United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DECISION AND ORDER SCREENING THE PLAINTIFF'S
AMENDED COMPLAINT (DKT. NO. 13) AND DENYING THE
PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS TO APPOINT COUNSEL (DKT. NOS. 5 AND
PAMELA PEPPER United States District Judge.
Michael Scott Pietila, a Wisconsin state prisoner who is
representing himself, filed a civil rights complaint under 42
U.S.C. §1983, regarding his conditions-of-confinement at
the Waupun Correctional Institution (“WCI”). Dkt
No. 1. He also has filed two motions asking the court to
appoint counsel to represent him. Dkt. Nos. 5, 10. The
plaintiff has consented to Judge Duffin's authority to
resolve the case, but because the defendants have not yet
been served, they have not had the opportunity to consent.
For that reason, the case is before this court for the
limited purpose of screening the amended complaint and
resolving the pending motions for appointment of counsel.
Screening the Amended Complaint
Standard for Screening Complaints
PLRA requires federal courts 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 may dismiss a case, or part of it,
if the claims alleged are “frivolous or malicious,
” fail to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B).
state a claim under the federal notice pleading system, the
plaintiff must provide a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief[.]”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The complaint need not plead specific
facts, and need only provide “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)).
“Labels and conclusions” or a “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).
factual content of the complaint must allow the court to
“draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.
Allegations must “raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
Factual allegations, when accepted as true, must state a
claim that is “plausible on its face.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
courts follow the two-step analysis in Twombly to
determine whether a complaint states a claim. Id. at
679. First, the court determines whether the plaintiff's
legal conclusions are supported by factual allegations.
Id. Legal conclusions not supported by facts
“are not entitled to the assumption of truth.”
Id. Second, the court determines whether the
well-pleaded factual allegations “plausibly give rise
to an entitlement to relief.” Id. The court
gives 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)).
Facts Alleged in the Amended Complaint
Judge William Duffin screened the plaintiff's original
complaint on February 7, 2018, and instructed the plaintiff
to file an amended complaint. Dkt. No. 12. Judge Duffin
identified two main problems with the original complaint: (1)
the plaintiff had named nineteen different individuals as
defendants, but had not described what these individuals did
or did not do to violate his constitutional rights, and (2)
it appeared that the plaintiff may have been attempting to
assert unrelated claims against different defendants in the
same lawsuit. Id. at 5-6.
court received the plaintiff's amended complaint on
February 22, 2018; it named Captain Tritt and “John and
Jane Does” as defendants. Dkt. No. 13. Although the
plaintiff did not re-plead all of the relevant factual
allegations from the original complaint, he explains that
Tritt was the “supervisor” during the one-month
period that the plaintiff was in the Restrictive Housing Unit
(“RHU”). Id. at 1. Tritt made
“periodic rounds” on RHU, and the plaintiff says
that Tritt was the person who initially gave the order to put
the plaintiff in “control status.” Id.
plaintiff indicates that he was temporarily insane, suffering
from paranoid delusions and living in an “alternate
reality.” Id. at 2. He says that he suffers
from numerous mental health diagnoses that make it hard for
him to function from day to day. Id. The plaintiff
alleges that while he was in the RHU, he was not given
linens, clothes or things to keep him warm, despite the fact
that it was winter/early spring and very cold. Id.
Nor was he given things to wash with, or hygiene items.
Id. He says he had no mattress to sleep on, and was
not given toilet paper “until after about a
month.” Id. He says that on several occasions,
he had to eat food after wiping his backside with his bare
plaintiff replaced the nineteen specific defendants he had
named in his original complaint with “John and Jane
Does.” Id. He states “during this time
period so many WCI employees were deliberately
indifferent.” Id. He says he continually
sought relief and help, making numerous requests for the
items he had not been given. Id. at 2-3. He says
that “[a]ll knew about it, facilitated it, condoned it,
approved it, or turned a blind eye.” Id. at 3.
The plaintiff provides no other information about who the
“John and Jane Does” are or what they did or did
not do to violate his constitutional rights. With regard to
Tritt, the plaintiff says that it is “almost impossible
that [Tritt] ...