United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
NICHOLAS A. JONES, Plaintiff,
BETH EDGE and JOANNE GOVIER, Defendants.
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE
Nicholas A. Jones is an inmate confined at the Wisconsin
Secure Program Facility (WSPF). He brings Eighth Amendment
deliberate indifference and Wisconsin-law medical malpractice
claims against defendant Beth Edge for mistreating his
allergic reaction to protein powder, and deliberate
indifference and First Amendment retaliation claims against
defendant Joanne Govier for ignoring his complaints of
have filed a motion for summary judgment on these claims.
After considering the parties' briefing on the motion and
their disputes of fact over the events in question, I
conclude that a reasonable jury could conclude that Edge
acted with deliberate indifference or negligence when she
initially refused to treat Jones's allergic reaction, and
that Govier acted with deliberate indifference when she
ignored Jones's complaints of psychological distress.
However, I conclude that no reasonable jury could conclude
that Edge deliberately prescribed Jones a lotion containing a
known allergen or that Govier retaliated against Jones for
exercising protected speech. Therefore, I will grant
defendants' motion in part.
following facts are undisputed except where noted.
14, 2016, plaintiff Jones was an inmate at WSPF. That
morning, he suffered an allergic reaction, likely caused by a
protein powder he ingested. Jones sought treatment for his
allergic reaction at the prison's Health Services Unit
(HSU). The parties' versions of Jones's initial visit
to the HSU differ substantially.
Edge says that Jones, walking normally, presented to the HSU
with a rash that was limited to his arms and neck. She says
that before she could perform a medical assessment on Jones,
he became belligerent toward her and refused treatment
because he was concerned that he would be charged a
copayment. She says that asked Jones to leave the HS U.She
says that although she did not get the chance to perform an
assessment on Jones, she observed during their argument that
he had no shortness of breath, and when he left the HSU he
was walking normally.
says that he arrived at the HSU in a wheelchair, with his
face covered in a rash, difficulty breathing, and suffering
from severe pain and blurred vision. Although he agrees he
discussed a copayment with Edge, he says that he told her he
was experiencing a medical emergency and therefore
shouldn't be required to make a copayment. He denies
parties agree that after Edge asked Jones to leave, he
returned to his housing unit. Jones says that when he
returned to his cell he began vomiting and eventually
requested an EpiPen. This prompted the unit staff to contact
the HSU, and Jones was soon returned to the HSU for
treatment. During this second visit, Jones's allergic
reaction was properly diagnosed, and he was prescribed
Benadryl and Dermarest, a lotion containing hydrocortisone,
evening, Jones applied the hydrocortisone lotion to his skin.
Shortly thereafter, he began to experience symptoms of
another allergic reaction. He was taken to the emergency
room. The next morning, he visited the HSU and a nurse
practitioner attributed his second allergic reaction to the
days later, Jones was working on a grievance against Edge
when defendant Govier confiscated the grievance. She issued
Jones a conduct report for unauthorized transfer of materials
to another inmate, and he was disciplined with five days of
weeks later, on September 20, 2016, Govier refused to let
Jones out his cell when he requested to visit the
dayroom. He says that she told him that he could
not exit his cell because he had not scheduled time in the
dayroom and because he was arguing with her. He says that he
grew increasingly agitated and eventually requested to speak
with the Psychological Services Unit. He says he began having
troubling thoughts of self-harm, but that Govier told him
that he was just seeking attention and that if he was really
contemplating self-harm he would have already hurt himself.
He says that she then began to ignore his calls on the
emergency intercom and that he did not receive help until
roughly 30 minutes later, from a different prison official,
after Govier's shift had ended.
succeed on a motion for summary judgment, the moving party
must show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and
that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322 (1986). “A genuine issue of material fact
arises only if sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving
party exists to permit a jury to return a verdict for that
party.” Brummett v. Sinclair Broad. Grp.,
Inc., 414 F.3d 686, 692 (7th Cir. 2005). When
considering a motion for summary judgment, a court must view
all reasonable inferences from the facts in a light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Baron v. City of
Highland Park, 195 F.3d 333, 338 (7th Cir. 1999). If the
nonmoving party fails to establish the existence of an
essential element on which the party will bear the burden of
proof at trial, summary judgment for the moving party is
proper. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322.