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Rozak v. Randt

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

April 20, 2018

RYAN K. ROZAK, Plaintiff,

          OPINION & ORDER


         Plaintiff Ryan K. Rozak, a prisoner at the Fox Lake Correctional Institution, alleges that prison officials violated his First Amendment rights by retaliating against him for filing lawsuits and grievances. In an October 25, 2017 order, I dismissed several of Rozak's claims for his failure to exhaust his administrative remedies. See Dkt. 32. At the same time, I allowed Rozak to amend his complaint with new retaliation claims against defendants Jeremy Bailey and Carla Gernetzke. Id. Now defendants have filed a motion for partial summary judgment on the remaining claims: they contend that Rozak failed to exhaust his supplemental claims, and that he cannot succeed on one of his retaliation claims against defendant Scott Randt because Randt's alleged retaliatory action was not significant enough to deter someone from exercising First Amendment rights. Rozak has filed his own motion for summary judgment and other motions on preliminary matters. I will deny Rozak's motions, partially grant defendants' motion for summary judgment, and set a schedule for resolution of the remaining claims at trial.


         A. Rozak's motions

         Rozak has filed a motion or an extension of time, Dkt. 37, but he does not explain what the purpose of his motion is. Because the only deadline facing him was the dispositive motions deadline, I will assume that that is the deadline for which he seeks an extension. But he followed the motion for extension with a summary judgment motion, Dkt. 40, and he also filed materials opposing defendants' new motion for summary judgment, Dkt. 46. So I will deny his motion for an extension as moot.

         Rozak does not submit proposed findings of fact in support of his summary judgment motion. Instead, he states that he “[would] like to draw [the court's] attention to the highlighted areas referencing the defendants' admission to guilt, ” Dkt. 40, at 1. He attaches and highlights portions of defendants' answer and exhaustion-related briefs, in which defendants admit that Rozak filed various grievances, and they reiterate what Rozak alleges defendants did to harm them. See Dkt. 40-1-3. But defendants' reiteration of Rozak's allegations is not proof that they are admitting those allegations to be true, so Rozak cannot use them as evidence that his version of the facts is correct. I will deny the portion of his motion in which he seeks summary judgment on the substance of his claims based on this evidence.

         As for the portions in which Rozak refers to defendants' admissions that he filed various grievances, I will consider that evidence alongside the evidence raised by defendants in their motion, discussed below.

         Rozak has also filed a document titled “Motion of Discovery, ” Dkt. 38, but Rozak does not detail any information that he has sought that defendants have failed to give him. Rather, he states that he seeks an order under various state and federal discovery statutes or rules. I will deny the motion as being far too vague to present a request for relief that this court can grant. As has already been explained to him at the preliminary pretrial conference, see Dkt. 18, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure govern the discovery process in this case, and he will have to make discovery requests under those rules before he can ask the court to intervene in discovery disputes. I will attach to this order another copy of the preliminary pretrial conference order.

         Rozak also asks the court for copies of the documents that he has filed with the court. He states that he had copies of those documents but that prison staff lost them. He also says that he does not have funds to pay for new copies himself. I will direct the clerk of court to send him copies of those documents.

         B. Defendants' motion for summary judgment

         I dismissed some of Rozak's claims in my previous exhaustion order, and I allowed Rozak to add other claims. See Dkt. 32. Currently, the following claims are alive in this case, and all of them are claims that defendants retaliated against Rozak for filing lawsuits and grievances:

• Defendant Randt refused to hire Rozak for a “PCW job, and he would not allow Rozak to take two pieces of fruit out of the dining hall.
• Defendant Gernetzke harassed him and treated him differently from other inmates. Among other things, she forced him to go into his room while the floor was wet, pointed her flashlight at him, and interrupted him during meal time.
• Defendant Bailey harassed him about one of his previous lawsuits in this court, no. 15-cv-134-jdp, about the FLCI water being contaminated with lead and copper. Bailey pounded and kicked on his cell door and “made embarrassing statements” about him and his lawsuit while other inmates were around.

         In defendants' second motion for summary judgment, they seek to dismiss the claims against Gernetzke and Bailey on exhaustion grounds, and they contend that one of Rozak's allegations against ...

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