United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DECISION AND ORDER
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge United States District
Travis Delaney Williams, proceeding pro se, filed
this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that his
civil rights were violated while he was a pretrial detainee
at the Racine County Jail (the Jail). Currently before the
court is plaintiff's motions for summary judgment and
defendants Simeon Ortiz, William Coe, and James
Olstinske's (the Medical Defendants) motion for summary
judgment. Defendants Bradley Friend, Austin Isferding, and
Robert Hernandez (the Jail Defendants) also filed a motion
for summary judgment. The court will address plaintiff's
motions for summary judgment as to the Jail Defendants and
the Jail Defendants' motion for summary judgment in a
separate order. For the following reasons, the court will
deny plaintiff's motions for summary judgment as to the
Medical Defendants and grant the Medical Defendants'
motion for summary judgment.
Ortiz, Coe, and Olstinske were professionally licensed as a
medical doctor, licensed practical nurse, and registered
nurse, respectively, during the relevant time. ECF No. 197 at
¶ 8. They were employed by Correctional Healthcare
Companies to provide healthcare to inmates at the Racine
County Jail (the Jail). Id. at ¶ 9. Plaintiff
was booked into the Jail on May 8, 2013. ECF No. 152 at
to defendants, while at the Jail, plaintiff suffered from
osteoarthritis and mild heel spurs. ECF No. 197 at ¶ 12.
Defendants assert that these are common conditions which are
treated by over-the-counter medications. Id.
Plaintiff asserts that he suffered “from more than
that” and argues that none of the defendants did
anything to find out why he was in so much pain. Id.
explain that in December 2013 and possibly into early 2014,
plaintiff was provided a double mattress as an accommodation.
In February 2014, Dr. Ortiz again examined plaintiff and
noted that he was not experiencing swelling in his knees or
legs or tenderness in his calves. ECF No. 152 at ¶ 15.
After consulting with the nursing staff, Dr. Ortiz determined
that plaintiff did not require a mattress accommodation and
that his barrage of requests was likely an effort to take
advantage of the system and gain extra privileges.
to defendants, between June 5, 2014, and July 10, 2014, Dr.
Ortiz or the nurse practitioner examined plaintiff at least
five times. ECF No. 197 at ¶ 15. After reviewing the
results of an x-ray, Dr. Ortiz diagnosed plaintiff with
modest-sized bone spurs. Id. at ¶ 17. Plaintiff
explains that, while this may be true, Nurse Coe or Olstinske
interfered with Dr. Ortiz's examinations, told Dr. Ortiz
that Jail policies prevented him from ordering a double
mattress, and even hid behind filing cabinets to intimidate
Dr. Ortiz. Id. at ¶ 15.
12, 2014, Dr. Ortiz assessed plaintiff's complaints of
hip pain and noted that plaintiff was requesting an extra
mattress. Id. at ¶ 18. Dr. Ortiz did not
believe that his condition warranted an extra mattress;
instead, he continued plaintiff's prescribed medications
and reminded plaintiff of previous orders from medical staff
that plaintiff elevate his legs while he was seated or laying
down. Id. Similarly, on July 1, 2014, Dr. Ortiz
assessed plaintiff for arm and shin pain. Id. Dr.
Ortiz continued plaintiff's ibuprofen prescription but
did not order that plaintiff receive a second mattress.
9, 2014, Williams was assessed by the nurse practitioner (not
a defendant); she noted plaintiff's complaints of severe
chronic pain, but she also noted that he “was able to
stand during visit without any difficulty” and that she
observed no swelling, bruising, or tenderness. Id.
at ¶ 20. The next day, Dr. Ortiz examined plaintiff; he
also did not observe any evidence of swelling in
plaintiff's legs, and he noted that plaintiff could
stand, walk, and extend his legs against his knees.
Id. at ¶ 21. Dr. Ortiz confirmed his diagnosis
of degenerative arthritis, prescribed elastic knee support,
and continued the two pain medications plaintiff was already
taking. Id. Plaintiff argues that Dr. Ortiz and the
nurse practitioner are lying. Id. at ¶¶
June and July 2014, plaintiff received, in addition to half a
dozen medications, 800mg of ibuprofen twice per day for
chronic pain and, at times, Tylenol. Id. at ¶
22. Plaintiff asserts that the ibuprofen failed to address
his pain and Dr. Ortiz never tried any other medications.
Ortiz asserts that, at no time in June or July 2014, did he
believe that an extra mattress was necessary to accommodate
plaintiff's medical condition. Id. at ¶ 26.
In addition, defendants assert that, at no time, did any
nurse interfere with Dr. Ortiz's treatment of plaintiff.
Id. at ¶ 27. Defendants explain that, as the
physician, Dr. Ortiz would issue treatment orders and nursing
staff would carry out those orders. Id.
3, 2014, defendants assert that plaintiff threw his
medication at Coe, who reported the incident to correctional
officer Isferding. Id. at ¶ 32. Plaintiff
denies that he threw anything at Coe. Id. Coe
explains that, as a nurse, he has no authority to discipline
inmates. Id. at ¶ 33. While this may be so,
plaintiff argues that Coe was still free to confer with
Isferding and suggest to Isferding how plaintiff should be
punished. Id. Coe asserts that he did not ask or
direct Isferding to implement any specific punishment or
sanction against plaintiff; in fact, he is unaware of whether
plaintiff was ever disciplined for this incident.
Id. at ¶ 34.
September 22, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Pamela Pepper
(the judge assigned to the case at that time) screened
plaintiff's complaint and allowed him to proceed on
Fourteenth Amendment claims against the Medical Defendants
based on his allegations that they denied him a mattress
accommodation while he was in disciplinary segregation. ECF
No. 10 at 11. She also allowed him to proceed on a
retaliation claim against Coe based on his allegations that
he and Isferding denied him indigent hygiene kits days after
plaintiff wrote them up for misconduct. Id. at