United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ADAM A. LOCKE, Plaintiff,
CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS, LLC et al., Defendants.
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge
Adam Locke, a pro se plaintiff currently
incarcerated at Leavenworth U.S. Penitentiary (Leavenworth),
commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that his civil rights were violated. The court
screened Locke's complaint and allowed him to proceed on
a deliberate indifference claim against unknown employees of
Correctional Healthcare Companies (now identified as Correct
Care Solutions, LLC, or Correct Care) and Dodge County
Detention Facility (DCDF) whom Locke claims ignored his
requests for medical care while he was confined at DCDF.
Although the court found that Locke only stated claims
against these Doe defendants, Correct Care and Dodge County
Sheriff Dale Schmidt remained as defendants in the case to
help Locke identify the Correct Care nurses and DCDF officers
or staff who allegedly ignored his treatment requests.
screening order, the court directed Correct Care and Sheriff
Schmidt to identify and send to Locke the names of the
individuals who received Locke's treatment requests
during his time at DCDF within thirty days of service of the
complaint and the screening order. The court also directed
Locke to file an amended complaint naming the Doe defendants
within thirty days after receiving the identifications.
Sheriff Schmidt and Correct Care provided the required
information on November 28, 2019, and December 6, 2018,
respectively. On January 14, 2019, Locke filed a motion for
extension of time to file an amended complaint naming the Doe
defendants. The court granted Locke's motion and imposed
a deadline of February 15, 2019, for Locke to file an amended
February 20, 2019, Correct Care filed a motion to dismiss
Locke's complaint with prejudice due to his failure to
file an amended complaint by the February 15, 2019 deadline.
In his brief in opposition to the motion to dismiss and in
subsequent motions for extension of time, Locke insists that
he filed an amended complaint on or about the end of January
2019. Dkt. Nos. 31 at 2, 35 at 1, 36 at 2. Locke claims that
he requested a copy of this case's docketing sheet the
same day that he received a copy of Correct Care's motion
to dismiss. Upon receipt of the docketing sheet copy, Locke
noticed that the court never received the amended complaint
he allegedly filed; he surmises that Leavenworth U.S.
Penitentiary must have misplaced it. On April 1, 2019, Locke
filed a motion for leave to amend his complaint with an
attached proposed amended complaint.
Seventh Circuit has stated that, when faced with a pro
se complaint, “it is incumbent on [the court] to
take appropriate measures to permit the adjudication of
pro se claims on the merits, rather than to order
their dismissal on technical grounds.” Donald v.
Cook Cty. Sheriff's Dep't, 95 F.3d 548, 555 (7th
Cir. 1996). Part of this responsibility includes assisting
pro se plaintiffs in determining the identities of
unnamed defendants and allowing plaintiffs to amend their
complaints to properly name the defendants. Id. In
some circumstances, the court may appoint counsel for the
limited purpose of assisting a plaintiff in amending the
complaint. Id. at 556.
the court directed the defendants to identify the recipients
of Locke's treatment requests while he was housed at
DCDF, and they did so. The court granted Locke an extension
of time to February 15, 2019, to file an amended complaint,
and Locke failed to meet the extended deadline. Correct Care
and Sheriff Schmidt, who later joined and adopted Correct
Care's position, argue that Locke's noncompliance
warrants dismissal, while Locke claims that he previously
filed an amended complaint that did not make it to the court
for some unknown reason. Whether Locke in fact filed a
complaint at the end of January 2019 is unclear, but it would
be an abuse of discretion at this stage to dismiss his claims
with prejudice given the court's “special
responsibility . . . to allow ample opportunity for amending
the complaint when it appears that by so doing the pro se
litigant would be able to state a meritorious claim.”
Id. at 555; see also Phillips v. Ill. Dep't
of Fin. & Prof'l Regulation, 718 Fed.Appx. 433,
436 (7th Cir. 2018). Locke has only been granted one previous
extension to file an amended complaint, and based on the
allegations in the original complaint and in the proposed
amended complaint, his allegations are not “patently
without merit.” See Williams v. Wahner, 731
F.3d 721, 734 (7th Cir. 2013). Accordingly, Locke's
motion for leave to amend his complaint will be granted,
Correct Care's motion to dismiss will be denied, and the
court will proceed to screen Locke's amended complaint.
of the Complaint
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).
of the Amended Complaint
allegations concern his time at DCDF from September 22, 2016,
through October 16, 2016. Locke claims that he was
transferred to DCDF from Green Bay Correctional Institution
(GBCI) on or about September 22, 2016, and that, upon
arrival, he completed a medical questionnaire stating that he
sustained a number of injuries in a car accident that were
being treated at GBCI. Locke reported that he had a spinal
cord injury, neck and back pain, and muscle spasms and
cramps, which interfered with his sleep and his ability to
stand up straight for an extended period. These injuries were
previously treated through use of a foam roller and physical
therapy, though Locke noted that physical therapy did not
help. Locke also wrote that a physician at GBCI recommended
that he request an MRI once transferred.
next day, on September 23, nurse Kassie Knoll responded,
stating that an MRI could not be conducted until Locke saw a
DCDF physician, who would determine whether to order an MRI
after reviewing Locke's medical file. Knoll told Locke to
ask medical staff during the day for a medical release of
information form to sign so that DCDF could obtain his
medical records. Knoll also told Locke that it can take 1-2
weeks to be seen by medical staff and that DCDF does not
issue foam rollers.
filed a medical request on September 24, stating that he is
in constant pain, unable to sleep, and experiencing neck and
back spasms. Locke asked for an additional mattress given
that DCDF does not issue foam rollers. Knoll responded the
following day, September 25, informing Locke that she cannot
provide him with an additional mattress, that he did not
bring medical papers with him to explain his pain, that he
needed to sign the medical release of information form, and
that he could request Tylenol up to three times per week.
Locke filed another medical request on September 26, asking
to be sent the release of information form. He alleges this
request was ignored.
September 29, Locke filed another medical request, stating
that his medical conditions were being ignored and that he
requested but had not received a release of information form.
Locke alleges that he asked several DCDF staff for the form
but was told that the sheets were not on the medicine cart.
Later the same day, Locke received and signed a medical
release of information form. On October 2, Locke inquired in
another request why the process of his medical records being
transferred took so long, and he noted that he was in
constant pain. ...