United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DELOREAN L. BRYSON, Plaintiff,
JEAN LUTSEY, SUSAN PETERS, DR. HAIGHT, RN BLAIR, DR. JANE DOE, and NURSE JANE DOE #1-2 Defendants.
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge
plaintiff, who is currently serving a state prison sentence
at Green Bay Correctional Institution (GBCI) and representing
himself, filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that his civil rights were violated. This matter
comes before the court on Plaintiff's motion for leave to
proceed without prepaying the full filing fee and to screen
to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing Fee
plaintiff has requested leave to proceed without prepayment
of the full filing fee (in forma pauperis). A
prisoner plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis is
required to pay the full amount of the $350.00 filing fee
over time. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The
plaintiff has filed a certified copy of his prison trust
account statement for the six-month period immediately
preceding the filing of his complaint, as required under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2), and has been assessed and paid an
initial partial filing fee of $2.98. The plaintiff's
motion for leave to proceed without prepaying the filing fee
will be granted.
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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 [he] 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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unspecified date, the plaintiff slipped and fell in the
shower while housed in GBCI's Restricted Housing Unit.
The fall allegedly resulted in injuries to the
plaintiff's shoulder as well as other parts of his body.
In November of 2016, the plaintiff claims he reported his
injuries to GBCI staff and filed health slips explaining the
extent of his injuries. The plaintiff also claims that he
asked Nurse Peters to schedule an MRI to assess his shoulder
injury. In response, Nurse Peters scheduled the plaintiff to
see an unidentified doctor who then prescribed physical
therapy with Dr. Haight to treat his injury. The plaintiff
allegedly saw Dr. Haight for around three months.
plaintiff states that the pain continued in his shoulder as
well as elsewhere and that on several occasions he submitted
inmate complaint forms requesting an MRI for his shoulder.
The plaintiff states that Dr. Haight, Nurse Peters, RN Blair,
Jane Lutsey, and three unidentified defendants (a doctor and
two registered nurses) were all aware of his requests and
injuries. The plaintiff is seeking monetary damages and
injunctive relief ordering that he receive an MRI for his
Eighth Amendment imposes a duty on prison officials to take
reasonable measures to guarantee an inmate's safety and
to ensure that inmates receive adequate medical care.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). If
prison officials are “deliberately indifferent to
prisoners' serious medical needs, ” Arnett v.
Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 750 (7th Cir. 2011), or they
“act with ‘deliberate indifference' to a
substantial risk of serious harm to an inmate['s]”
health or safety, Farmer, 511 U.S. at 828 (citation
omitted), then they violate the Constitution.
plaintiff's appears to claim that the defendants were
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, as an
accidental slip-and-fall by a prisoner does not give rise to
a civil rights action. See Pyles v. Fahim, 771 F.3d
403, 410-11 (7th Cir. 2014) (holding that slip-and-fall
accidents almost never give rise to constitutional claims).
An inmate's claim for deliberate indifference must
satisfy the following two elements, the first objective and
the second subjective: “(1) an objectively serious
medical condition; and (2) an official's deliberate
indifference to that claim.” Gomez v. Randle,
680 F.3d 859, 865 (7th Cir. 2012). “Deliberate
indifference occurs when a defendant realizes that a
substantial risk of serious harm to a prisoner exists, but
then disregards that risk.” Perez v. Fenoglio,
792 F.3d 768, 776 (7th Cir. 2015). “The deliberate
indifference standard reflects a mental state somewhere
between the culpability poles of negligence and purpose, and
is thus properly equated with reckless disregard.”
Id. at 777.
plaintiff's complaint fails to establish a deliberate
indifference claim against the defendants because under the
Eighth Amendment, a prisoner is “entitled to reasonable
measures to meet a substantial risk of serious harm, ”
not “to demand specific care.” Forbes v.
Edgar, 112 F.3d 262, 267 (7th Cir. 1997); Johnson v.
Doughty, 433 F.3d 1001, 1013 (7th Cir. 2006)
(“[T]he Eighth Amendment does not require that
prisoners receive ‘unqualified access to health
care.'” (quoting Hudson v. McMillian, 503
U.S. 1, 9 (1992))). Simply put, the plaintiff's complaint
fails to show how the defendants failed to provide reasonable
care in response to the injuries he sustained as a result of
his slip-and-fall. Once the defendants were aware of the
plaintiff's injury, they treated it by prescribing
physical therapy. While the plaintiff states that he is still
in pain, has a torn rotator cuff and scar tissue in his
shoulder that may require surgery to remedy, his complaint
does not establish that the defendants completely disregarded
his injury or failed to provide treatment. Instead the
plaintiff appears to assert that the defendants' failure
to order an MRI for his shoulder evinces their deliberate
indifference. “But the question whether an X-ray or
additional diagnostic techniques or forms of treatment is
indicated is a classic example of a matter for medical
judgment. A medical decision not to order an X-ray, or like
measures, does not represent cruel and unusual punishment. At
most it is medical malpractice, and as such the proper forum
is the state court . . . .” Estelle v. Gamble,
429 U.S. 97, 107 (1976). “A medical professional's
treatment decisions will be accorded deference ‘unless
no minimally ...