United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
CHARLES L. NORWOOD, a/k/a CHELSY NORWOOD, Plaintiff,
DR. KALLAS and GENDER COMMITTEE, Defendants.
WILLIAM C. GRIESBACH, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT
plaintiff, who is currently serving a state prison sentence
at Waupun Correctional Institution, filed a complaint under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. On July 10, 2018, the court dismissed
Plaintiff's original complaint, finding that it violated
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. The court granted
Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint that addressed
the deficiencies noted by the court in its screening order.
This matter is now before the court for consideration of
Plaintiff's amended complaint.
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court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the
prisoner has raised claims that are legally “frivolous
or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b). A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an
arguable basis either in law or in fact. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992); Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Hutchinson ex
rel. Baker v. Spink, 126 F.3d 895, 900 (7th Cir. 1997).
state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading
system, the plaintiff is required to provide a “short
and plain statement of the claim showing that [the plaintiff]
is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter “that
is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The court accepts
the factual allegations as true and liberally construes them
in the plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729
F.3d 645, 651 (7th Cir. 2013). Nevertheless, the
complaint's allegations “must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation omitted).
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times relevant, Plaintiff was housed at the Milwaukee Secure
Detention Facility. Plaintiff is a transgender female who has
been diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Plaintiff was detained
at Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility on December 11, 2017.
At that time, Plaintiff requested to remain on hormone
medication therapy. Plaintiff submitted requests to the
health services unit (HSU) and the psychological services
unit (PSU) on December 16, 2017, requesting to remain on
hormone medication therapy. Plaintiff never received a
response from the Gender Committee, made of up Dr. Kallas and
three other John Doe members, regarding the requests.
Plaintiff filed a grievance on December 26, 2017, complaining
that the Gender Committee did not respond to the requests.
Plaintiff also submitted new requests to HSU and PSU, stating
that Plaintiff was entitled to an examination by a specialist
to review treatment and that the Gender Committee was being
unreasonable in delaying evaluations. Plaintiff contends the
Gender Committee ignored the requests and did nothing to
treat Plaintiff's condition. The Gender Committee
ultimately responded to the requests on January 13, 2018,
stating that it would not make a determination about hormones
until after Plaintiff's revocation hearing. After
receiving this determination, Plaintiff submitted a PSU
request on January 13, 2018, stating that a revocation
hearing cannot be the basis to withhold treatment. Plaintiff
alleges the Gender Committee did not respond to this request.
requested an evaluation on February 17, 2018. Six weeks
later, the defendants allowed Dr. Synthia Osbourne, a
transgender specialist to reassess and reevaluate Plaintiff
on April 2, 2018. Dr. Osbourne recommended Plaintiff's
hormone treatment be reinstated. Plaintiff filed a third
grievance on April 13, 2018 about the delay in receiving
treatment. On May 10, 2018, the defendants approved
Plaintiff's hormone treatment. The following week,
Plaintiff submitted a PSU to the defendants, again
complaining about the delay in receiving hormone treatment.
Plaintiff claims the defendants did nothing to prompt a
timely appointment for Plaintiff. Plaintiff submitted another
request to the defendants on May 29, 2018, asking why the
follow-up was taking so long. The defendants did not respond
to Plaintiff's request or take any other action.
Plaintiff claims the defendants failed to manage
Plaintiff's request and recommendations properly. As a
result, Plaintiff suffered mental and physical anguish.
asserts the defendants were deliberately indifferent to
Plaintiff's medical needs in violation of the Eighth
Amendment. The Eighth Amendment prohibits “cruel and
unusual punishments” and imposes a duty on prison
officials to take reasonable measures to guarantee an
inmate's safety and to ensure that the plaintiff receives
adequate medical care. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 832 (1994). A prison official's “deliberate
indifference” to a prisoner's medical needs or to a
substantial risk of serious harm to an inmate violates the
Eighth Amendment. Id. at 828; see also Estelle
v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103 (1976). To state a
deliberate indifference claim, an inmate must establish
“(1) an objectively serious medical condition; and (2)
an official's deliberate indifference to that
condition.” Gomez v. Randle, 680 F.3d 859, 865
(7th Cir. 2012) (internal citations omitted).
constitutes a sufficiently “serious medical
condition” under the first prong is “far from
self-defining.” Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d
1364, 1373 (7th Cir. 1997). “It is clear that the
Supreme Court contemplated that medical conditions far less
critical than ‘life-threatening' would be
encompassed by the term.” Id. Seventh Circuit
cases demonstrate a broad range of medical conditions that
“may be sufficient to meet the objective prong of a
deliberate indifference claim.” King v.
Kramer, 680 F.3d 1013, 1018 (7th Cir. 2012). Second, the
official must have acted out of “deliberate
indifference” to the inmate's health or safety.
Id. Deliberate indifference requires more than
negligence; it requires that the official know of, yet
disregard, an excessive risk to the inmate's health or
safety. Id. at 835, 837. Thus, subjective knowledge
of the risk is required. Id. at 838.
alleges that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to
Plaintiff's gender dysphoria. The Seventh Circuit has
held that gender dysphoria is a serious medical need. See
Fields v. Smith, 653 F.3d 550, 556 (7th Cir. 2011).
Plaintiff contends the defendants delayed hormone therapy
treatment and continued to ignore Plaintiff's requests.
Plaintiff claims to have suffered physically and mentally
from the delay in treatment. At this stage in the
proceedings, the court concludes Plaintiff has stated a
deliberate indifference claim against the defendants. See
Mitchell v. Kallas, No. 16-3350, ___ F.3d ___, 2018 WL
3359113 (7th Cir. July 10, 2018); McGowan v. Hulick,
612 F.3d 636, 640 (7th Cir. 2010) (noting that claim of
delayed care may violate the Eighth Amendment if it causes
the inmate's condition to worsen or unnecessarily
prolongs pain). The court therefore finds that Plaintiff may
proceed on a deliberate indifference claim against Dr. Kallas
and the other John Doe members of the Gender Committee.
Plaintiff should use discovery to identify the Doe
defendants. Plaintiff may seek assistance from the court if
Plaintiff is unable to discover their names. See
Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821
(7th Cir. 2009). Within 120 days of the date of this order,
Plaintiff should file a motion requesting to substitute the
proper names of the Doe defendants.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the United States Marshal
shall serve a copy of the amended complaint and this order
upon the defendants pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 4. The plaintiff is advised that Congress requires
the U.S. Marshals Service to charge for making or attempting
such service. 28 U.S.C. § 1921(a). The current fee for
waiver-of-service packages is $8.00 per item mailed. The full
fee schedule is provided at 28 C.F.R. §§
0.114(a)(2)-(3). Although Congress requires the court to
order service by the U.S. Marshals Service precisely because
in forma pauperis plaintiffs are indigent, it has
not made any provision for these fees to be waived either by
the court or by the U.S. Marshals Service.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the defendants shall file a