United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
KEVIN T. SINGER, Plaintiff,
DR. SCHETTLE, WCI DENTAL ASSISTANT, WCI HSU MEDICAL SUPERVISOR, and WCI WARDEN, Defendants.
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff Kevin T. Singer, an inmate incarcerated at the
Waupun Correctional Institution (WCI), brings this civil
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that
defendants, WCI officials, failed to respond adequately to
his medical needs. Singer has paid the initial partial filing
fee for this action as ordered by the court.
next step is for me to screen the complaint and dismiss any
portion that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money
damages from a defendant who by law cannot be sued for money
damages. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 & 1915A. In
screening any pro se litigant's complaint, the court must
read the allegations of the complaint generously. Haines
v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). I will allow
Singer to proceed on Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference
claims against defendants Dr. Schettle and John Doe WCI
dental assistant. I will deny him leave to proceed against
defendant John Does WCI HSU medical supervisor and WCI
warden. I will allow him the opportunity to supplement his
complaint with information relevant to additional claims.
the following facts from Singer's complaint, Dkt. 1, and
I accept them as true at the screening stage.
is an inmate at WCI. He's “a very well-known
self-cutter” with “many visible scars.”
Id. ¶ 2. Defendants work at WCI. Dr. Schettle
is the dentist; Singer doesn't know the names of the
remaining defendants, so he identifies them by their job
titles: dental assistant, medical supervisor, and warden.
8, 2017, Singer went to the dentist and was told that he had
a cavity and needed a tooth extraction. He was also told that
he would be charged a co-pay of $7.50 for the procedure.
Singer refused to pay the co-pay and threatened the dentist
and dental assistant that he would “cut the tooth
out” himself if they didn't do it for him.
Id. ¶ 13. I infer that the cavity was causing
him pain. They refused to perform the procedure.
1, Singer was called back to the dentist's office. He
again refused to pay the co-pay and threatened to perform the
procedure himself. The dentist and dental assistant again
refused to perform the procedure.
after that, Singer tried to extract his tooth himself. On
June 9, Singer was called back to the dentist's office.
He explained that when he pulled out the tooth, it broke, and
some of the pieces remained in his mouth. (Singer doesn't
explain what the dentist and dental assistant did in
response, if anything.)
11, Singer went to the health services unit to stop the
bleeding in his mouth. The next day, he was called back to
the dentist's office. The dentist “waived”
the co-pay and extracted the tooth. Id. ¶ 17.
this time, Singer had “excruciating pain” and was
unable to eat. Id. ¶ 19. At some point, Singer
filed a grievance about the dental services, and the warden
attempts to bring claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for
violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment. The
Eighth Amendment prohibits prison officials from acting with
deliberate indifference toward prisoners' serious medical
needs. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103-04
(1976). To state a deliberate indifference claim, Singer must
allege that each defendant was aware of a serious medical
need and consciously failed to take reasonable measures to
help him. Duckworth v. Ahmad, 532 F.3d 675, 679 (7th
Cir. 2008). A serious medical need is a condition that a
doctor has recognized as needing treatment or one for which
the necessity of treatment would be obvious to a lay person.
Johnson v. Snyder, 444 F.3d 579, 584-85 (7th Cir.
conclude that Singer's cavity was likely a serious
medical need. But “the Eighth Amendment does not compel
prison administrators to provide cost-free medical services
to inmates who are able to contribute to the cost of their
care.” Poole v. Isaacs, 703 F.3d 1024, 1026-27
(7th Cir. 2012). In his complaint, Singer does not state
whether he can afford the co-pay. So I will dismiss
Singer's claim against Schettle for failure to comply
with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, which requires a
plaintiff to include in his complaint “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to
relief.” I will allow him an opportunity to supplement
his complaint to provide additional information about whether
he could afford the co-payment. Although the dental assistant
was also in the room, I do not take the assistant to have
been in a position ...