) (citation omitted); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 257 (1986) (“To survive summary judgment, the nonmovant may not simply rely on the facts alleged in the complaint but must instead produce affirmative evidence.”). In short, Jackson failed to comply with Civil L.R. 56. The Seventh Circuit has “routinely held that a district court may strictly enforce compliance with its local rules regarding summary judgment motions.” Schmidt v. Eagle Waste & Recycling, Inc., 599 F.3d 626, 630 (7th Cir. 2010) (citing Patterson v. Ind. Newspaper Inc., 589 F.3d 357, 360 (7th Cir. 2009)). Therefore, the court will deem the defendants' statement of facts admitted for the purposes of summary judgment.

         In addition, Jackson listed Does 1 through 36 as defendants in this action. To date, he has not filed an amended complaint that provides the names of the Doe defendants. Because he has not identified the Doe defendants in a timely manner, his claims against them will be dismissed with prejudice. With these considerations in mind, the court now turns to the instant motion.


         Jackson was an inmate in the custody of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections until April 2017. Defs.' Proposed Findings of Fact (DPFOF) ¶ 1, ECF No. 56. While in custody, Jackson was housed at JCI from November 25, 2009 through February 20, 2013. Id. ¶ 2. He was then transferred to CCI where he was housed from March 26, 2013 through February 4, 2016. Id. ¶ 3. He asserts that nurses, rather than correctional officers, should be responsible for distributing medication and alleges that the defendants have shown deliberate indifference to inmates' serious medical need to receive the correct medications from the institution.

         While inmates may self-administer some medication as needed, it is Department of Corrections policy and practice at all Division of Adult Institutions (DIA), other than Taycheedah Correctional Institution, for correctional officers to deliver medications to inmates as part of their normal job duties. Id. ¶¶ 17, 26; see also DIA Policy No. 500.80.11, ECF No. 57-2. Individual institutions may adopt DIA 500.80.11 as written or implement additional procedures specific to that institution. Id. ¶ 18. Along with DIA Policy No. 500.80.11, each institution's inmate handbook explains that institution's medication delivery process. Id. ¶ 20. The handbook is provided to every inmate housed at the institution and is available in the institution's library. Id.

         In accordance with DIA Policy No. 500.80.11, officers are responsible for dispensing and controlling psychotropic medications to document compliance and prevent an inmate from overdosing or selling the medication. Correctional officers receive training regarding medication delivery during their orientation and receive annual education on the process. Id. ¶ 25. When delivering medications, correctional officers compare the label on the blister pack with the inmate's “Medication Treatment Record, ” contained in the inmate's medical file, to verify the accuracy in identifying the correct inmate, medication, dose, time, and route. Id. ¶¶ 15, 31. Health Service Unit staff are responsible for ensuring that the Medication Treatment Record form and the medication labels match for each inmate. Id. ¶ 16. Accordingly, when there is a discrepancy between the medication label and the Medication Treatment Record, the correctional officer must contact the nurse in the Health Services Unit or the on-call nurse for direction before proceeding with delivery.Id. ¶ 33. Once the correctional officer verifies that the medication label matches the Medication Treatment Record form, he must then show the medication label to the inmate to allow the inmate to verify the accuracy of the information. Health Services Unit staff are responsible for educating inmate patients with the names of their medications, the dose of their medications, the time they should take their medications, and the possible side effects of the medications so that they may ensure the accuracy of the medications they receive. Id. ¶ 14. Inmates only receive medication when both he and the correctional officer have verified that they are given the correct medication. Id. ¶ 32.

         CCI has implemented DAI 500.80.11 as it is written, while JCI implemented its own facility procedure for medication distribution. Id. ¶ 34. JCI's Inmate Handbook indicates that an inmate must report to the Health Services Unit and present the correctional officer with his identification card and state his name, inmate number, and housing unit. The correctional officer then dispenses the medication into the inmate's hand. Id. ¶ 36. The inmate is required to check the medication prior to taking it and verify that he received the correct medication. Id.

         In his amended complaint, Jackson alleges that he received the wrong medication from correctional officers tasked with medication distribution on at least three separate occasions at both CCI and JCI. First, on January 9, 2011, while housed at JCI, Officer Johnston gave him the medication of another inmate whose last name was also Jackson. Jackson informed Officer Johnston that he made an error and did not consume the other inmate's medication. Id. ¶ 13. On October 26, 2014, at CCI, Officer McKnight gave Jackson another inmate's medication. Jackson notified Officer McKnight that he received the wrong medication and did not consume this medication. The following day, an unknown officer gave Jackson the same medication Officer McKnight incorrectly dispensed the day before. Jackson informed this officer of the mistake and did not consume the medication. Id.

         LEGAL ...

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