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Bonner v. Rozmarynoski

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

February 23, 2018

PAUL BONNER, Plaintiff,


          J. P. Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge

         1. INTRODUCTION

         On June 14, 2017, the Court screened Plaintiff's Complaint. (Docket #9). The Complaint alleged that Defendants failed to appropriately treat Plaintiff's migraine headaches. Id. at 3-4. The Court allowed him to proceed on the theory that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Id. at 4-6. The Court later screened and accepted an Amended Complaint which substituted various defendants, but did not change Plaintiff's substantive claim. (Docket #16). On January 12, 2018, Defendants moved for summary judgment. (Docket #22). Plaintiff responded to the motion on February 1, 2018, and Defendants replied on February 15, 2018. (Response, Docket #30; Reply, Docket #34). For the reasons explained below, Defendants' motion must be granted.


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that the court “shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Boss v. Castro, 816 F.3d 910, 916 (7th Cir. 2016). A fact is “material” if it “might affect the outcome of the suit” under the applicable substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute of fact is “genuine” if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. The court construes all facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Bridge v. New Holland Logansport, Inc., 815 F.3d 356, 360 (7th Cir. 2016).

         3. BACKGROUND

         The following facts are material to the resolution of Defendants' motion. The Court notes the parties' disputes where appropriate.[1] During the events of this lawsuit, Plaintiff was first incarcerated at Green Bay Correctional Institution (“GBCI”) and later the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility (“WSPF”). Defendant Steve Bost (“Bost”) worked as a registered nurse at GBCI. Defendants Tonia Rozmarynoski (“Rozmarynoski”), Michael Snodgrass (“Snodgrass”), and Zachary Berger (“Berger”) were correctional officers. Rozmarynoski was stationed at GBCI, while Snodgrass and Berger were employed at WSPF.

         As noted above, Plaintiff proceeds on claims related to the treatment of his headaches. He identifies two dates of allegedly deficient care: November 20, 2016 and December 16, 2016. Generally speaking, inmates with medical concerns must fill out a request form (which Plaintiff calls a “blue slip”) and submit it to the Health Services Unit (“HSU”). Nurses review the forms on a daily basis, and medical staff are available throughout the week to provide immediate medical care. If an inmate has a medical emergency, they can report it to correctional staff, who will in turn contact HSU. HSU then determines whether the situation is indeed an emergency, and what should be done about it. Correctional officers defer to HSU's medical judgment; they do not provide medical care to inmates.

         Prior to the dates in question, Plaintiff suffered a brain injury which caused migraine headaches. A doctor ordered that Plaintiff be given a Toradol injection at the outset of migraine symptoms, at a maximum of five injections per month. The doctor later clarified that Toradol was only to be used for severe pain. Otherwise, Plaintiff was to be provided Excedrin Migraine or Naproxen. Toradol is a controlled medication that must be administered by medical staff, while Excedrin Migraine and Naproxen are over-the-counter drugs which inmates can possess themselves. Toradol is kept in stock on a running basis; it is stored as a general supply, not to fulfill any particular inmate's prescription needs.

         The Court begins with the November 21 incident, which occurred at GBCI. Rozmarynoski and Bost were on duty that day.[2] Bost received a call at approximately 6:00 p.m. from Rozmarynoski, stating that Plaintiff reported a headache. Bost asked Rozmarynoski about Plaintiff's symptoms to determine his level of pain. Rozmarynoski informed Bost that Plaintiff had recently been to the dining hall and back without complaints or signs of pain. Further, Rozmarynoski said that Plaintiff had not reported dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light, or vomiting, all of which might be signs of a migraine. Plaintiff claims that he reported a headache prior to going to the dining hall.[3]

         Based on these facts, Bost determined that Plaintiff's headache was not severe and did not warrant emergency treatment. Bost told Rozmarynoski to tell Plaintiff that he should submit an HSU request form to be seen the next day. Rozmarynoski did so. Plaintiff filled out the form and, according to Rozmarynoski, did not report any further pain symptoms for the remainder of November 21. Plaintiff says he was in severe pain for the rest of the day and blacked out at one point. He also claims to have asked Rozmarynoski again for a Toradol injection, but was refused in light of the earlier call to Bost and the pending HSU request. Plaintiff does not dispute that he self-treated with Excedrin Migraine that night, and was given a Toradol injection the next day, within twenty-four hours of his original complaint.

         Plaintiff was transferred to WSPF on November 29. His medical records were sent with him. Toradol was not sent, however. As noted above, it is a stock medication, and both GBCI and WSPF were expected to have their own supply. Plaintiff's prescriptions for Excedrin Migraine and Naproxen were filled upon his arrival.

         Berger was working in Plaintiff's unit on December 16 (Snodgrass did not work that day). Like Rozmarynoski, Berger's practice is to log inmate medical complaints and contact HSU. The log book contains no such entries for December 16. Berger does not recall any specific interactions with Plaintiff that day. In his own statement of facts, Plaintiff claims that he told Berger multiple times that he was having a severe headache, and that Berger variously ignored him or said he would call HSU but never did. However, Plaintiff does not dispute Defendants' proposed fact that the correctional officer on duty did in fact call HSU.[4] The HSU staff apparently felt the situation was not serious and, like Bost, indicated that Plaintiff should file an HSU request form. Plaintiff would have had his over-the-counter medications available to him at that time, in any event.

         Plaintiff cites to grievances he filed as support for his claims. For the November 21 incident, his grievance was accepted. The complaint examiner determined that while Bost exercised his medical judgment in declining a meeting with Plaintiff, he should have seen Plaintiff face-to-face that day. With respect to the December 16 incident, the complaint examiner noted that HSU was out of Toradol, and in light of Plaintiff's prescription, more ...

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