United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
ROBERT J. WARD, Plaintiff,
SCOTT WALKER, JON LITSCHER, JAMES GREER, DAVID BURNETT, KEVIN KALLAS, DAI ADMINISTRATOR, G. BOUGHTON, KARTMEN, L. BROWN, MR. RUBEN-ASH, MS. WATERMEN, UNNAMED JOHN AND JANE DOES, CCI WARDEN DITMEN, CCI SECURITY DIRECTOR, CCI PSU DIRECTOR, CCI PSU STAFF, PSYCHIATRIST N.P. KIRSH and WSPF PSU STAFF, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
BARBARA B. CRABB DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff Robert Ward has filed a proposed civil complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, in which he contends that the
policies and practices of the Wisconsin Department of
Corrections fail to provide adequate mental health treatment
for seriously mentally ill inmates and instead, result in
exacerbation of mental illnesses, suicidal ideation and
self-harm impulses. He has named as defendants several state
officials who he contends are responsible for the flawed
policies and practices. Because plaintiff is incarcerated,
his complaint must be screened under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
However, plaintiff has not yet made an initial partial
payment of the filing fee as calculated by the clerk of
court, and his complaint will not be screened until he has
done so. Dkt. #10. That being said, plaintiff has filed two
motions requesting emergency injunctive relief. Dkt. ##2, 8.
In light of plaintiff's serious allegations, I will
address those motions without further delay.
first motion for injunctive relief, dkt. #2, plaintiff seeks
a court order requiring that he be transferred to a mental
health facility so that he may receive adequate mental health
care before his anticipated release from custody on November
20, 2018. He also asks that prison officials be prohibited
from placing him in solitary confinement for more than 15
days at a time for the duration of this lawsuit. He filed a
declaration in support of his motion, stating that the
conditions in administrative confinement are unseasonably
harsh and exacerbate his mental health problems. He says that
without this relief, he will likely end up killing himself.
I am sympathetic to plaintiff's arguments, I will deny
this motion without prejudice at this time. First,
plaintiff's motion does not comply with this court's
procedures for obtaining preliminary injunctive relief, a
copy of which will be provided to plaintiff with this order.
Under these procedures, a plaintiff must file and serve
proposed findings of fact that support his claims, along with
any evidence that supports those proposed findings. Plaintiff
has neither submitted proposed findings of fact nor cited any
evidence to support those findings.
even if plaintiff's motion were not flawed on its face, I
would have to deny it on the merits at this time. Preliminary
injunctive relief such as that requested by plaintiff is
rarely granted. To prevail on a motion for a preliminary
injunction, plaintiff must show: (1) a likelihood of success
on the merits of his case; (2) a lack of an adequate remedy
at law; and (3) an irreparable harm that will result if the
injunction is not granted. Lambert v. Buss, 498 F.3d
446, 451 (7th Cir. 2007). In this instance, plaintiff
contends that defendants are violating his Eighth Amendment
rights by failing to provide him adequate treatment for his
mental health needs. However, although plaintiff alleges his
conditions of confinement have worsened his mental health,
his declaration alone does not establish a likelihood of
success on the merits of his claim. As plaintiff is no doubt
aware, policies and decisions regarding mental health care
and security for inmates involve complicated issues. The
appropriate care and placement will necessarily depend on the
particular needs of the individual prisoner. However,
plaintiff is not a mental health expert and is not
“entitled to dictate the terms of his care, ”
Harper v. Santos, 847 F.3d 923, 927 (7th Cir. 2017),
including choosing the facility or unit in which he should be
confined. Although he may disagree with the mental health
care he has been receiving, a “mere disagreement”
is not enough to support a claim under the Constitution.
Id. at 926-27. As this case progresses, plaintiff
may be able to submit evidence showing that defendants'
policies and practices have denied him necessary care or have
subjected him to unconstitutional conditions of confinement
but at this stage, he has not submitted such evidence.
Therefore, his request for preliminary injunctive relief will
be denied. However, in light of plaintiff's allegations
that he is at imminent risk of self-harm, I will direct the
Wisconsin Attorney General's Office to promptly alert
Department of Corrections officials so that they can take
whatever action they deem appropriate to insure
plaintiff's second motion for injunctive relief, dkt. #8,
plaintiff says he received a punishment of 30 days' room
confinement that has prevented him from going to the law
library. He seeks an order requiring the prison to allow him
to use the law library. This motion will be denied because
plaintiff has not explained why he needs to go to the library
in the next 30 days in relation to this lawsuit.
Plaintiff's only pending deadline is the deadline for
paying his filing fee, and I can think of no reason why
plaintiff needs to go to the law library to do that. In
short, plaintiff has not shown that he will suffer
irreparable harm without an injunction.
Plaintiff Robert Jay Ward's motions for emergency
injunctive relief, dkt. ##2, 8, are DENIED.
Wisconsin Attorney General's Office is DIRECTED to
promptly advise Department of Corrections officials that
plaintiff believes he is at imminent risk of self-harm or
suicide so that these officials can take ...