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Howard v. Schrubbe

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

March 19, 2018

JOSHUA HOWARD, Plaintiff,
v.
BELINDA SCHRUBBE, TODD CALLISTER, AND JOHN O'DONOVAN, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT. NO. 55)

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The plaintiff, Joshua Howard, is a Wisconsin state prisoner. On June 10, 2016, Judge Rudolph T. Randa screened his second amended complaint under 28 U.S.C. §1915A, and allowed the plaintiff to proceed against the defendants on Eighth Amendment medical care claims related to ongoing errors in the dispensation of prescription medication at Waupun Correctional Institution (Waupun). Dkt. No. 38 at 1. Later, the case was reassigned to this court. This order addresses the defendants' motion for summary judgment.[1] Dkt. No. 55.

         As explained below, the court will deny the defendants' summary judgment motion to the extent that they argue that the statute of limitations bars the plaintiff's claims against defendants Todd Callister and John O'Donovan, as well as portions of the plaintiff's claim against defendant Belinda Schrubbe. The court also will deny the defendants' motion as to the rest of the plaintiff's claim against defendant Schrubbe. Finally, the court will set a new dispositve motion deadline by which either party may file a dispositive motion as to the merits of the plaintiff's claims.

         A. PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS

         The plaintiff sued three defendants: John O'Donovan, former security captain at Waupun; Todd Callister, psychiatrist at Waupun; and Belinda Schrubbe, former manager of Waupun's Health Services Unit. Dkt. No. 39 at 1; Dkt. No. 57 at ¶2-4. He alleges that corrections staff dispenses medications at Waupun, instead of professional health staff. Dkt. No. 39 at 2. He states that due to inconsistent and contradictory medication refill procedures, medication errors commonly occur at Waupun. Id. The plaintiff alleges that since 2004, he has been prescribed medication to treat depression, anxiety and insomnia; that he has experienced over eighty interruptions in the availability of his medication; and that he has filed over fifty inmate complaints. Id. at 2-3. He says that the “continuous and abrupt unavailability of [his] medication has caused him many problems in addition to the migraine headaches and severe nausea he experiences each time his medication is not tapered off.” Id. at 3.

         The plaintiff alleges that defendant O'Donovan twice found him guilty and punished him for conduct that was a direct result of being abruptly cut off from his medication. Id. at 5. Specifically, on December 20, 2017, O'Donovan allegedly found the plaintiff guilty of a conduct report based on disobeying orders and violating policy and procedure. Id. at 5; Dkt. No. 57 at ¶8. On January 17, 2018, O'Donovan also allegedly found the plaintiff guilty of a conduct report based on disobeying orders, despite the lapse in his sleeping medications. Dkt. No. 39 at 5; Dkt. No. 57 at ¶8.

         With respect to defendant Callister, the plaintiff alleges that when he complained about the interruptions in his medication, Callister did not intercede so that the plaintiff could start taking the medication again without interruption. Dkt. No. 39 at 3, 5. This allegedly occurred between September 2006 and March 2008, see dkt. no 57 at ¶8, and may have also occurred in 2012, see dkt. no. 80 at ¶¶44, 46.

         The plaintiff alleges that defendant Schrubbe failed to take remedial action to fix his problems with not receiving timely medication, beginning in 2004. Dkt. No. 39 at 4-5; Dkt. No. 57 at ¶8. The plaintiff states that Schrubbe maintained a constitutionally-infirm medication distribution system, leading to the plaintiff's injuries, including migraine headaches, severe nausea and disruptions in sleeping patterns. Dkt. No. 39 at 4-5, Dkt. No. 57 at ¶8. He alleges that Schrubbe directly supervised the nursing staff and was responsible for monitoring the distribution and refilling of medication, and that the institution complaint examiner contacted her every time the plaintiff filed a complaint about his medication. Dkt. No. 39 at 4.

         B. DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         1. Standard of Review

         “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 also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986); Ames v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 629 F.3d 665, 668 (7th Cir. 2011). “Material facts” are those under the applicable substantive law that “might affect the outcome of the suit.” See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A dispute over “material fact” is “genuine” if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.

         A party asserting that a fact cannot be, or is, genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:

(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce ...

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