United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff Robert Earl Alexander is an inmate at the Dodge
Correctional Institution (DCI) who has been diagnosed with
throat cancer. He is proceeding on Eighth Amendment
deliberate indifference claims against defendants Nathan
Tapio (his previous primary care provider) and Roman Kaplan
(his current primary care provider), whom he alleges have
failed to treat his cancer and given him insufficient pain
medication. A July 6, 2018 hearing is scheduled on his
motions for preliminary injunctive relief regarding his pain
medication dosage, Dkt. 22 and Dkt. 36.
25, I indicated that I would attempt to recruit counsel to
represent Alexander and ordered defendants to consider
whether Alexander is capable of making rational decisions for
his own well-being, in light of Alexander's recent
refusal of treatment. Dkt. 65. Defendants have since informed
me that psychological staff have evaluated Alexander and
found him competent to make medical decisions. Dkt. 70.
Meanwhile, Alexander has submitted several documents, many of
which lack a signature. See Dkt. 66; Dkt. 67; Dkt.
71; Dkt. 73. The clerk of court returned the unsigned
documents to Alexander with a request that he return them
with his signature, as required by Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 11(a), but he has not done so. See Dkt. 68
and Dkt. 72. I will address these filings now, but I warn
Alexander that in the future, he must sign all correspondence
that he submits to the court.
the past, large portions of Alexander's filings discuss
information that appears irrelevant to this case and does not
require a response. But I will address the seven requests
that I can discern from the filings.
Alexander complains that a guard was in the room during his
psychological evaluation. Courts defer to prison
officials' expertise regarding security, and Alexander
has given me no reason for me to doubt the accuracy of the
evaluation, so I will not take further action concerning
Alexander's competency at this time.
Alexander indicates that he was unable to mail several
documents to the court because more postage was due.
See Dkt. 71, at 4-5. He also accuses WCI officials
of “stealing” his mail, although he does not
offer any further explanation of this issue. Dkt. 66, at 2.
He complains that his right of access to the court is being
infringed. But as I have explained several times, DCI
participates in this court's electronic filing program,
so Alexander doesn't need any postage to submit documents
to the court. He should work with the DCI librarian to file
his submissions electronically.
Alexander asks me to issue subpoenas to “two
correctional officers.” Dkt. 66, at 1. And in a
subsequent filing, he names 47 individuals that he wants to
subpoena. See Dkt. 73, at 4. If Alexander wants
certain individuals to testify, he may file a request for a
subpoena form by following the instructions outlined in the
court's procedure for calling witnesses to trial, as I
previously explained. See Dkt. 64, at 2. The court
will not grant a request for a subpoena form unless the
request is accompanied by Alexander's affidavit stating
that the witness refuses to testify voluntarily and that
Alexander is prepared to pay the required witness fee.
Alexander has not submitted such an affidavit, so his
requests for subpoena forms are denied.
Alexander asks me to “order Dr. Kaplan to my next
appointment” and to order defendants to allow him
“to see another Dr. for a second opinion.” Dkt.
67, at 3. These requests appear linked to Alexander's
concern about potentially being terminally ill. See
Dkt. 65, at 1. As I explained in the May 25 order, I have
allowed Alexander to proceed on claims that he has not been
receiving adequate medical treatment, not that he has
received a certain diagnosis. I cannot order defendants to
give Alexander a certain diagnosis. And at this point,
there's no basis for me to order them to take specific
actions, such as attending an appointment or obtaining a
second opinion. So I will deny these requests.
Alexander asks me to “order Dr. Kaplan to schedule this
important follow-up consultation/appointment” with
Ticiana Leal, a doctor with the University of Wisconsin
cancer center. Dkt. 73, at 2. I gather that Alexander met
with Dr. Leal on April 11 but did not choose a course of
treatment (attempting to cure his cancer or simply making him
comfortable) at that time. The records indicate that Dr. Leal
intended to schedule another appointment to allow Alexander
the opportunity to make a decision. See Dkt. 64-1,
at 14. It appears that Alexander next met with Dr. Leal on
May 1, at which point he refused treatment. See Id.
at 5. So it appears that Alexander received the follow-up
appointment that he was due, and there is no need for me to
order defendants to schedule another appointment now.
However, the parties should be prepared to update me on the
status of Alexander's treatment at the July 6 hearing.
Alexander asks me to “order” his siblings
“to be on a phone or present” during the July 6
hearing. Dkt. 73, at 2. There is no need for an order
allowing this; the courthouse is open to the public.
Alexander's siblings may attend the hearing if they want
Alexander indicates that DCI officials recently confiscated
all of his medical records. He states that he “cannot
possible prove [his] case without these” records.
Id. at 3. This raises a potential
access-to-the-courts issue, so I will instruct defendants to
look into the matter and submit a letter to the court
explaining when Alexander has access to his medical records
pertaining to this case.
1. Plaintiff's requests for subpoena forms, Dkt. 66 and