United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
MARK H. PRICE, Plaintiff,
DON STRAHOTA, DAN WINKLESKI, LARRY FUCHS, CARL HENRICHSEN, CORY M. RAHLF, and ERIC A. WEIGEL, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
D. PETERSON, DISTRICT JUDGE
Mark H. Price, appearing pro se, is a prisoner at Stanley
Correctional Institution. Price brings this lawsuit under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that when he was incarcerated at
New Lisbon Correctional Institution, defendant prison
officials investigated him and convicted him of a
disciplinary infraction without him receiving proper due
process. He qualified for in forma pauperis status
and followed by paying the entire $350 filing fee.
next step is for me to screen Price's complaint and
dismiss any portion that is legally frivolous, malicious,
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or
asks for money damages from a defendant who by law cannot be
sued for money damages. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and
1915A. In doing so, I must read his pro se complaint
generously, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521
(1972) (per curiam), and accept his allegations as true,
see Bonte v. U.S Bank, N.A., 624 F.3d 461, 463 (7th
conclude that Price's current allegations do not state
any claims for relief. I conclude that at least some of his
allegations are too vague to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8. I will dismiss his complaint and give him a
chance to file an amended complaint.
the events central to this case, plaintiff Mark H. Price was
incarcerated at New Lisbon Correctional Institution. On
February 27, 2017, Price was sent to temporary lockup by
defendant Captain Corey Rahlf, pending an investigation into
Price possessing contraband drugs. Defendant Correctional
Officer Eric Weigel said that he saw “a white powder
substance” fall out of a pair of Price's underwear
and also saw it on a drinking cup of Price's. Dkt. 1, at
2. Weigel also found a “discolored toothpaste tube with
a liquid inside.” Id. Weigel and defendant
Carl Henrichsen, the Restrictive Housing Unit manager, tested
the powder and liquid using a “Nark II” field
testing kit. The powder tested positive for oxycodone and the
liquid tested positive for methamphetamine. These defendants
were not well trained in use of the Nark II kit, and the Nark
II kit is notoriously unreliable and known for producing
false positives. Weigel wrote Price a conduct report for
possessing drugs. The contraband substances were turned over
to local police for a criminal investigation.
ordered Price placed in an observation cell in the
Restrictive Housing Unit. In that cell, the water was turned
off, the room was constantly lit, Price was allowed no
properly, including hygiene items, he was closely monitored,
and his bodily fluids were collected and inspected. Price
stayed in that cell for about a day. Price believes that
Henrichsen placed him in the cell “to harass and
intimidate” him. Id. at 3.
maintained that the items were soap, not drugs. He waived the
21-day time limit for holding his disciplinary hearing in the
hope that a second, “confirmation” drug test
would prove that the substances were not drugs. Price wrote
to defendant Security Director Larry Fuchs, asking to
postpone the hearing to wait for the confirmation test, but
Fuchs denied those requests despite knowing that the Nark II
kit produced unreliable results.
disciplinary hearing was held on March 17, 2017. Defendant
Rahlf conducted the hearing over Price's objection that
the confirmation test results had not yet come back. Price
says that he could not respond to various questions posed by
Rahlf because Price had been given his Miranda
warnings a week earlier by police officers when they
interviewed him. Rahlf “became enraged” and had
Price removed from the hearing. Rahlf found Price guilty of
possessing drugs and sentenced him to 300 days of solitary
confinement, despite knowing that the Nark II kit produced
unreliable results. Price was sent to Columbia Correctional
Institution (CCI) to serve his term of solitary confinement.
This also eventually led to his placement back into
appealed the decision to defendant Don Strahota, then the
warden, but Strahota denied it. Strahota was also aware that
the Nark II kit produced unreliable results.
2017, the state crime lab reported that the substances from
Price's cell tested negative for contraband drugs.
Price's disciplinary conviction was vacated and he was
transferred to a medium-security prison. He ended up serving
139 days in solitary confinement and 52 days in a
maximum-security cell with what he calls abhorrent
conditions. In particular, I take Price to be saying that for
at least part of his time at CCI, he had a cellmate with
terrible hygiene who was “a health hazard, ” and
Price was forced to wear clothes that smelled like urine.
Id. at 7.
Price to be contending that his constitutional rights were
violated in several ways in conjunction with the
investigation and conviction for possession of drugs. But his
current allegations do not state any claims for relief.
says that he was given a conduct report on thin, unreliable
evidence from the Nark II drug test. But allegations of a
false conduct reports do not state a claim for deprivation of
due process, much less Price's allegations that the test
is unreliable. See Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d
621, 624-25 (7th Cir. 2006) (false conduct reports do not