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Strack v. Rekau

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

January 25, 2018

LARA STRACK, Plaintiff,
v.
KATHERINE M. REKAU, DEANNA SCHAUB, JENNIFER MCDERMOTT, DAVID TARR, CAPTAIN FINKE, SERGEANT SARAH NYDEN, CAPTAIN DIERKS, CAPATIN IACUCCI, CAPATAIN MAAUG, JOHN AND JANE DOE, and JOHN AND JANE ROE, Defendants.

          DECISION AND ORDER SCREENING THE PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The plaintiff, who is represented by counsel, filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. §1983 alleging that the defendants violated her constitutional rights. Dkt. No. 1. The case is before the court for an initial review of the complaint, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. §1915A(a).

         I. Screening the Plaintiff's Complaint

         The law requires the court 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 if the plaintiff raises 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. §1915A(b).

         To state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, “that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows a court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege sufficient facts to demonstrate that: 1) she was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and 2) the defendant was 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).

         The plaintiff has sued corrections officer Katherine M. Rekau, as well as a number of defendants (identified by name, or identified as Doe/Roe defendants) employed at two facilities: Robert E. Ellsworth Correctional Center and Taycheedah Correctional Institution. She names Deanna Schaub and Jennifer McDermott, the warden and deputy warden of Ellsworth, as well as David Tarr, the safety director there. Dkt. No. 1 at ¶4. She names Captain Finke, Sarah Nyden, Captain Dierks, Captain Iacucci and Captain Malaug, and identifies them as “employees of the [Wisconsin Department of Corrections] at [Ellsworth] and [Taycheedah], ” and asserts that they “had direct involvement with the Plaintiff and the Defendant, Rekau.” Id. at ¶5. She names various Doe defendants as corrections officers and supervisors “with direct and indirect involvement with the Plaintiff and Defendant, Katherine M. Rekau.” Id. at ¶6. She also names various Doe and Roe defendants whom she asserts were “employees of the [Wisconsin Department of Corrections] at [Ellsworth] and [Taycheedah], ” who had the responsibility to provide “mental health support and services to inmates, including the Plaintiff, . . . at [Ellsworth] and [Taycheedah].” Id.

         A. The Plaintiff's Allegations

         During the time of the events alleged in the complaint, the plaintiff was incarcerated either at Ellsworth or Taycheedah. Dkt. No. 1 at ¶¶2, 9. She alleges that during 2016, while at Ellsworth, corrections officer Katherine Rekau made “overtly sexual statements to her, ” asked her “about her sexual preferences, ” made “sexually suggestive comments to her, ” and “sexually assault[ed] her . . . at various locations within [Ellsworth].” Id. at ¶11, 13.

         The plaintiff explains that Rekau used threats of segregation and loss of privileges to intimidate the plaintiff so that she would not report Rekau's alleged misconduct. Id. at ¶14. According to the plaintiff, Rekau also professed her love for the plaintiff and told the plaintiff that Rekau “would be incarcerated if the truth were known.” Id.

         The plaintiff asserts that, as a result of Rekau's alleged misconduct, the plaintiff suffered mental and emotional trauma, developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental and emotional problems, and developed severe anxiety and physical ailments. Id. at ¶15-16.

         The plaintiff alleges that all of the defendants, with the exception of Rekau, “failed and neglected to perform their duties and responsibilities in that they failed to employ reasonable and adequate screening procedures, failed to properly supervise [Rekau], and failed to enforce reasonable rules and regulations to protect inmates including the Plaintiff.” Id. at ¶17. The plaintiff states that these defendants knew that there was a substantial risk that corrections staff would sexually abuse and assault inmates. Id. at ¶18.

         The plaintiff is suing Rekau in her individual capacity; she is suing the remaining defendants in their individual and official capacities. See id. at ¶20-22.

         B. ...


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