United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
JOSHUA W. ROWE, Plaintiff,
JODY DEROSA, et al., Defendants.
DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge United States District
Joshua Rowe, proceeding pro se, filed this action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his civil rights
were violated. He claims that the defendants violated his
constitutional rights through deliberate indifference to his
medical and mental health needs. Originally assigned to Judge
Clevert, the case was reassigned to me on March 15, 2017.
Currently before the court is defendants' motion for
summary judgment. The motion is fully briefed and ripe for
disposition. For the following reasons, the defendants'
motion will be granted and the case will be dismissed.
claims arise out of the relatively brief period of time
during which he was housed at Dodge Correctional Institution
between July 25, 2014, when he arrived, and October 4, 2014,
when he was transferred to Waupun Correctional Institution.
DCI is the central reception center for all adult male
inmates sentenced to prison in Wisconsin. Dodge Correctional
Institution, Wisconsin Department of Corrections,
Institutions/ DodgeCorrectionalInstitution.aspx (last
visited Jan. 19, 2018). Upon arrival at DCI, inmates undergo
a comprehensive assessment and evaluation with the goal of
determining program needs, custody level and institution
placement. Id. It was during this evaluaton and
assessment process that Rowe claims his constitutional rights
essence, Rowe claims that the defendants were deliberately
indifferent to his serious mental health needs. He claims
that the prescriptions for the medications he was taking for
his post traumatic stress disorder, Trazadone and Prazosin,
were allowed to run out, and on August 28, 2014, he did not
receive his medication. The failure to provide him his
medication, he contends, led to his being involved in an
altercation with another inmate on August 30, 2014. He was
then placed in segregation without a proper investigation of
the psychological causes of the incident, and while in
segregation, denied proper mental health treatment. Lastly,
he alleged that he received a maximum security placement
because of this fight, which also violated his constitutional
rights. Id. The facts established by the undisputed
evidence relating to each allegation and each of the
defendants will be set forth in detail.
The Events of August 28, 2014 and the Subsequent
Thursday, August 28, 2014, Defendant Carolyn Lewis, a DCI
correctional officer, was handing out medication during the
evening medication pass in Rowe's unit. Defendants'
Proposed Findings of Fact (“DPFOF”), ECF No. 65
at ¶¶ 2, 20. The evening medication pass usually
occurs between 8 and 9 pm. Id. at ¶ 20. While
Lewis was handing out medication, Rowe approached and asked
for his evening dose of Trazadone and Prazosin. Id.
at ¶¶ 21-22. He was taking these pills for
post-traumatic stress disorder. Plaintiff's Proposed
Findings of Fact (“PPFOF”), ECF No. 75 at ¶
10. Lewis informed Rowe that his medication was out. DPFOF
¶ at 25. It was Rowe's responsibility, as described
in the inmate handbook, to fill out a medication request for
a prescription refill when he was low. Id. at
¶ 23; ECF No. 56-1 at 8.
became upset, so Lewis contacted Sergeant Krueger, who was
working on another unit at the time, and he came to
Rowe's cell to speak with him. Id. at
¶¶ 26-27. Sergeant Krueger then spoke with the
Health Services Unit (“HSU”) to see if they could
get Rowe's medication that night. Id. at ¶ 28.
HSU told Sergeant Krueger that the medication would be
delivered the next day, Friday, August 29, 2014. Id.
at ¶ 29. Sergeant Krueger also attempted to contact the
Psychological Services Unit (“PSU”), in order to
make sure they were aware that Rowe was out of his
medication. Id. at ¶ 30. Sergeant Krueger was
told that there was no one from PSU at the institution
because it was after hours. Id. Sergeant Krueger
told Rowe to fill out a psychological services request form
to cover all available options to him that evening.
Id. at ¶ 35. Rowe received his Trazadone and
Prazosin the next day, August 29, 2014. Id. at
¶ 40; see also ECF No. 67-1 at 76.
August 30, 2014, at 3:30 pm, Defendant Gunderson, a
correctional officer, heard a scuffle by the stairwell as
inmates returned to their cells. Id. at ¶¶
2, 42. There, Gunderson observed Rowe and another inmate
wrestling on the floor with blood on their hands and on the
floor. Id. at ¶ 42. Gunderson issued both Rowe
and the other inmate a conduct report for fighting.
Id. at ¶ 43. Rowe never told Gunderson a reason
why he was fighting. Id. at ¶¶ 44-45. Rowe
did not tell Gunderson that he had missed his medication two
days prior nor did he allege that he had been denied or was
being denied mental health treatment. Id. at ¶
45. Nor was there anything about the incident that concerned
Gunderson or caused him to conclude that Rowe had missed his
medication or mental health treatment. Id. at ¶
46. After writing the conduct report, Gunderson did not have
any involvement in the decision to place Rowe in disciplinary
separation or temporary administrative segregation.
Id. at ¶ 47.
Davis Arndt placed Rowe in temporary administrative
segregation after the fight pending the outcome of Rowe's
conduct report. Id. at ¶¶ 4, 48. Rowe was
placed in temporary administrative segregation because
inmates who engage in physical altercations present a threat
to the safety and security of the institution, other inmates,
and staff members. Id. at ¶ 48. Rowe was placed
there pending the outcome of his conduct report for fighting.
Id. at ¶ 52. Rowe made no comments to
Lieutenant Arndt regarding his placement in temporary
administrative segregation or running out of his medications.
Id. at ¶¶ 53-54. Arndt did not have any
involvement in placing Rowe in disciplinary segregation,
which happened after he was found guilty of his conduct
report. Id. at ¶ 49.
September 2, 2014, Captain Janel Nickel reviewed the conduct
report and determined that it should proceed to a
disciplinary hearing as a major offense. Id. at
¶¶ 5, 55. Nickel's job was not to determine
guilt or innocence, but to review the appropriateness of the
charge. Id. at ¶ 56. The conduct report did not
mention anything about Rowe missing his medications or mental
health treatment. Id. at ¶ 57. Nickel did not
discuss the conduct report with Rowe. Id.
September 4, 2014, Lieutenant Thomas Mariani presided over
Rowe's disciplinary hearing. Id. at ¶¶
4, 59-60. At the disciplinary hearing, Rowe admitted that he
was guilty of fighting. Id. at ¶ 61. Rowe
stated that the other inmate had been giving him a hard time
and calling him a child molester, so Rowe swung at him
several times. Id. at ¶ 62. Rowe stated that he
was having “issues” with his medication at the
time, but he did not attribute his conduct to any problems
with medication. Id. at ¶ 63. Based on the
conduct report, photos of the incident, and Rowe's
admission of guilt, Lieutenant Mariani determined that it was
more likely than not that Rowe had violated prison rules and
sentenced him to thirty days of disciplinary segregation.
Id. at ¶¶ 65, 66. Rowe was moved from
temporary administrative segregation to disciplinary
segregation on September 4, 2014. Id. at ¶
September 10, 2014, Dr. Dawn Landers, a licensed psychologist
at DCI, performed a psychology staff evaluation on Rowe.
Id. at ¶¶ 7, 68. Dr. Landers noted that
based on her meetings with Rowe on September 3rd and 10th, he
demonstrated an adequate psychological adjustment to
disciplinary segregation. Id. at ¶¶ 69-70.
Dr. Landers recommended that Rowe be released from
disciplinary segregation on September 19, 2014, after having
served half of his thirty day sentence. Id. at
¶ 71. Captain Scot Galligan, program captain of the
restrictive housing unit, and Captain Nickel also recommended
that Rowe be released on September 19, 2014. Id. at
¶¶ 6, 72. Deputy Warden Schneiter ultimately
ordered that Rowe be released on September 17, 2014 because
he had conducted himself in an appropriate manner while
housed in disciplinary segregation and had served adequate
time. Id. at ¶¶ 8, 73-74. Galligan,
Nickel, and Schneiter all reviewed Dr. Landers' note that
Rowe demonstrated adequate psychological adjustment to his
disciplinary segregation before making their recommendations.
Id. at ¶ 75. Galligan's and Schneiter's
recommendations for release were the only interactions they
had with Rowe. Id. at ¶ 72. Rowe spent a total
of thirteen days in disciplinary segregation after his four
days in temporary administrative segregation. Id. at
Rowe's Mental Health Services at DCI
28, 2014, Dr. Landers had her first appointment with Rowe
after he was transferred to DCI. Id. at ¶ 78.
She conducted a mental health screening interview, which
inquired about Rowe's mental health history and current
mental health status. Id. at ¶ 79. At the time,
Rowe denied any psychological distress but said that he had a
prescription for psychotropic medications to treat symptoms
of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, which
included nightmares. Id. at ¶ 80. After
conducting her assessment, Dr. Landers classified Rowe as an
MH-1, which indicates that he had a mental health need but
was not experiencing clinically significant symptoms.
Id. at ¶ 81. When Rowe was taking his
medication, he was reasonably emotionally stable.
Id. at ¶ 83. Dr. Landers recommended that Rowe
be seen every six months for follow up and evaluation.
Id. At that time, Dr. Landers had no special
placement concerns about Rowe because he presented as
psychologically stable overall with minimal active mental
health symptoms. Id. at ¶ 84. Additionally,
Rowe did not present with any serious mental illness concerns
that would be considered to be a risk to himself or to other
inmates. Id. at ¶ 85.
August 30, 2014, two days after the missed medication,
Defendant Kathy Hielsberg, a licensed nurse at DCI, was
forwarded a psychological service request from HSU.
Id. at ¶ 86. This request from Rowe was dated
August 28, 2014. Id. at ¶ 87. The request
indicated that Rowe wanted to be seen by the psychology staff
and that he was not given his medication on August 28, 2014.
Id. at ¶ 88. The request was forwarded to HSU
because PSU does not refill prescriptions. Id. at
¶ 89. Hielsberg's supervisor, a registered nurse,
forwarded the psychological service request to Hielsberg and
instructed her to call the unit to see if they got the
Trazodone on August 29th. Id. at ¶ 90.
Hielsberg called the unit and was told that the Trazadone had
been sent to Rowe's unit on August 29, 2014. Id.
at ¶ 92. Hielsberg then returned Rowe's
psychological services request to him with the response that
“Trazadone was sent to your unit 8/29/2014. The officer
gives you these meds.” Id. at ¶ 93.
Hielsberg's only responsibility was to confirm whether
Rowe had received his Trazadone on August 29, 2014.
Id. at ¶ 91. Hielsberg had no authority to
schedule an appointment for Rowe with Psychological Services,
which must be made either by PSU or by her supervisor.
Id. at ¶¶ 94-95. Hielsberg had no other
contact with Rowe during his incarceration. Id. at
Landers had her second interaction with Rowe on Wednesday,
September 3, 2014, while conducting routine PSU rounds in the
restrictive housing unit, where Rowe was being kept during
his temporary administrative segregation. Id. at
¶¶ 97-98. Rowe did not request a follow up
psychological request or any other psychological service
between his initial meeting with Dr. Landers and her second
visit. Id. at ¶ 99. During her visit with him,
Rowe informed Dr. Landers that he was there because of a
physical altercation with another inmate. Id. at
¶ 101. Dr. Landers was unaware of the altercation when
she met with Rowe but confirmed the physical altercation with
a security staff member after her appointment with him.
Id. at ¶ 100.
September 3rd meeting, Dr. Landers and Rowe discussed
Rowe's history of anger and aggression. Id. at
¶ 102. Rowe blamed his fight and administrative
segregation on having missed his sleep medication a few days
prior. Id. Dr. Landers reviewed Rowe's medical
logs, which indicated his receipt of his medication on August
29th, and determined that Rowe was attempting to avoid
acceptance of responsibility for his maladaptive actions by
blaming it on the missed medication. Id. at
¶¶ 103-05. Dr. Landers stated that it was
inappropriate for him to blame his behaviors on poor sleep
and irritability caused by missing one dose of medication.
Id. at ¶ 106. Dr. Landers believed in her
professional opinion that Rowe's excuse was unreasonable
and baseless because there was no evidence of serious mental
health concerns that would result in an impairment of
judgment, decision making, general cognition, or
understanding of adaptive and expected appropriate behaviors.
Id. at ¶ 109. For this reason, Dr. Landers
determined that Rowe's placement in segregation was a
reasonable and appropriate consequence for his behaviors and
that it was not damaging to his present or ongoing
functioning or well being. Id. at ¶ 110.
September 10, 2014, Dr. Landers had her next and final
appointment with Rowe. Id. at ¶ 112. Rowe
presented as alert and oriented; did not relay any
complaints; did not present as delusional or experiencing
serious mental illness; did not report any ongoing
psychotropic medication concerns; and did not report any
adverse behavioral or cognitive impacts because of his
placement in disciplinary segregation. Id. at ¶
116. Dr. Landers noted that Rowe's reports and
presentation of psychological functioning were indicative of
generally adequate psychological adjustment to disciplinary
separation. Id. at ¶ 117. Therefore, Dr.
Landers determined there was no psychological
contraindication to Rowe's continued placement in
disciplinary segregation. Id. at ¶ 118. In
total, Rowe spent seventeen days in segregation (combined
administrative and disciplinary) and Landers had two
appointments with Rowe during those days. Id. at
¶ 119. After September 10, 2014, Landers did not have
any additional interactions with Rowe nor did she receive any
requests from Rowe for an appointment. Id. at ¶
September 12, 2014, Dr. John Wean, a psychiatrist at DCI, had
his only appointment with Rowe. Id. at ¶¶
123, 125. The purpose of Dr. Wean's visit was to conduct
a full psychiatric assessment, including the history of
Rowe's present illness, psychiatric history, medical
history, substance abuse history, family history, and social
history. Id. at ¶¶ 126-27. Dr. Wean noted
the medication that Rowe was currently on. Id. at
¶ 128. Dr. Wean also noted that during the examination
Rowe was alert, oriented, and reasonably well groomed and
cooperative, but somewhat rambling and circumstantial in his
presentation. Id. at ¶ 129. Dr. Wean noted the
Rowe exhibited no abnormal psychomotor movements and did not
witness any psychotic process. Id. at ¶ 130.
Dr. Wean noted that Rowe's voice was of normal tone,
rate, and volume and that his speech was relevant and
coherent. Id. Dr. Wean also noted that Rowe did not
have any thoughts of hurting himself or others and that
Rowe's affect was minimally dysphoric but appropriate.
Id. at ¶ 131.
Dr. Wean noted that Rowe's mental status examination was
unremarkable and in Dr. Wean's professional opinion, Rowe
showed an absence of distress at being in disciplinary
segregation and showed no pressing need to be moved out of
disciplinary segregation. Id. at ¶¶
133-34. Dr. Wean diagnosed Rowe with unspecific depressive
disorder with PTSD-like symptomology, anti-social personality
traits, a history of marijuana and alcohol abuse, and
uncreative colitis. Id. at ¶ 136. Dr. Wean
adjusted Rowe's medication slightly and recommended a
follow up appointment in three weeks or sooner if necessary.
Id. at ¶¶ 137-38. During the time
between Dr. Wean's appointment and Rowe's transfer
out of DCI, Rowe did not contact Dr. Wean about a follow up
appointment. Id. at ¶ 139.
outside of Rowe's interactions with Landers and Dr. Wean,
he did not request an appointment or help from the
Psychological Services Unit after being placed in