United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
LEIGHTON D. LINDSEY, Plaintiff,
DR. MARY SAUVEY, JEAN LUTSEY, and J. LABELLE, Defendants.
DECISION AND ORDER
ADELMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Leighton D. Lindsey, a Wisconsin state prisoner who is
representing himself, filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Plaintiff was allowed to proceed on an Eighth
Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Dr. Mary
Sauvey, Jean Lutsey, and J. LaBelle based on his allegations
that the discontinuation of his medications resulted in
increased pain and discomfort. Before me now is
defendants' motion for summary judgment. Because no
reasonable jury could find that the defendants acted with
deliberate indifference towards the plaintiff and his medical
needs, I will grant the defendants' motion and dismiss
the case. As for plaintiff's other motions, I will deny
his motion to compel and motion for order to view his files
and deny as moot his motions for extensions of time. His
motion to amend/correct his declaration is granted.
was an inmate at Green Bay Correctional Institution
(“GCBI”) at all times relevant to this case.
Docket No. 56 at ¶ 1. Defendant Dr. Mary Sauvey worked
at GBCI as a physician, Id. at ¶ 2, and Jean
Lutsey was the Health Services Manager at GBCI, Id.
at ¶ 3. James LaBelle was the Regional Nursing
Coordinator for the Bureau of Health Services and also served
as the reviewing authority for inmate complaints related to
healthcare for all Wisconsin Department of Corrections
prisons, including GBCI. Id. at ¶ 4.
Plaintiff's Medical Care
20, 2015, plaintiff became “irate” when the guard
passing out medication gave him the wrong medication. Docket
No. 1 at ¶ 18. He told the guard he needed to write an
incident report, and the guard responded that plaintiff does
not boss him around. Id. Plaintiff then threw his
medication on the floor. Id.; Docket No. 56 at
¶ 5. The guard told plaintiff he would call Health
Services and have them discontinue his medication. Docket No.
1 at ¶ 19. On July 21, 2015, a member of either the
nursing or security staff informed Dr. Sauvey that plaintiff
was misusing his medication. Docket No. 56 at ¶ 6.
Misuse of medication, which includes throwing medications on
the ground (or refusing to take them), was a proper ground to
consider discontinuation of medication if medically
appropriate. Id. at ¶ 7. Dr. Sauvey
discontinued plaintiff's Vitamin D, Reguloid, Mintox, and
Tylenol until further notice, effective July 21, 2015.
Id. at ¶ 8. They were all over-the-counter
medications. Id. at ¶ 22.
Sauvey prescribed plaintiff Vitamin D even though his levels
were average for an adult African American male because
plaintiff was regularly in the Restrictive Housing Unit.
Id. at ¶¶ 9-11. From a medical standpoint,
plaintiff did not need the Vitamin D. Id. at ¶
11. As for the rest of the medications Dr. Sauvey
discontinued, plaintiff took Reguloid for constipation;
Mintox for occasional heartburn; and Tylenol for general
aches and pains. Id. at ¶ 12. The parties
dispute with what regularity plaintiff took these
medications. Docket No. 77 at ¶ 13. Both Tylenol and
Mintox were available to plaintiff at the Canteen. Docket No.
56 at ¶ 17. If he wanted to keep taking them, he could
have ordered them with his own funds. Id. at ¶
18. The only difference between ordering these medications
and being prescribed them is who pays for them. Id.
at ¶ 19.
Dr. Sauvey decided to discontinue the medication “until
further notice, ” she intended and planned to monitor
his medical needs for the medications (as well as his
compliance with medications). Id. at ¶ 20.
Plaintiff was seen an average of every eight days, for a
variety complaints, in 2015 through 2016. Id. at
¶ 29. If a medical condition arose that, in her opinion,
required a medication-even if it was one she previously
discontinued-Dr. Sauvey would have been open to restarting
it. Id. at ¶ 21. She restarted plaintiff's
Reguloid/Miralaz on August 17, 2015 after he complained of
mild constipation . Id. at ¶ 23. When Dr.
Sauvey saw plaintiff on August 28, 2015, she noted that his
knee pain was stable. Id. at ¶ 26. By the time
she saw plaintiff on September 25, 2105, he was complaining
of more knee pain. Id. Dr. Sauvey then started
Meloxicam, in place of Tylenol. Id. at ¶ 24.
Meloxicam is similar to Tylenol, but it has stronger pain
relieving qualities. Id. at ¶ 25. She also
reinstated plaintiff's Mintox/antacid tablets on October
3, 2015 because he reported he was experiencing heartburn.
Id. at ¶ 27.
Plaintiff's Complaints and Correspondence
contacted Lutsey and LaBelle regarding his dissatisfaction
with Dr. Sauvey's decision to discontinue his
medications. Id. at ¶ 30. Lutsey was copied on
the reviewing authority's decisions for offender
complaint GBCI-2015-14137, Id. at ¶ 31, and
contacted regarding inmate complaint GBCI-2015-14939,
Id. at ¶ 32. In both instances, Lutsey reviewed
the relevant medical files and documents. Id. at
¶ 33. She noted that Dr. Sauvey had a plan to monitor
plaintiff's condition and that plaintiff was being seen
on a consistent basis. Id. Lutsey deferred to
plaintiff's medical providers' opinions as they
seemed appropriate and she had no reason to believe that
plaintiff's medical needs were not being met.
Id. at ¶ 34. Lutsey did not do further
investigating because she felt the situation was being
handled appropriately. Her decision was upheld through the
complaint system, including appeal. Id.
September 3, 2015, a nurse forwarded Lutsey a letter from
plaintiff. Id. at ¶ 35. She responded to the
letter on September 8, 2015, after having reviewed his
medical file and explained to him that his inhaler
(albuterol) was discontinued due to abuse and that the risks
outweighed the benefits. Id. at ¶ 36. She noted
that he had been evaluated on August 28, September 3, and
September 4 and reminded him to report abnormal symptoms
rather than asking for an inhaler he did not have an order
for. Id. Lutsey was comfortable that plaintiff was
abusing his inhaler and that he was being evaluated on a
regular basis. Id. She had no concerns about the
appropriateness of plaintiff's care because he was being
seen and evaluated whenever he reported abnormal symptoms.
Id. at ¶ 38. She deferred to the
plaintiff's medical providers' decisions because they
seemed appropriate based on her review of the records.
Id. at ¶ 37.
Labelle, his only involvement in this case was serving as the
reviewing authority on the two inmate complaints already
mentioned-GBCI-2015-14137 and GBCI-2015-14939. Id.
at ¶ 39. The Inmate Complaint Examiner
(“ICE”), Jodene Perttu dismissed GBCI-2015-14137
because, per plaintiff's own admission, plaintiff had
abused his medications and the physician reviewed the
incident and history and determined the risk outweighed the
benefit of him receiving his medications. Id. at
¶ 41. She believed that plaintiff's treatment was
proper given that he had thrown his medications on the floor
and had a history of hoarding medication, which could cause
liver damage if not used properly. Id. at ¶ 43.
Perttu directed Lindsey to submit a Health Services Request
if he experienced abnormal medical symptoms. Id. at
¶ 42. Because Perttu reviewed the issue and found that
plaintiff was abusing his medications, which could be
detrimental to his health, LaBelle accepted Perttu's
recommendation and dismissed complaint GBCI-2015-14137.
Id. at ¶ 45.
also agreed with Perttu's recommendation on complaint
GBCI-2014-14939. Id. at ¶¶ 46, 50. Perttu
dismissed the complaint because she determined that plaintiff
was creating a safety risk by holding his medication and the
risk outweighed the benefit. Id. at ¶ 46. Dr.
Sauvey discontinued his medication until she evaluated him in
person on August 14, 2015, at which time she restarted his
blood pressure medication. Id. LaBelle also
conducted his own investigation and noted that plaintiff had
been seen by the physician (who had the proper education to
diagnose and prescribe the most safe and effective medication
for the needed treatment). Id. at ¶ 47. LaBelle
found that plaintiff was noted to be holding his medication,
which raised concerns about potential negative impacts to his
health if overused. Id. at ¶ 48. LaBelle
deferred to plaintiff's medical providers, but he also
had no reason to ...