United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge
Donovan Walker-Hall (“Walker-Hall”), a prisoner
who is representing himself, brought this action alleging
that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his
serious medical condition, in violation of the Eighth
Amendment. Specifically, Walker-Hall alleges that beginning
in August 2016, while he was incarcerated at Waupun
Correctional Institution (“WCI”), defendants Dr.
Salem Syed (“Dr. Syed”) and Emily Stadtmueller
(“Stadtmueller”) withheld his pain medication as
a way to coerce him to take medication for his sickle cell
anemia, despite Walker-Hall's stated concerns about the
stroke risk associated with that medication. Walker-Hall also
alleges that defendant Ann York (“York”), RN Gela
(“Gela”), and Jane Doe failed to address his
complaints of pain after he informed them that the treatment
they were offering him was ineffective. Finally, Walker-Hall
alleges that Dr. John Doe failed to treat his pain when
Walker-Hall was hospitalized at Waupun Memorial
March 9, 2018, the defendants filed a motion for partial
summary judgment as to Walker-Hall's claims against
Stadtmueller and York on the ground that Walker-Hall did not
properly exhaust his administrative remedies as to those
claims. (Docket #20). That motion is now fully briefed.
(Docket #20-#23 and #25-31). For the reasons explained below,
it will be granted.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides the mechanism for seeking
summary judgment. Rule 56 states that 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 Boss v. Castro, 816 F.3d 910, 916 (7th
Cir. 2016). A “genuine” dispute of material fact
is created when “the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). The Court construes all facts and reasonable
inferences in a light most favorable to the non-movant.
Bridge v. New Holland Logansport, Inc., 815 F.3d
356, 360 (7th Cir. 2016).
Court begins here with a primer on the law related to the
requirement that a prisoner exhaust available administrative
remedies before filing suit in federal court. This will place
in proper context the facts relevant to the pending motion.
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) establishes
that, prior to filing a lawsuit complaining about prison
conditions, a prisoner must exhaust “such
administrative remedies as are available[.]” 42 U.S.C.
§ 1997e(a). To do so, the prisoner must “file
complaints and appeals in the place, and at the time, the
prison's administrative rules require, ” and he
must do so precisely in accordance with those rules;
substantial compliance does not satisfy the PLRA. Pozo v.
McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1025 (7th Cir. 2002);
Burrell v. Powers, 431 F.3d 282, 284-85 (7th Cir.
2005). A suit must be dismissed if it was filed before
exhaustion was complete, even if exhaustion is achieved
before judgment is entered. Perez v. Wis. Dep't of
Corr., 182 F.3d 532, 535 (7th Cir. 1999). Several
important policy goals animate the exhaustion requirement,
including restricting frivolous claims, giving prison
officials the opportunity to address situations internally,
giving the parties the opportunity to develop the factual
record, and reducing the scope of litigation. Smith v.
Zachary, 255 F.3d 446, 450-51 (7th Cir. 2001). Failure
to exhaust administrative remedies is an affirmative defense
to be proven by Defendants. Westefer v. Snyder, 422
F.3d 570, 577 (7th Cir. 2005).
Wisconsin Department of Corrections maintains an Inmate
Complaint Review System (“ICRS”) to provide a
forum for administrative complaints. Wis. Admin. Code §
DOC 310.04. There are two steps an inmate must take to
exhaust their administrative remedies under the ICRS.
the inmate must file an offender complaint with the
Institution Complaint Examiner (“ICE”) within
fourteen days of the events giving rise to the complaint.
Id. §§ DOC 310.07(1), 310.09(6). The ICE
may reject a complaint or, before accepting it, can direct
the inmate to “attempt to resolve the issue.”
See Id. §§ DOC 310.08, 310.09(4),
310.11(5). If the complaint is rejected, the inmate may
appeal the rejection to the appropriate reviewing authority.
Id. § DOC 310.11(6). If the complaint is not
rejected, the ICE issues a recommendation for disposing of
the complaint, either dismissal or affirmance, to the
reviewing authority. Id. §§ DOC 310.07(2),
310.11. The reviewing authority may accept or reject the
ICE's recommendation. Id. § DOC 310.07(3).
if the ICE recommends dismissal and the reviewing authority
accepts it, the inmate may appeal the decision to the
Corrections Complaint Examiner (“CCE”).
Id. §§ DOC 310.07(6), 310.13. The CCE
issues a recommendation to the Secretary of the Department of
Corrections who may accept or reject it. Id.
§§ DOC 310.07(7), 310.13, 310.14. Upon receiving
the Secretary's decision, or after forty-five days from
the date the Secretary received the recommendation, the
inmate's administrative remedies are exhausted.
Id. §§ DOC 310.07(7), 310.14.
times relevant, Walker-Hall was an inmate at housed at WCI.
Stadtmueller and York were nurses at WCI. Stadtmueller
informed Walker-Hall by memorandum dated August 24, 2016 that
he would not be given narcotic pain medication if he refused
to take medication for his sickle cell anemia. (Docket #22-2
at 10). Walker-Hall alleges that York then refused to give