United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
TOMAS D. CUESTA, SR., Plaintiff,
JAMIE BARKER and NICOLE TREVINO, Defendants.
DECISION AND ORDER
ADELMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
D. Cuesta, Sr., a state prisoner representing himself, brings
this action alleging that Jamie Barker and Nicole Trevino
violated his constitutional rights by denying him medical
care and acting with deliberate indifference to his medical
needs. Defendants move for summary judgment.
times relevant to this case, plaintiff was an inmate at
Stanley Correctional Institution (SCI). (Compl. ¶ 17;
Dft. PFoF ¶ 1.) Barker was the Health Services Manager
and Trevino was a Nurse Clinician II at SCI. (Dft. PFoF
¶¶ 2, 4.)
to being transferred to SCI, plaintiff was housed at Green
Bay Correctional Institution. (Compl. ¶ 14.) While
there, at some point, he suffered a back injury resulting in
a week in the infirmary, a "Tylenol #3"
prescription, and a low-bunk restriction. Id.
plaintiff arrived at SCI in 2012, his low-bunk restriction
was terminated. (Compl. ¶ 15.) After he complained, the
Health Service Unit (HSU) called him to be seen by a doctor.
Id. While being seen by the doctor, plaintiff asked
to see a specialist and also told the doctor that he could
not "climb up and down [the] bunk bed without
experiencing 'substantial difficult and
discomfort.'" Id. The doctor recommended
ice and ibuprofen and prescribed plaintiff a renewable
low-bunk restriction. Id. Plaintiff was required to
annually request the low-bunk restriction from his care
provider. His requests were approved in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
(Dft. PFoF ¶ 7.)
point, plaintiff obtained a job with the maintenance staff,
but he irritated his back injury while shoveling snow, which
was one of his job duties. (Compl. ¶ 16.) While a nurse
in the HSU was examining him, plaintiff requested to see a
back therapist. Id. The nurse prescribed plaintiff
ibuprofen, ice, and low back exercises. Id.
November 2015, Barker became the Health Services Manager, and
that December he established a Special Needs Committee in
accordance with Bureau of Health Services policy. (Dft. PFoF
¶ 8.) This committee-comprised of HSU personnel,
security staff, and non-security staff-is responsible for
making determinations on inmate requests for special
accommodations after reviewing the inmates' medical
history. (Dft. PFoF ¶ 9.)
October 2016, plaintiff submitted his annual request for a
low-bunk restriction. (Dft. PFoF ¶ 10.) He, at some
point later, was "sick" because of back pain, and
Trevino treated him. (Compl. ¶ 17.) Trevino prescribed
plaintiff medication and authorized a one-month extension of
the low-bunk restriction, until the Special Needs Committee
could meet to review plaintiff's request. (Compl. ¶
17; Dft. PFoF ¶ 10.) Trevino was not a member of the
committee. (Dft. PFoF ¶ 12.) When the committee met, it
reviewed plaintiff's medical file, determined that he did
not meet the criteria for a low-bunk restriction, and denied
his request. (Compl. ¶ 18; Dft. PFoF ¶ 11.)
the denial, plaintiff asked Barker to schedule an appointment
with a non-Department of Corrections (non-DOC) back
specialist. (Compl. ¶ 18; Dft. PFoF ¶ 13.)
According to Division of Adult Institutions (DAI) policy, if
the requested non-DOC medical provider exam is not ordered by
a DOC medical provider, the prisoner who wishes to be
examined by a non-DOC medical provider must bear all related
expenses including the security staff escort, transportation,
treatment, and other associated costs. (Compl. ¶ 18;
Dft. PFoF ¶ 14.) After reviewing plaintiffs file and not
seeing a request by a DOC medical provider for a non-DOC
provider exam, Barker informed plaintiff by memo of the
policy and the steps plaintiff would need to take to complete
his request. (Dft. PFoF ¶¶ 15-17.)
submitted an inmate complaint asserting Barker failed to
provide him with a non-DOC medical provider exam. (Dft. PFoF
¶ 18.) The complaint was dismissed based on the finding
that plaintiff was not denied the ability to see an outside
provider but was told how to complete his request. (Dft. PFoF
judgment shall be granted "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). "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 a
"material fact" is "genuine" if "the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party." Id.
claims arise under the Eighth Amendment, which
"safeguards the prisoner against a lack of medical care
that 'may result in pain and suffering which no one
suggests would serve any penological purpose.'"
Arnett v. Webster,658 F.3d 742, 750 (7th Cir. 2011)
(quoting Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Srv., 577
F.3d 816, 828 (7th Cir. 2009)). If prison officials are
"deliberately indifferent to prisoners' serious
medical needs, " they violate the Constitution.
Id. (citing Estelle v. Gamble,429 U.S. 97,
105 (1976)). A plaintiff asserting an Eighth Amendment claim
based on deficient medical care must show (1) an objectively
serious medical condition and (2) an official's
deliberate indifference to that condition. Id.