United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
DAVID E. SIERRA-LOPEZ, Plaintiff,
DR. PERSIKE and DR. WHITE, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
BARBARA B. CRABB, DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff and prisoner David E. Sierra-Lopez is proceeding in
this case on claims that defendants Dr. Julia Persike and Dr.
Maureen White violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment
by failing to provide him adequate mental health treatment
and by subjecting him to harsh conditions of confinement. Now
before the court is defendants' motion for summary
judgment. Dkt. #80. Because plaintiff has failed to submit
evidence showing that defendants were deliberately
indifferent to his mental health needs or subjected him to
unconstitutional conditions of confinement, I will grant
to the parties' proposed findings of fact, I note that
plaintiff failed to comply with this court's summary
judgment procedures by filing a separate document responding
to defendants' proposed findings of fact. He also failed
to propose any facts of his own. After defendants pointed out
plaintiff's error in their reply brief, plaintiff filed a
sur-reply stating that “[d]efendants' proposed
facts are not facts but stupid strategies to make plaintiff
and the court spend unreasonable time in responding to and
deciding their motion.” Plt.'s Br., dkt. #92, at 1.
Despite plaintiff's opinion to the contrary, this
court's requirement that the parties submit facts and
supporting evidence is essential to the summary judgment
process. Because plaintiff failed to adequately dispute any
of defendants' proposed facts, I have accepted
defendants' proposed facts as undisputed.
David E. Sierra-Lopez is incarcerated at the Columbia
Correctional Institution, where defendant Julia Persike
worked as a psychologist and defendant Maureen White worked
as the supervisor of the psychological services unit. Persike
was plaintiff's primary clinician during 2015 and saw him
intermittently in 2016.
December 1, 2016, plaintiff was moved from restrictive
housing unit 2 to restrictive housing unit 1. Plaintiff was
upset by the move because inmates have greater restrictions
and less property in restrictive housing unit 1. On December
12, plaintiff told security staff that he was going to harm
himself, and staff found a noose in plaintiff's cell.
Security staff removed plaintiff from his cell, placed him an
interview room and notified defendant Persike. Plaintiff met
with Persike, and told her that he was unhappy about being
moved into restrictive housing unit 1 and that he wanted all
of his property restrictions to be removed. In the
alternative, plaintiff asked to be placed in observation.
Persike decided that observation placement was not clinically
necessary. She concluded that plaintiff should remain in the
restrictive housing unit, but that because he had fashioned a
noose and threatened to harm himself, his bed linens and
clothing should be removed. Plaintiff kept his mattress and a
next day, December 13, Persike saw plaintiff again. Plaintiff
had a more positive attitude, told Persike that he was
feeling better and thanked her for her time. Persike
encouraged plaintiff to take his medication and told him that
she would see him again the following week. Persike then
notified security staff that she was ending plaintiff's
clinical property restrictions and that his clothing and
linens could be returned.
December 14, during the evening medication pass, plaintiff
held his trap closed and refused to cooperate. He was
eventually removed from his cell and strip searched. Persike
was the on-call clinician at the time. At approximately 5:30
p.m., she was contacted and learned that plaintiff had
threatened to make a noose. Lieutenant Parenteau told Persike
that plaintiff had not made any suicidal statements and did
not seem depressed or hopeless, but that he seemed to be
using threats of self-harm to gain staff's attention and
to demand additional property. Persike directed security
staff to remove plaintiff's linens, but she did not order
that he be placed on observation. At 8:45 p.m., plaintiff was
given a security blanket.
next day, December 15, Persike attempted to see plaintiff for
a clinical check-in and to review his clinical property
restrictions. However, security staff told Persike that she
could not see plaintiff for an out-of-cell session because of
staffing problems. Staff told Persike that plaintiff had not
reported any suicidal or self-injurious thought, intent or
plan, but was still upset about not receiving his property.
December 16, Persike was out of the institution on sick
leave. Dr. Gambaro covered for Persike while she was out of
the institution, reviewed plaintiff's file, and continued
the clinical linen restriction.
17 and 18, 2016, were Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Psychological staff does not usually work on the weekends at
the prison. Security and health services unit staff respond
to prisoners' needs, serve meals and medications, and
contact the on-call psychological services staff if needed.
On-call psychological services staff was not contacted
regarding plaintiff over the weekend, nor was Persike
contacted directly. The restrictive housing unit log shows
that Persike was on the unit on December 17 for other
reasons, but she did not see plaintiff on that day.
December 20, Persike saw plaintiff again. Persike decided
that the clinical linen restriction could be removed because
plaintiff's mood had improved and he appeared to be
stable. She discussed property, restrictions and
plaintiff's hygiene needs with security staff. On
December 23, both defendants White and Persike met with
plaintiff. This was White's first clinical contact with
plaintiff. White explained to plaintiff that his ongoing
restrictions were security restrictions, not clinical
restrictions. Plaintiff remained upset about the clinical
property restrictions that Persike had implemented on
December 14, that Gambaro had continued on December 16, and
that had been discontinued by Persike on December 20.
December 14 and 20, 2016, when plaintiff was held in
restrictive housing unit 1, the HVAC system at the prison
recorded the temperatures on plaintiff's side of
restrictive housing unit 1 as ranging between 76 to 78
degrees. Security staff is responsible for addressing
complaints regarding the temperature in the segregation unit.
If a prisoner complains about the temperature in his cell ...