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Ames v. Kenosha County Correctional Health Services

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

June 13, 2018

JOHNNIE AMES, Plaintiff,
v.
KENOSHA COUNTY CORRECTIONAL HEALTH SERVICES, and CORRECTIONAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT HSU, Defendants.

          DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF THE FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 2) AND DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT ON OR BEFORE JULY 27, 2018

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The plaintiff, Johnnie Ames, was an inmate at the Kenosha County Detention Center when he filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. §1983, dkt. no. 1, along with a motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee, dkt. no. 2. He since has been released.

         I. Motion for Leave to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing Fee (Dkt. No. 2)

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) applies to this case because the plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed his complaint. 28 U.S.C. §1915. The PLRA provides that a court may allow an incarcerated plaintiff to proceed with his lawsuit without prepaying the case filing fee, as long as he meets certain conditions. One of those conditions is that the plaintiff must pay an initial partial filing fee. 28 U.S.C. §1915(b).

         On March 30, 2017, the court ordered the plaintiff to pay an initial partial filing fee of $11.50. Dkt. No. 5. The court received the fee on May 5, 2017. Accordingly, the court will grant the plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee. The court will require the plaintiff to pay the remainder of the filing fee over time as set forth at the end of this decision.

         II. Screening the Plaintiff's Complaint

         A. Standard for Screening Complaints

         The law requires the court 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 if the plaintiff raises 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).

         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). It is not necessary for the plaintiff to plead specific facts, and his statement need only “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). A complaint that offers mere “labels and conclusions, ” howeer, or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). To state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, “that is plausible on its face.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). 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).

         To state a claim that his civil rights were violated 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)); see also Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). The court is obliged to give the plaintiff's pro se allegations, “however inartfully pleaded, ” a liberal construction. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         B. Facts Alleged in the Complaint

         The plaintiff alleges that on November 4, 2016, he was taken into custody. Dkt. No. 1 at 2. While in custody, he was seen by the Kenosha County Detention Center medical staff, who asked the plaintiff about his medical needs and what pharmacy he used. Id. The plaintiff provided that information to the nurse practitioner. On November 9, 2016, the plaintiff asked the nursing staff how he would receive his medications. Id.

         On November 14, 2016, the plaintiff submitted a medical request asking to receive his medication for his blood pressure, neuropathy, aneurysms, and high cholesterol. Id. The next day, the plaintiff submitted another medical request because he was having problems going to the bathroom. Id. at 2-3. Three days after that, the plaintiff submitted a medical request asking to see the doctor about getting his medications. Id. at 3.

         The plaintiff describes an interaction with a nurse during sick call on November 21, 2016. Id. When the plaintiff asked the nurse for her name, she replied, “Nurse.” Id. She had her name tag on backward. Id. The nurse practitioner ...


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