United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
MICHAEL S. HOSKINS, Plaintiff,
WAUKESHA COUNTY JAIL ADMINISTRATION, et al., Defendant.
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge
Michael Hoskins, who is currently serving a state prison
sentence at Waupun Correctional Institution and representing
himself, filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that his civil rights were violated while he was in
custody at the Waukesha County Jail. This matter comes before
the court on Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed
without prepaying the full filing fee.
to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing Fee
is required to pay the $400.00 filing fee for this action,
which includes the $350.00 statutory filing fee and a $50.00
administrative fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
If a prisoner does not have the money to pay the filing fee,
he can request leave to proceed without prepayment of the
full filing fee. In that case, the prisoner plaintiff
proceeding in forma pauperis is required to pay the
full amount of the $350.00 statutory filing fee, not the
$50.00 administrative fee. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(1). Plaintiff has filed a certified copy of his
prison trust account statement for the six-month period
immediately preceding the filing of his complaint, as
required under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2), and has been
assessed and paid an initial partial filing fee of $3.76.
Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepaying
the filing fee will be granted.
of the Complaint
court is required 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 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. 28 U.S.C. §
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); Hutchinson ex
rel. Baker v. Spink, 126 F.3d 895, 900 (7th Cir. 1997).
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). The
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter “that
is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The court accepts
the factual allegations as true and liberally construes them
in the plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729
F.3d 645, 651 (7th Cir. 2013). Nevertheless, the
complaint's allegations “must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation omitted).
of the Complaint
alleges that John Doe Correctional Officer and the health
department at the Waukesha County Jail used unnecessary force
while stripping him out of his clothes on January 23, 2018.
While he was having a seizure and trying to catch his breath
that night, the jail's nurse allegedly threw cold water
on him. After the seizure, Plaintiff allegedly noticed
bruising on his arm and bleeding between his legs due to his
clothes, including his underwear, being ripped off. John Doe
Correctional Officer had allegedly used three fingers to
perform a rectal search on Plaintiff. The officer also
allegedly played a video of the search for other officers,
who Plaintiff could see laughing at him. The injuries that
Plaintiff sustained while he was being stripped and searched
allegedly required that he be sent to the hospital the
following day. ECF No. 1 at 2. Shocking as these allegations
are, the court must treat them as true for purposes of
screening the complaint.
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. Cty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824,
827 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Kramer v. Vill. of N. Fond du
Lac, 384 F.3d 856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)). A strip-search
occurring in a jail or prison can constitute cruel and
unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. King v.
McCarty, 781 F.3d 889, 897 (7th Cir. 2015) (per curiam).
“A prisoner states a claim under the Eighth Amendment
when he plausibly alleges that the strip-search in question
was motivated by a desire to harass or humiliate rather than
by a legitimate justification, such as the need for order and
security in prisons.” Id. (first citing
Calhoun v. DeTella, 319, F.3d 936, 939 (7th Cir.
2003); then citing Meriwether v. Faulkner, 821 F.2d
408, 418 (7th Cir. 1987)). “Even where prison
authorities are able to identify a valid correctional
justification for the search, it may still violate the Eighth
Amendment if ‘conducted in a harassing manner intended
to humiliate and cause psychological pain.'”
Id. (quoting Mays v. Springborn, 575 F.3d
643, 649 (7th Cir. 2009)).
appears from the allegations of the complaint that Plaintiff
may have a claim. Plaintiff alleges not only that John Doe
Correctional Officer conducted a strip-search in a wanton and
cruel manner that caused severe injuries forcing Plaintiff to
obtain treatment at the hospital, but also that the officer
then showed a video of the search to his colleagues for the
apparent purpose of entertaining them at Plaintiff's
expense. If true, the strip-search was conducted in such a
way as to violate Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment right
against cruel and unusual punishment or, if it occurred
before conviction, his fourteenth Amenmdnet right to due
process. But it is not enough to state facts sufficient to
give rise to a claim; the complaint must also say who is
responsible for the alleged violation of constitutional
rights. The complaint must name and give notice to a proper
complaint fails to state a claim for relief against any
defendant formally named in the caption. Specifically, the
complaint names four defendants: the Waukesha County Jail
Administration, Wollenhaupt, the Waukesha County Health
Services Manager, and Lt. Shallow. ECF No. 1 at 1. Yet the
allegations in the body of the complaint fail to associate
allegedly wrongful conduct with any of these four named
defendants. All four defendants named in the caption are
therefore entitled to dismissal because the complaint fails
to state a claim against them; it fails to provide them
notice of what they are alleged to have done that violated
Plaintiff's constitutional rights.
body of the complaint, Plaintiff also refers to a John Doe,
apparently because he does not know the officer's name.
It is possible that Lt. Shallow, named in the caption, is in
fact John Doe Correctional Officer, against whom Plaintiff
has stated a claim. If that is the case, then Plaintiff
should file an amended complaint making that association
clear. More likely, Plaintiff simply doesn't know who
allegedly assaulted him. If so, this is not grounds to
dismiss his case at this stage. The Seventh Circuit has made
clear that district courts may not simply dismiss such a
complaint for that reason alone without assisting the
plaintiff in conducting the investigation needed to determine
the alleged wrongdoers. Billman v. Ind. Dep't of
Corr., 56 F.3d 785, 790 (7th Cir. 1995) (“We think
it is the duty of the ...