United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE.
lawsuit, plaintiff Mafayette Fields alleges that prison
officials improperly treated his foot problems by choosing
ineffective treatment and by rejecting a doctor's
prescribed accommodation for “soft top” shoes.
Fields's claims concern his treatment by defendant Dr.
Syed and the Special Needs Committee at the Columbia
Correctional Institution (CCI). In particular, he alleges
that the Department of Corrections maintains a Special Needs
Committee policy allowing non-medical personnel to thwart the
treatment recommendations of doctors. This order address
Motion to amend complaint
was transferred to the Oshkosh Correctional Institution (OCI)
during the pendency of this case. He has filed a motion for
leave to amend his complaint, Dkt. 48, along with a proposed
amended complaint, Dkt. 49, in which he seeks to raise claims
about his treatment at OCI similar to those involving his
time at CCI. He alleges that proposed new defendant Dr.
Tannan forced him to use boots that he complained did not
help with his pain, and that Tannan did not send him to see a
specialist. He also alleges that defendants Betty Katzur,
Nancy Bowens, Terry Murphy, and Jean Patenaude served on the
Special Needs Committee at OCI that denied him a lower bunk
even though it was prescribed by Tannan. As with his CCI
claims, I conclude that Fields states potential Eighth
Amendment claims against Tannan for failing to provide him
with adequate treatment, and against the Special Needs
Committee defendants for ignoring the doctor's suggested
treatment. He is already bringing official-capacity claims
against high-level DOC officials about the Special Needs
Committee's policy allowing non-medical personnel to
thwart the treatment recommendations of doctors, and his new
allegations support those claims as well.
state opposes Fields's proposed amendment, stating that
Fields could not have exhausted his OCI claims before filing
his original complaint in this lawsuit. But this argument is
undeveloped and does not address two possible exceptions to
the exhaustion doctrine: the OCI claims might be considered
part of continuing constitutional violations, see Turley
v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 650 (7th Cir. 2013)
(“prisoners need not file multiple, successive
grievances raising the same issue . . . if the objectionable
condition is continuing”), and the court of appeals has
suggested that there is an exception for claims that are
discovered after the filing of the original complaint,
see Barnes v. Briley, 420 F.3d 673, 678 (7th Cir.
2005) (allowing a plaintiff to proceed on an amended
complaint where plaintiff exhausted remedies after filing
suit on new claims whose factual predicate was discovered
after the original complaint was filed); Cannon v.
Washington, 418 F.3d 714, 719-720 (7th Cir. 2005)
(concluding that an inmate may amend his complaint to include
claims that were not exhausted at the time that the original
complaint was filed but that are exhausted by the time that
an amended complaint is filed) (per curiam). So I will allow
Fields to amend his complaint to include his OCI claims.
Defendants are free to raise a detailed exhaustion argument
in a supplement to their previously filed motion for summary
judgment. I will set a new dispositive motions
also appears to be attempting to bring claims against the
prison officials who shared his medical information with
non-medical Special Needs Committee members. But I have
previously concluded that these types of allegations do not
support a viable claim under federal law, so I will not grant
Fields leave to proceed on this set of claims. See,
e.g., Tyler v. Wick, No. 14-cv-68-jdp, 2015 WL
1486506, at *7 (W.D. Wis. Mar. 31, 2015) (In his complaint,
plaintiff cites the Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act . . . but he cannot bring such a claim
because HIPAA does not create a private cause of action or an
enforceable right for purposes of a federal lawsuit.”).
has filed a motion for preliminary injunctive relief, Dkt.
20, seeking an order directing the state to arrange for an
examination by a podiatrist and a prescription for more
preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary and drastic
remedy” that should be granted only when the movant
carries the burden of persuasion by a “clear
showing.” Boucher v. Sch. Bd. of the Sch. Dist. of
Greenfield, 134 F.3d 821, 823 (7th Cir. 1998) (quoting
Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997)). To
obtain injunctive relief, Fields must show that (1) he will
suffer irreparable harm before the final resolution of his
claim without a preliminary injunction; (2) traditional legal
remedies are inadequate; and (3) his claims has some
likelihood of success on the merits. BBL, Inc. v. City of
Angola, 809 F.3d 317, 323-24 (7th Cir. 2015). If Fields
makes this showing, he must further demonstrate that the
balance of harms tips in his favor and that the public
interest favors the injunctive relief. Id.
Prison Litigation Reform Act limits the scope of preliminary
injunctive relief in cases challenging prison conditions.
Under the PLRA, the injunctive relief to remedy prison
conditions must be “narrowly drawn, extend no further
than necessary to correct the harm the court finds requires
preliminary relief, and be the least intrusive means
necessary to correct that harm.” 18 U.S.C. §
3626(a)(2); see also Westefer v. Neal, 682 F.3d 679,
681 (7th Cir. 2012). The PLRA also requires the court to
“give substantial weight to any adverse impact on
public safety or the operation of a criminal justice system
caused by the preliminary relief.” Section 3626.
deny Fields's motion because he fails to show a
likelihood of success on his claims about his current place
of incarceration. His proposed findings of fact focus on
events that occurred while he was incarcerated at CCI. In
particular, he provides a declaration from another inmate
stating that defendant Nurse DeYoung told him that she would
never approve any footwear request made to the Special Needs
Committee. This is evidence supporting Fields's claim
against DeYoung, but there is no evidence suggesting that she
is involved in any medical or Special Needs Committee
decisions at OCI, where Fields is currently incarcerated. The
materials provided by defendants show that Fields continues
to be seen for treatment by defendant Tannan and others when
he submits health service requests. And Fields does not
present any evidence showing deliberate indifference on the
part of the Special Needs Committee at OCI. So I will not
take the relatively drastic step of intervening in his
current medical treatment.
current schedule does not leave the parties with enough time
to supplement their summary judgment motions with materials
regarding Fields's new OCI claims. In addition,
defendants have filed a motion to stay the schedule. Dkt. ...