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Sheppard v. Lee

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

April 22, 2019

CHARLES SHEPPARD, Plaintiff
v.
LEE, ANDERSON, SLAUGHT, SGT. BLOYER, KRAMER, HAINFIELD, and MARK KARTMAN, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          STEPHEN L. CROCKER MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Charles Sheppard, an inmate at the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility, has filed this civil lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, against the defendant WSPF employees. Sheppard accuses the defendants of Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference, failure to train, and state law negligence, all related to their apparent failure to ensure he received his medication in October 2016 and February 2017. (Pl. Am. Compl. (dkt. 16).)

         Before the court is defendants' motion for partial summary judgment. (Dkt. 20.) Defendants seek judgment in their favor on: (1) Sheppard's state law claims arising from the February 2017 incident because plaintiff failed to file a notice of claim as required by Wisconsin law; (2) Sheppard's state law claims arising from the October 2016 incident with respect to all defendants except for Bloyer because Sheppard named only Bloyer in the notice of claim he submitted for this incident; and (3) all claims against defendant Kartman for the reasons set forth above and on the merits of Sheppard's failure to train claim. For the reasons that follow, I am entering judgment in defendants' favor on Sheppard's state law claims related to the February 2017 incident, as well as to all defendants except for Bloyer with respect to the October 2016 incident. I am denying defendants' request for judgment in Kartman's favor on the Eighth Amendment claim.

         UNDISPUTED FACTS

         Charles Sheppard is incarcerated at WSPF in Boscobel, Wisconsin, where the events in this lawsuit took place. All of the defendants were employed at WSPF during the relevant time period. They are: Registered Nurses Gunner Lee, Sonya Anderson, and Becky Kramer; Correctional Officers Heidi Bloyer and Hunter Slaght; Captain Michael Hanfeld; and Security Director Mark Kartman.

         A. Overview of Claims

         Sheppard suffers from auditory hallucinations and depression, and he takes Wellbutrin, a brand of bupropion, a medication used to treat depression. On October 11, 2016, WSPF staff stopped providing Sheppard with his bupropion, despite Sheppard informing various WSPF correctional officers (including defendant Bloyer) and Health Services Unit (HSU) staff that he was not receiving his medications and was suffering withdrawal symptoms. Sheppard allegedly suffered withdrawal symptoms for several days before his buproprion prescription was restarted. Therefore, Sheppard is proceeding against defendants on Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference and Wisconsin negligence claims.

         Sheppard subsequently pursued a successful inmate complaint after this incident, which caused the Corrections Complaint Examiner (CCE) to send a memorandum to Waterman, Boughton, and Kartman, directing Kartman to remind staff of proper medication distribution. Sheppard has filed a copy of the record of the inmate complaint, WSPF-2016-22504. (Dkt. 1-1.) This document shows that on December 13, 2016, Welcome Rose “affirmed with modification” Sheppard's complaint about not receiving medications properly. Specifically, she concluded that the medication record showed that Sheppard missed two of his prescribed medications, one for three consecutive days and another for at least six of ten consecutive days. Rose observed that although Sheppard should have submitted a refill request or an HSR, DAI Policy #500.80.11 required staff to notify HSU whenever a medication was not available. Rose therefore recommended that Sheppard's complaint be affirmed, with the modification that a copy of the decision be “provided to Security Director Kartman to review medication delivery expectations with the appropriate staff.” (Id. at 2.) The DOC Secretary affirmed Rose's decision on November 30, 2016, and that affirmance includes a notation that the resolution would be emailed to Kartman. (Id.)

         During Kartman's deposition in this lawsuit, he testified generally about WSPF's medication distribution training for its correctional officers but he could not remember whether an investigation was conducted following the October 2016, nor could he remember whether he actually reviewed medication delivery expectations with staff around that time. (Kartman Dep. (dkt. 24) at 29-30.)

         Sheppard also has brought deliberate indifference and negligence claims related to a similar incident in February of 2017. In that incident, Sheppard's bupropion was unavailable for several days. Sheppard alleges that this caused him to suffer from painful withdrawal symptoms, to which defendants responded with deliberate indifference and negligence.

         Finally, Sheppard is proceeding against Kartman on a claim that, following the results of WSPF-2016-22504, he failed to train the correctional officers to alert HSU staff when prisoners' medications need to be refilled. In his amended complaint, Sheppard did not identify any additional defendants.

         B. Notice of Claim

         On November 1, 2016, Sheppard served by certified mail a notice of claim regarding the October 2016 incident involving his inability to receive his bupropion prescription in a timely manner. In the notice of claim, Sheppard explained his unsuccessful efforts to obtain a renewal of his bupropion. While he identified Bloyer as one of the individuals responsible for the lapse in him receiving his medication, Sheppard did not identify any other state employees, and instead wrote “Human Resource Dept. & HSU refuses to give me details on dates, times, names so you'll have to investigate.” (Notice of Claim (dkt. 23-1) at 3.) There is no indication that Sheppard has ever attempted to amend that notice of claim to include the other individuals allegedly involved in the events outlined in the notice.

         Following the February 2017 incident in which Sheppard did not receive his medication as prescribed, Sheppard ...


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