United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
WILLIAM J. MENTING, Plaintiff,
BRIAN R. SCHMIDT, Defendant.
Stadtmueller, U.S. District Judge.
William J. Menting (“Menting”), a prisoner,
brought this action against defendant Brian R. Schmidt
(“Schmidt”), alleging that he was deliberately
indifferent to Menting's serious medical conditions, in
violation of the Eighth Amendment. Specifically, Menting
alleged that beginning around mid-2013, while he was
incarcerated at Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution,
Schmidt denied Menting a wheelchair (the “wheelchair
claim”) and prevented Menting's meals from being
delivered to him in his cell (the “meal-delivery
claim”). (Docket #1 at 4-6 and #1-6). Menting alleged
that both of these things were done in contravention of a
physician's order. Id.
filed a motion for partial summary judgment as to
Menting's meal-delivery claim on the ground that Menting
did not properly exhaust his administrative remedies as to
that claim. (Docket #23). The Court granted that motion and
dismissed Menting's meal-delivery claim from this
lawsuit. (Docket #43). The Court then set a new dispositive
motion deadline for Menting's remaining wheelchair claim.
Id. at 5.
pending before the Court is Schmidt's motion for summary
judgment as to Menting's wheelchair claim. (Docket #44).
Menting did not file a response to Schmidt's motion for
summary judgment, and his time to do so has long since
passed. The Court could summarily grant Schmidt's motion
in light of Menting's non-opposition. Civ. L. R. 7(d).
However, as explained below, Schmidt also presents a valid
basis for dismissing Menting's claim on its merits. For
that reason, Schmidt's motion must be
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). In assessing the parties'
proposed facts, the Court must not weigh the evidence or
determine witness credibility; the Seventh Circuit instructs
that “we leave those tasks to factfinders.”
Berry v. Chicago Transit Auth., 618 F.3d 688, 691
(7th Cir. 2010).
Menting's Failure to Dispute Schmidt's Proposed
relevant facts are undisputed because Menting failed to
dispute them. In the Court's scheduling order, entered
February 3, 2017, Menting was warned about the requirements
for opposing a motion for summary judgment. (Docket #18 at
2-3). Accompanying that order were copies of Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 56 and Civil Local Rule 56, both of which
describe in detail the form and contents of a proper summary
judgment submission. In Schmidt's motion for summary
judgment, he too warned Menting about the requirements for
his response as set forth in Federal and Local Rules 56.
(Docket #44). Plaintiff was provided with additional copies
of those Rules along with Defendant's motion.
Id. at 3-12. In connection with his motion, Schmidt
filed a supporting statement of material facts that complied
with the applicable procedural rules. (Docket #46). It
contained short, numbered paragraphs concisely stating those
facts which Schmidt proposed to be beyond dispute, with
supporting citations to the attached evidentiary materials.
response, Menting filed absolutely nothing-no brief in
opposition, much less a response to the statement of
facts. Despite being twice warned of the
strictures of summary judgment procedure, Menting ignored
those rules by failing to properly dispute Schmidt's
proffered facts with citations to relevant, admissible
evidence. Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir.
2003). Though the Court is required to liberally construe a
pro se plaintiff's filings, it cannot act as his
lawyer, and it cannot delve through the record to find
favorable evidence for him. Thus, the Court will, unless
otherwise stated, deem Schmidt's proposed facts
undisputed for purposes of deciding his motion for summary
judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Civ. L. R.
56(b)(4); Hill v. Thalacker, 210 Fed.Appx. 513, 515
(7th Cir. 2006) (noting that district courts have discretion
to enforce procedural rules against pro se
lost part of his left leg as a result of a motorcycle
accident in 2010, prior to his incarceration at Kettle
Moraine Correctional Institution
(“KMCI”). As a result, he has a stump left leg and a
prosthesis that he uses to walk. Upon his arrival at KMCI in
May 2014, Menting was assessed by the prison's Health
Services Unit (“HSU”) medical staff. He was given
medical restrictions for a low bunk, first floor
accommodations, and light activity, but he was not deemed to
require a wheelchair. Inmates at KMCI are allowed to have a
wheelchair only if HSU has approved such use based on a
determination that it is medically necessary.
the course of his stay at KMCI, from May 2014 to July 2015,
Menting was seen and treated by medical staff for various
issues related to his stump leg. In October 2014, a doctor at
the prison entered an order allowing Menting to have either
crutches or a walker, but not a wheelchair. In the
doctor's medical opinion, it was not appropriate for
Menting to use a wheelchair because immobility inhibits
circulation, and either crutches or a walker were better