United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
RICKEY J. COLLIER, Plaintiff,
MS. MAASSEN, JOHN DOE, NURSE KOSTHRYZ, NURSE LABARBARA and NURSE MIDDLETON, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM M. CONLEY District Judge
plaintiff Rickey Collier contends that staff at Jackson
Correctional Institution (“JCI”) violated his
Eighth Amendment and state law rights in the manner in which
they distributed his medications. Because Collier was
incarcerated when he filed his complaint and is proceeding in
forma pauperis the court must screen it pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A. After reviewing the
complaint, the court concludes that while Collier's
complaint is subject to dismissal, he will receive the
opportunity to file an amended complaint that addresses the
deficiencies explained below.
the relevant time period, Collier was incarcerated at JCI,
and each of the defendants were working. They are: Ms.
Maassen, the Health Services Unit (“HSU”) nursing
coordinator; John Doe, a correctional officer
(“CO”); and nurses Kosthryz, Labarbara and
September of 2016, Collier was prescribed warfarin to prevent
his blood from clotting. Collier states that his daily dosage
varied, but he does not explain the specific condition he
suffers from, how or why his dosage varies or who typically
decides whether his dosage should change. On September 2,
2016, CO Doe gave Collier the wrong medication. The next day,
September 3, Collier submitted an interview/information
request to the HSU, in which he complained about that
incident. In response, Ms. Helgeson (not a defendant in this
action) responded “this was addressed[;] nursing staff
is now giving meds.” (Compl. (dkt. #1) at 3.)
September 17, however, nurse Middleton refused to give
Collier his medication, telling Collier that the on-duty
officer would be giving him his medication that day. Later
that day, Collier submitted another information request
directed to the HSU supervisor, complaining that neither the
on-duty officer nor nursing staff gave him his medication
despite the previous assurance that a nurse would be
administering his medication. Apparently Helgeson responded,
again saying that a nurse would be giving him his medication.
Collier does not allege whether he received his medication
that day. However, the next day, September 18, nurses
Kosthryz, Labarbara and Middleton insisted that the officer
would be giving him his medication. Again, Collier does not
allege whether he received his medications or who he received
September 19, Collier filled out another
interview/information request, yet again complaining that the
nursing staff would not give him his medication. The next
day, Middleton responded that she believed that his request
had been addressed. Collier alleges that nursing staff did
not begin to deliver his medication until the end of October
claims that he was harmed because untrained or undertrained
officers delivered his medication instead of nurses. He is
seeking leave to proceed on an Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference and negligence claims against each of the
defendants. However, plaintiff may not proceed at this time
because his allegations fail to meet the requirements of
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. Rule 8(a) requires a
“‘short and plain statement of the claim'
sufficient to notify the defendants of the allegations
against them and enable them to file an answer.”
Marshall v. Knight, 445 F.3d 965, 968 (7th Cir. 2006).
Dismissal is proper “if the complaint fails to set
forth ‘enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” St. John's United
Church of Christ v. City of Chi., 502 F.3d 616, 625 (7th Cir.
2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
570 (2007)). Plaintiff's allegations are too sparse and
vague to state a claim under the Eighth Amendment. A prison
official may violate the Eighth Amendment if the official is
“deliberately indifferent” to a “serious
medical need.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-05
(1976). “Serious medical needs” include (1)
conditions that are life-threatening or that carry risk of
permanent serious impairment if left untreated, (2)
withholding of medical care that results in needless pain and
suffering, or (3) conditions that have been “diagnosed
by a physician as mandating treatment.” Gutierrez v.
Peters, 111 F.3d 1364, 1371 (7th Cir. 1997).
“Deliberate indifference” means that the
officials are aware that the prisoner needs medical
treatment, but are disregarding the risk by consciously
failing to take reasonable measures. Forbes v. Edgar, 112
F.3d 262, 266 (7th Cir. 1997). Under this standard,
plaintiff's must allege the following three elements:
1. Did plaintiff objectively need medical treatment?
2. Did defendants know that plaintiff needed treatment?
3. Despite their awareness of the need, did defendants
consciously fail to take reasonable measures to provide the
the first element, plaintiff alleges very little about his
medical need, only that he is prescribed warfarin to prevent
his blood from clotting. It appears that he is prescribed a
daily dosage, but he does not provide any details about
specifically what this medication is meant to treat that
would permit the court to infer that he actually suffers from
a “condition” that requires treatment. While
plaintiff's allegation that he was prescribed the
medication suggests that he needs treatment, he has not
included any allegations about what condition he suffered
from during the relevant time period.
reading plaintiff's vague allegations about his warfarin
prescription as sufficient to permit an inference that he had
a serious medical need, his complaint has a bigger problem:
plaintiff has not alleged any facts that any of the named
defendants were deliberately indifferent. As to CO Doe,
plaintiff has not alleged that Doe knew that he had a serious
medical condition requiring him to receive his warfarin as
prescribed. Nor has he alleged facts suggesting that Doe
actually knew or had reason to know that he had given
plaintiff the wrong medication, or, more critically, that he
intended to give him the wrong medication, or was reckless in
doing so. For instance, plaintiff has not alleged that he
told Doe that the medication he received was wrong or that
Doe learned that the medication was incorrect and failed to
take any steps to correct the mistake. Indeed, even assuming
that Doe actually provided the wrong medication, this was a
one-time mistake, which suggests possibly negligence but not
deliberate indifference. See Robbins v. Pollard, No.
16-cv-1128, 2016 WL 8672956, at *2 (E.D. Wis. Nov. 18, 2016)
(collecting cases); Morrison v. Utz, No. 11 C 4110, 2012 WL
293548, at *2 (C.D. Ill. Jan. 31, 2012); Ehrenberg v. Wis.
Dep't of Corr., No. 10 C ...