United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DECISION AND ORDER
ADELMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
David Czapiewski, who is representing himself, filed this
lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. I allowed him to proceed
on claims that: (1) defendants Zachary Pingel, Brian
Bantleon, Richard Zimkiewicz, and Theodore Stern were
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in
violation of the Eighth Amendment when they failed to help
him after he expressed thoughts of self-harm; (2) Pingel
issued plaintiff a conduct report in violation of the First
Amendment; and (3) Pingel failed to place plaintiff in
observation status in violation of the Equal Protection
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Before me now are the
parties' cross-motions for summary judgment.
relevant time, plaintiff was an inmate housed at the
Wisconsin Resource Center (WRC), and defendants were employed
at WRC. Pingel was a psychiatric care technician (PCT),
Zimkiewicz was a psychiatric care supervisor, Stern was a
captain, and Bantleon was the security director.
November 12, 2015, plaintiff, who is 6'5” and about
290 pounds, approached the desk were Pingel and two other
PCTs were stationed. According to plaintiff, he said,
“I am having thoughts of harming myself and staff and
want to be removed from the unit and placed on
‘Observations Status.'” Docket No. 84 at
¶ 4; Docket No. 58 at ¶ 1. Plaintiff explains that,
on a number of occasions while incarcerated, he has expressed
thoughts of self-harm and has been placed in observations
the PCTs, who is not a defendant, reported to Zimkiewicz that
plaintiff had stood over the staff desk and made threats
about wanting to hurt them because of an incident involving a
television set. Staff reported to Zimkiewicz that
plaintiff's behavior and comments were intimidating and
talked to plaintiff to figure out what was going on. During
the conversation, plaintiff was adamant that he was not
actually going to hurt himself; he had only thought about it,
like a memory. Plaintiff insisted that he could think about
whatever he wanted and that thoughts are not crimes.
Zimkiewicz agreed that thoughts are not crimes and asked
plaintiff to confirm that he did not have an intent to hurt
himself. Plaintiff confirmed he was not going to hurt
himself. He then started talking about his television.
According to Zimkiewicz, plaintiff's behavior escalated
when he asked him about his threats to staff. He does not
explain what he means by “escalated, ” and
plaintiff denies that his behavior escalated.
this conversation, Zimkiewicz decided to place plaintiff in
temporary lock-up (TLU) pending an investigation into
plaintiff's statements and demeanor and pending a conduct
report he intended to issue plaintiff for threatening staff.
Zimkiewicz explains that he did what he thought was best in
order to ensure the safety of the inmates and staff and to
prevent plaintiff's behavior from escalating later in the
was escorted to TLU, which is a non-punitive status. Inmates
believed to have committed a major rule violation are
generally placed in TLU pending an investigation. Zimkiewicz
spoke to plaintiff before and throughout plaintiff's
movement to TLU, and plaintiff expressed no interest in
observation status and repeatedly stated that he did not have
any intent to harm himself.
was upset about being moved to TLU because he did not think
his comments were threatening to either himself or to staff;
he insisted that he had only thought about it. Zimkiewicz
told plaintiff that telling staff about his ideas of hurting
them while towering over their desk because he could not get
his television set was perceived by the staff as threating.
He informed plaintiff he was going to TLU pending a conduct
report for making threats. Plaintiff was issued a notice of
placement in TLU, which allowed plaintiff the opportunity to
write a statement. In his statement, plaintiff admitted that
he told staff he was having thoughts of harming PCTs.
Bantleon reviewed and approved plaintiff's TLU placement
pending review by the treatment team of plaintiff's
staff perform welfare checks on the inmates every fifteen
minutes, just as they would for an inmate on clinical
observation. Defendants explain that placing plaintiff in TLU
allowed them to adequately monitor his behavior, safety, and
well-being, to provide a safer working environment for staff,
and to temporarily limit plaintiff's access to property
that he might have used to harm himself or others. Plaintiff
insists that placing him in TLU without allowing him to talk
to the on-call crisis psychological staff exacerbated his
mental health crisis.
asserts that because of his mental health crisis, he
attempted suicide by jumping head-first off of his sink. He
states that he was knocked unconscious for several minutes
and that he continues to experience back pain and migraines.
Defendants point out that there is no documentation
indicating that plaintiff engaged in self-harming behaviors
while he was in TLU. PCT notes indicate that plaintiff acted
appropriately, made his needs known, took his medication, and
slept most of the shift. Plaintiff points to a health
services request that he wrote nearly a year and a half
later, on April 12, 2017, wherein he complained about
headaches he was suffering as a result of diving off of his
sink on November 12, 2015.
was returned to the general population the next day, on
November 13, 2015. Pingel, at the direction of Zimkiewicz,
issued plaintiff a disciplinary conduct report for threats
based on his comments to staff that he was thinking of
approved the conduct report on November 13, 2015, and Stern
approved the conduct report on November 16, 2015. Stern
designated the report as a major rule violation and
determined that it should be proceed to full due process
hearing. A full due process hearing was held on November 23,
2015. The hearing officer (who is not ...