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Christopher v. Jess

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

February 6, 2019

ADAM CHRISTOPHER, Plaintiff,
v.
CATHY JESS, TAMMY MAASSEN, GEORGIA KOSTOHRYZ, DR. LILY LUI, JODI DOUGHERTY, BRANDA MULLER, LIZZIE TEGELS, E. KIMPEL, SERGEANT ISENSEE J. DOE 1, J. DOE 2, J. DOE 3, J. DOE 4, J. DOE 5, DR. BRET REYNOLDS, MAGGIE JESSIE and E. SCROOGE, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          BARBARA B. CRABB DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pro se plaintiff Adam Christopher filed a civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, contending that 16 prison employees at the Jackson Correctional Institution and the former Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections violated his constitutional rights by failing to provide him adequate treatment for various medical problems, failing to notify him when he had medical appointments, refusing to reschedule appointments that were missed as a result of prison staff error, failing to insure that there was adequate hand soap in the prison restrooms, failing to act on the grievances he filed regarding his need for medical care, and retaliating against him for grievances he filed. Shortly after filing his original complaint, plaintiff filed an amended complaint that I will treat as the operative pleading.

         Because plaintiff is incarcerated, I must screen his amended complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. After reviewing the amended complaint, I conclude that I cannot allow plaintiff to proceed on any claim at this time because the No. of claims and defendants in his amended complaint violates Rule 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and makes the case unmanageable. I will give plaintiff an opportunity to choose which claims he wishes to pursue in this case, which claims he wants to pursue in a different case, and which claims he wishes to dismiss without prejudice to refiling them at a later date.

         Plaintiff alleges the following facts in his complaint.

         ALLEGATIONS OF FACT

         A. The Parties

         Plaintiff Adam Christopher was incarcerated at the Jackson Correctional Institution during all times relevant to his complaint. Most of the defendants were employed at Jackson Correctional during the relevant time period: Tammy Maassen was the health services unit nursing supervisor; Dr. Lily Liu was a physician; Georgia Kostohryz, E. Kimpel and J. Does 1, 4 and 5 were nurses; Dr. Bret Reynolds is a psychiatrist; Jodi Dougherty and B. Muller were institution complaint examiners; Sergeant Isensee and J. Does 2 and 3 were correctional officers; and Lizzie Tegels is the warden. Plaintiff also named as defendants E. Scrooge, a policymaker for Jackson Correctional Institution, and Cathy Jess, the former Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

         B. Treatment for Back Pain, Fatigue and Gastrointestinal Problems

         Plaintiff was transferred to Jackson Correctional Institution in May 2016. On May 20, 2016, plaintiff saw defendant Nurse Kostohryz in the health services unit for back pain caused by degenerative disc disease. Plaintiff told Kostohryz that he had been prescribed muscle relaxants for his pain previously, but Kostohryz told him falsely that inmates cannot be prescribed muscle relaxants. Kostohryz gave plaintiff a bottle of ibuprofen and told him to buy more from the canteen if he needed it, although plaintiff told her that new transfers could not use the canteen right away. Kostohryz refused to refer plaintiff to a doctor.

         On September 12, 2016, plaintiff saw Kostohryz in the health services unit for gastrointestinal pain. Kostohryz told him his pain was not an emergency and she refused to refer him to a doctor. She gave plaintiff one bottle of simethicone tablets and told him to buy more from the canteen, even though plaintiff told her the canteen did not sell simethicone tablets. Plaintiff's gastrointestinal pain continued and he saw Kostohryz again for treatment on February 16, 2017. Kostohyrz again refused to refer him to a doctor.

         On May 18, 2017, plaintiff was seen in the health services unit for fatigue. The nurse referred him to a doctor, noting that plaintiff should be seen “within 14 days.” He was not seen until June 21, 2017. On September 7, 2017, plaintiff was referred to a doctor for his back pain, but he was not seen by a doctor until November 1, 2017. On November 27, 2017, plaintiff was referred to physical therapy for his back pain. He was not seen by the physical therapist until March 2018.

         On May 9, 2018, plaintiff saw defendant Dr. Liu for back pain, gastrointestinal pain and chronic fatigue. Liu prescribed docusate to plaintiff, although plaintiff told her that he had tried docusate for a year and that it had only made his pain worse. Liu prescribed nothing for plaintiff's back pain or fatigue. Plaintiff filed an inmate complaint about Liu's failure to provide more treatment, but defendant Dougherty dismissed the complaint.

         On May 18, 2018, plaintiff submitted a health service request asking for treatment for his back pain and fatigue. On May 22, Liu ordered an x-ray of plaintiff's abdomen, but did not provide him any pain medication.

         On June 28, 2018, plaintiff saw defendant Nurse Kimpel. (Plaintiff does not say why he saw Kimpel.) Kimpel did not provide him any treatment, but told him that he was scheduled to see a doctor in July. By July 10, plaintiff had not been seen, so he filed an inmate complaint. Defendants Dougherty and Maassen dismissed the complaint, stating that plaintiff had an upcoming appointment. Maassen later rescheduled plaintiff's appointment for August.

         Plaintiff saw defendant Dr. Liu again on August 3. Liu told him that she was ordering a colonoscopy for his gastrointestinal tract and would refer him to a back specialist for his pain. Plaintiff was later told ...


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