United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
LEVI A. LORD, Plaintiff,
JOSEPH BEAM, CHRISTOPHER PASS, LISA STOFFEL, and CHRISTOPHER P. O'NEAL, Defendants.
Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge
14, 2018, Magistrate Judge William E. Duffin screened
Plaintiff's complaint. (Docket #15). Magistrate Duffin
allowed Plaintiff to proceed on a claim that Defendants had
allegedly failed to appropriately address Plaintiff's
threat of self-harm, in violation of his rights under the
Eighth Amendment. Id. at 3-5. The action was
reassigned to this branch of the Court on May 30, 2018. On
October 31, 2018 and November 1, 2018, Plaintiff and
Defendants respectively filed motions for summary judgment.
(Docket #25 and #28). For the reasons explained below,
Defendants' motion must be granted and Plaintiff's
denied as moot.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that the court
“shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Boss v. Castro, 816 F.3d
910, 916 (7th Cir. 2016). A fact is “material” if
it “might affect the outcome of the suit” under
the applicable substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute of fact
is “genuine” if “the evidence is such that
a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Id. The court construes all facts and
reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the
non-movant. Bridge v. New Holland Logansport, Inc.,
815 F.3d 356, 360 (7th Cir. 2016).
times relevant, Plaintiff was an inmate at Waupun
Correctional Institution (“Waupun”), and
Defendants were correctional officers employed there. On
December 10, 2017, Plaintiff was being housed in Waupun's
restrictive housing unit where Defendants worked. That
morning, Plaintiff called to Defendant Lisa Stoffel
(“Stoffel”) while she escorted another inmate to
the shower. Plaintiff was visibly masturbating near his
cell's open trap door, and as Stoffel turned to look at
him, he made direct eye contact with her. This is, of course,
a violation of prison rules and Stoffel told Plaintiff he
would receive a conduct report for his behavior.
Joseph Beam (“Beam”) then came to Plaintiff's
cell to reiterate that Plaintiff's actions were
inappropriate. Plaintiff claims that Beam said nothing, but
instead it was Plaintiff who told Beam he was suicidal and
had a razor blade. Later that morning, Stoffel and Defendant
Christopher Pass (“Pass”) went back to
Plaintiff's cell to issue the conduct report. Plaintiff
says he informed both Stoffel and Pass of his suicidal
feelings. The officers then left Plaintiff's cell.
minutes later, Plaintiff called to Pass, asking that Pass
bring Stoffel back to Plaintiff's cell so they could
speak. Pass refused and left the area. Plaintiff asserts that
he repeated to Pass that he had a razor blade and intended to
hurt himself. In a related conduct report, Pass indicated
that Plaintiff had said he would cut himself if he did not
get to see Stoffel again.
his supposed threats of self-harm being ignored, Plaintiff
decided to activate his cell's emergency intercom in the
late morning. An Officer Strunz responded but Plaintiff said
nothing to him. Soon afterward, Defendant Christopher P.
O'Neal (“O'Neal”) went past
Plaintiff's cell. O'Neal noticed some droplets of
blood on the cell window. O'Neal says that he ordered
Plaintiff to come to his door to be handcuffed, and that
Plaintiff complied. Plaintiff counters that O'Neal had
actually threatened to spray him with pepper spray, and when
Plaintiff presented the razor blade, O'Neal knocked it
away onto the floor.
then radioed Beam for assistance. When Plaintiff's hands
were secured, the officers removed him from his cell. They
did not observe any noticeable injuries or active bleeding
from Plaintiff, other than a small cut on his forearm.
Plaintiff claims that he “had blood all down [his]
arm.” (Docket #38 at 8). Plaintiff further states that
he had a sock tied to his arm which was also covered in
footage of the incident directly contradicts Plaintiff's
version of events. The video shows Plaintiff tossing the
razor out of his cell and onto the floor at O'Neal's
request. At no point did O'Neal use or even reach for his
pepper spray. In handcuffing Plaintiff and removing him from
the cell, the officers put on gloves, suggesting the presence
of blood. However, the video does not show any visible blood,
and certainly not the profuse amount suggested by Plaintiff.
Further, there was nothing tied to Plaintiff's arm when
he was removed from the cell. Once Plaintiff was secured, the
officers returned to retrieve the razor blade and inspect the
area. Again, the video shows no observable trace of blood,
though the officers are seen checking the soles of their
shoes, presumably for blood spatter.
was then seen by a Nurse York (“York”). Her
report stated that Plaintiff presented with four to five
“superficial vertical cuts” in a one inch by
one-and-a-half inch area on his forearm. (Docket #35-1). She
noted that the cuts produced some fresh bleeding, and that
Plaintiff also had some semi-dried blood down his forearm.
Id. York cleaned the wound area and applied gauze.
Id. Plaintiff was placed in clinical observation and
was seen by psychological services later that day. Plaintiff
received no further treatment for his cuts.