United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ROBERT E. ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
ELIZABETH SCHROEDER, et al., Defendants.
DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT
WILLIAM C. GRIESBACH, CHIEF JUDGE
Robert Anderson, an inmate currently serving a state prison
sentence at Stanley Correctional Institution and representing
himself, filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
alleging violations of his civil rights while he was
incarcerated at Waupun Correctional Institution (WCI).
Anderson alleges that the defendants were deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical need for treatment of pain
arising out of a shoulder injury, and the majority of his
allegations focus on the defendants' actions during two
32-day periods between August and September 2016 and November
and December 2016. He also raises a state law medical
malpractice claim against Defendant Dr. Salam Syed. This
matter comes before the court on two motions for summary
judgment, one by Defendant Elizabeth Schroeder (ECF No. 93)
the other by Defendants Dr. Ryan Holzmacher, Emily
Stadtmueller, Crystal Marchant, Donna Larson, and Dr. Syed
(collectively, the “State Defendants”) (ECF No.
For the reasons set forth below, both motions will be
Schroeder and the State Defendants submitted proposed
findings of fact in support of their motions for summary
judgment, as required by Civil Local Rule 56(b)(1)(C). ECF
Nos. 95, 103. Although Anderson has submitted a declaration
and a statement disputing several of the State
Defendants' proposed findings of fact (ECF Nos. 116,
118), he has not disputed the vast majority of the State
Defendants' proposed findings, and he has not submitted
any response at all to Schroeder's proposed findings.
Because Anderson received proper notice and warnings from
both Schroeder and the State Defendants regarding the
consequences of failing to respond to their proposed findings
of fact, the court will treat as undisputed the portions of
the statements to which Anderson did not respond. Civil L.R.
56(a)(1)(A), (b)(4) (E.D. Wis.); see also Waldridge v.
Am. Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 922 (7th Cir. 1994)
(“We have . . . repeatedly upheld the strict
enforcement of [local] rules, sustaining the entry of summary
judgment when the non-movant has failed to submit a factual
statement in the form called for by the pertinent rule and
thereby conceded the movant's version of the
suffers from degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) in
his left shoulder, and this cases arises out of his efforts
to obtain treatment for associated pain while incarcerated at
WCI. State Defs.' Proposed Findings of Fact (DPFOF)
¶ 1, 12, ECF No. 103. His chronic pain is caused by
inflammation of the shoulder joint. Id. ¶ 15.
Between 2014 and 2017, Anderson had several appointments with
Dr. Thomas Grossman at Waupun Memorial Hospital regarding his
left shoulder. DPFOF ¶¶ 18-45. Dr. Grossman's
care for Anderson included a left-shoulder surgery in July
2014 during which he attempted to repair a torn rotator cuff,
a second surgery attempting to repair the rotator cuff in
August 2015, and a third surgery primarily to remove an
extruding screw in July 2016. Id. ¶¶
18-19, 21, 36 (citing ECF No. 104-1 at 6-7, 17-19, 22). By
the third surgery, Dr. Grossman made clear to Anderson that
his rotator cuff likely could not be repaired. Id.
¶ 35 (citing ECF No. 104-1 at 8-9). After both the
second and third surgeries, Dr. Grossman recommended that
Anderson take 2 Vicodin every 4 hours to manage his pain.
Id. ¶ 22, 37 (citing ECF No. 104-1 at 7-9, 18).
a follow-up appointment in September 2016 regarding the third
surgery, Dr. Grossman recommended that Anderson receive
“better analgesia, ” which he noted was the
responsibility of WCI. Id. ¶ 42 (citing ECF No.
104-1 at 4-5). To that end, Dr. Grossman recommended a
lidocaine patch or, if that proved ineffective, a
corticosteroid injection. Id. ¶ 42. Dr.
Grossman declares that he does not recall discussing specific
treatments with Anderson, including treatment with narcotic
pain medication, during the September 2016 appointment, and
he notes that current guidelines recommend against the use of
narcotic pain medication to treat chronic pain like
Anderson's. Id. ¶ 43 (citing ECF No. 104
claims focus on the treatment he received at WCI during two
32-day periods in the months after his surgery: the first
between August and September 2016, and the second between
November and December 2016. With regard to the first 32-day
period of alleged lack of treatment, Anderson contends that
Defendant Elizabeth Schroeder prescribed him a topical gel
for his shoulder pain but she and Defendants Emily
Stadtmueller and Crystal Marchant were deliberately
indifferent as a result of a long delay in providing him with
the gel. As for the second 32-day period, he contends that
Defendant Dr. Salam Syed was deliberately indifferent by
failing to continue his prescription for Tramadol, only to
briefly reinstate the prescription several weeks later.
Anderson further alleges that Defendant Donna Larson was
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs when
she examined him in February 2017. Finally, Anderson alleges
that Defendant Dr. Ryan Holzmacher was deliberately
indifferent in his administrative oversight capacity within
the Department of Corrections (DOC). Additional undisputed
factual material will be discussed with regard to each of
these defendants in greater detail as part of the analysis
judgment is appropriate when the moving party shows that
there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). All reasonable inferences are construed
in favor of the nonmoving party. Foley v. City of
Lafayette, 359 F.3d 925, 928 (7th Cir. 2004). The party
opposing the motion for summary judgment must “submit
evidentiary materials that set forth specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Siegel v.
Shell Oil Co., 612 F.3d 932, 937 (7th Cir. 2010) (quoted
source and internal quotation marks omitted). “The
nonmoving party must do more than simply show that there is
some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.”
Id. Summary judgment is properly entered against a
party “who fails to make a showing sufficient to
establish the existence of an element essential to the
party's case, and on which that party will bear the
burden of proof at trial.” Parent v. Home Depot
U.S.A., Inc., 694 F.3d 919, 922 (7th Cir. 2012)
(internal quotation mark omitted) (quoting Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986)).
plaintiff may prevail on a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 by showing that he was (1) deprived of a federal
right (2) by a person acting under color of state law.
Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980).
“The Supreme Court has interpreted the Eighth
Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment,
incorporated through the Fourteenth Amendment, as imposing a
duty on states to provide medical care to incarcerated
individuals, ” and prison officials violate that duty
if they are deliberately indifferent to a prisoner's
serious medical needs. Williams v. Liefer, 491 F.3d
710, 714 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble,
429 U.S. 97, 103 (1976)). “A prison official may be
liable for deliberate indifference only if he ‘knows of
and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or
safety.'” Chatham v. Davis, 839 F.3d 679,
684 (2016) (quoting Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
837 (1994)). To succeed on a deliberate indifference claim, a
prisoner must therefore prove that he “suffered from
‘(1) an objectively serious medical condition to which
(2) a state official was deliberately, that is subjectively,
indifferent.'” Id. (quoting Duckworth
v. Ahmad, 532 F.3d 675, 679 (7th Cir. 2008)).
an inmate alleging deliberate indifference must “show
that the defendants actually knew of a substantial risk of
harm to the inmate and acted or failed to act in disregard of
that risk.” Walker v. Benjamin, 293 F.3d 1030,
1037 (7th Cir. 2002). This means that a prison official
“must both be aware of facts from which the inference
could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm
exists, and he must also draw that inference.”
Gevas v. McLaughlin, 798 F.3d 475, 480 (7th Cir.
2015) (quoting Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837). “Mere
medical malpractice or a disagreement with a doctor's
medical judgment is not deliberate indifference.”
Edwards v. Snyder, 478 F.3d 827, 831 (7th Cir. 2007)
(citing Estelle, 429 U.S. at 107); see also
Petties v. Carter, 836 F.3d 722, 731 (7th Cir. 2016).
Although “a plaintiff's receipt of some medical
care does not automatically defeat a claim of deliberate
indifference, ” a plaintiff succeeds in proving the
second prong only if the prison official's conduct was
“‘so blatantly inappropriate as to evidence
intentional mistreatment likely to seriously aggravate' a
medical condition.” Edwards, 478 F.3d at 831
(quoting Snipes v. DeTella, 95 F.3d 586, 592 (7th
Cir. 1996)). Even assuming that Anderson's pain
constituted a serious medical condition, none of the
defendants possessed the subjective state of mind necessary
to be liable for deliberate indifference.