United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
Stadtmueller, U.S. District Judge
who is incarcerated at Columbia Correctional Institution,
filed a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, alleging that his civil rights were violated while he
was incarcerated at Waupun Correctional Institution
(“Waupun”). (Docket #1). This matter comes before
the Court on Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis. (Docket #2). Plaintiff has been assessed and
paid an initial partial filing fee of $10.24. 28 U.S.C.
Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or
employee of a governmental entity. Id. §
1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion
thereof if the prisoner has raised 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.
Id. § 1915A(b). A claim is legally frivolous
when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992);
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989);
Gladney v. Pendelton Corr. Facility, 302 F.3d 773,
774 (7th Cir. 2002). The Court may, therefore, dismiss a
claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327;
Gladney, 302 F.3d at 774. “Malicious, ”
although sometimes treated as a synonym for “frivolous,
” “is more usefully construed as intended to
harass.” Lindell v. McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107,
1109 (7th Cir. 2003); Paul v. Marberry, 658 F.3d
702, 705 (7th Cir. 2011).
state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading
system, the plaintiff is required to provide a “short
and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is
entitled to relief[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). It is not
necessary for the plaintiff to plead specific facts; his
statement need only “‘give the defendant fair
notice of what the. . .claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355
U.S. 41, 47 (1957)); Christopher v. Buss, 384 F.3d
879, 881 (7th Cir. 2004). However, a complaint that offers
“‘labels and conclusions'” or
“‘formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause
of action will not do.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). To state a claim, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, “‘that is plausible on its
face.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. The complaint
allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555; Christopher, 384 F.3d at 881.
considering whether a complaint states a claim, courts should
first “identif[y] pleadings that, because they are no
more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Legal
conclusions must be supported by factual allegations.
Id. If there are well-pleaded factual allegations,
the Court must “assume their veracity and then
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief.” Id.
state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege that: (1) he was deprived of a right
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and
(2) the deprivation was visited upon him by a person or
persons acting under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore
v. County of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir.
2009); Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980).
The Court is obliged to give Plaintiff's pro se
allegations, “‘however inartfully pleaded,
'” a liberal construction. See Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).
allegations concern the events of a single evening: December
21, 2016. (Docket #1 at 2). On that day, Plaintiff was housed
in Waupun's restrictive housing unit on observation
status. Id. at 3. At 5:00 p.m., Defendant Krause, a
correctional officer, was doing observation checks and came
by Plaintiff's cell. Id. at 1. Plaintiff asked
for his face towel and soap and she refused without giving a
reason. Id. He responded that he needed to be placed
in bed restraints and began to bang his head on the window of
his cell door. Id. Krause walked away. Id.
then pressed the call button in his cell and told Defendant
Kelly, a correctional officer, that he was going to continue
self-harming activities. Id. at 1-2. Defendant
Kelly's response is not reported in the complaint.
See Id. Plaintiff started banging his head again, in
view of the camera inside his cell. Id. at 2.
Defendant Barbeau, another correctional officer, then
approached the cell door and asked what was going on.
Id. Plaintiff told her that he had not received the
items he requested, and Barbeau agreed to consult with
Krause. Id. Krause came and spoke with Plaintiff
about the items and agreed to provide them if he calmed down.
Id. He did so for about twenty minutes, but Krause
did not provide the items he had requested, so he began
banging his head again, from about 5:30 to 5:45 p.m.
correctional officer, Defendant Captain Bauer, did an
observation round sometime thereafter and, according to
Plaintiff, witnessed Plaintiff's injuries. Id.
Plaintiff does not describe the nature of his injuries at
this point. Id. Plaintiff asked for medical
treatment but Bauer refused, telling Plaintiff that he looked
fine. Id. Bauer then walked away. Id.
Plaintiff again began to bang his head. Id.
Similarly, around this time Defendant Sergeant Wolf passed by
Plaintiff's cell and ignored his plea for medical care.
Id. at 3.
and another officer, Defendant Sergeant Schouten, came to
Plaintiff's cell some time later to distribute
medication. Id. at 2. At this juncture, Plaintiff
told Barbeau that he needed medical care and she advised him
to stop banging his head. Id. Plaintiff repeated his
request to Schouten, who said he would inform the health
services unit of the request. Id.
between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m., Defendant Lieutenant Haynes did a
round in the restrictive housing unit. Id. He
witnessed Plaintiff's head bleeding. Id.
Plaintiff requested medical care, and Haynes replied that he
would let the medical personnel know but could not force them
to see Plaintiff. Id. at 2-3. Thereafter, Defendant
Demers, another correctional officer, walked past
Plaintiff's cell and Plaintiff stopped him to ask for
medical assistance. Id. at 3. Plaintiff does not
provide Demers' response, but he complains that no
medical personnel ever came to see him. Id. As a
result, he started banging his head yet again, this time
until 11:30 p.m. Id.
around 12:55 a.m. on the morning of December 22, 2016,
Captain Larson, who is not a defendant in this case, pulled
Plaintiff out of his cell to be seen by the health services
unit. Whatever Plaintiff's diagnosis and treatment
ultimately were, he does not say. See id.
contends that Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth
Amendment. That Amendment prohibits “cruel and unusual
punishments.” U.S. Const. Amend. VIII. It imposes a
duty on prison officials to take reasonable measures to
guarantee an inmate's safety and to ensure that inmates
receive adequate medical care. Farmer v. Brennan,
511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). A prison official's
“deliberate indifference” to a prisoner's
medical needs or to a substantial risk of serious harm
violates the Eighth Amendment. Id. at 828;
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976).
deliberate indifference inquiry has two components.
“The official must have subjective knowledge of the
risk to the inmate's health, and the official also must
disregard that risk.” Gayton v. McCoy, 593
F.3d 610, 620 (7th Cir. 2010); Collins v. Seeman,
462 F.3d 757, 760 (7th Cir. 2006). Negligence, or even gross
negligence, cannot support a claim of deliberate
indifference. Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105-06. Rather,
liability requires conduct that approaches intentional