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Kupsky v. McLaren

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

May 14, 2018

TERESA MCLAREN, et al., Defendants.


          William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge

         Plaintiff Ronald Kupsky, who is currently serving a state prison sentence at Waupun Correctional Institution (WCI) and is representing himself, filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his civil rights were violated when several members of the Psychological Services Unit of the WCI refused to provide him mental health treatment and thereby caused him to harm himself. On March 27, 2018, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee and then screened his initial complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). ECF No. 9. At that time, I found that complaint failed to set forth facts plausibly stating a claim with sufficient notice to the defendants of what it is they were alleged to have done that amounted to a violation of his constitutional rights. I therefore ordered the complaint dismissed but granted leave for Plaintiff to amend if he could cure the defects noted in the order. On April 5, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion to amend his complaint. ECF No. 11. Because I have already given Plaintiff leave to amend, the motion is granted. I will now screen Plaintiff's amended complaint.

         Screening of the Complaint

         The 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).

         To 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).

         Allegations of the Complaint

         In his amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that “[t]he defendants (McClaren, De Blanc, Van Buren, Schmidt) failed to provide me with mental health treatment resulting in multiple self-harm issues, and an off-site service at the local hospital ER after a ‘suicide attempt.'” ECF No. 11-1 at 2. Plaintiff further alleges that on October 3, 2016, he “spoke to a psychological service unit clinical contact” and told them he “had mental health issues, and did not think [he] would be able to keep from self-harm under my current placement status.” Id. Plaintiff states he was told he would have to talk to his “main clinical contact, ” Dr. Teresa McClaren, about placement. Plaintiff alleges that he spoke with Dr. McClaren on October 26, 2016, and she told him that she would not provide him any treatment and that he would have to figure things out on his own. Id.

         According to Psychological Services Clinical Contact report Dr. McClaren completed, a copy of which is attached to the amended complaint, Plaintiff is a 29 year-old male serving his first adult incarceration who on intake denied any history of mental health treatment in the community and was not taking any psychotropic medicine. There was no mental health diagnosis in his file. Upon arrival at WCI from the reception center at Dodge Correctional Institution, Plaintiff quickly wrote several Psychological Services Requests (PSRs) stating “he cannot tolerate other people and will not move to GP [General Population] when his DS [Disciplinary Separation] time is over.” ECF No. 11-2. Plaintiff told Dr. McClaren that his adjustment to WCI was poor because he hates living with people. He stated he had no intention of living and eating with people for the next eighteen years. He denied any fear or anxiety associated with being around others, but instead expressed overt hostility towards anyone who tries to talk to him or expresses too much interest in him. Id. Dr. McClaren listed a provisional diagnosis of “other specified personality disorder, with schizoid personality features.” She noted the Plaintiff “appears to present with symptoms characteristic of a personality disorder which cause clinically significant impairment in functioning, ” but because he did not seem to meet all of the criteria for a diagnosis of Schizoid Personality Disorder, the provisional diagnosis appeared prudent. Id.

         In any event, Plaintiff alleges that he then complained to Dr. Schmidt, Dr. McClaren's supervisor, that he was not getting treatment and asked that he be assigned a new doctor, but Dr. Schmidt refused. Plaintiff filed a complaint with the Inmate Complaint Examiner (ICE) for WCI but in the meantime, Dr. McClaren left WCI and Dr. De Blanc was assigned as his new PSU worker.

         Plaintiff alleges that he met with Dr. De Blanc in 2017 and she also told him she would not provide treatment. After that meeting, Plaintiff alleges that he was able to “do self harm to the point I was bleeding, ” which resulted in Dr. De Blanc being removed as his main PSU staff and his placement in Observation status. ECF No. 11-1 at 3. While on Observation, Plaintiff alleges he met with Dr. Torria Van Buren and requested a treatment plan, but she also refused.

         According to Dr. Van Buren's April 17, 2017 “Placement / Review of Offender Mental Health Observation” report, which is also attached to the amended complaint, Plaintiff was placed in observation status after he submitted a PSR which stated, “If blood is what you want then blood is what I'll give you.” The report notes that Plaintiff had submitted several PSRs reporting suicidal ideation and urges to harm himself over the course of the past week and had multiple crisis contacts.

         He had been warned that if he continued to report thoughts of self-harm, he would be placed in observation status in order to insure his safety. When Dr. Van Buren went to his observation cell to evaluate him, Plaintiff called her a “fucking leech” and “fucking useless.” He asked when he would be released from observation status, but when Dr. Van Buren reminded him of their conversations the previous week where she warned him he would be placed in observation if he continued to threaten harm to himself, he had no further questions. Dr. Van Buren noted no symptoms of severe mental illness or psychosis:

Mr Kupsky was oriented x4. He maintained good eye contact, and he was well groomed. His thinking was logical, and there was no evidence of thought disorder. Mr. Kupsky did not appear to be attending to internal stimuli during the contact. Additionally, there were no apparent attention or concentration ...

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