United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
TROY G. HAMMER, Plaintiff,
DR. SAMANTHA SCHWARTZ-OSCAR, LT. DANIEL CUSHING, SGT. GREGORY FRIEDEL, STEPHANIE WIJAS, MICHAEL DEDERING, DALIA DEDERING, TYLER WILLIQUETTE, and SCOTT HANSEN, JR., Defendants.
WILLIAM C. GRIESBACH, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT
Troy G. Hammer, who is currently serving a state prison
sentence at Columbia Correctional Institution and
representing himself, filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging that his civil rights were violated.
This matter comes before the court on Hammer's motion for
leave to proceed without prepaying the full filing fee and to
screen the complaint.
to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing Fee
has requested leave to proceed without prepayment of the full
filing fee (in forma pauperis). A prisoner plaintiff
proceeding in forma pauperis is required to pay the
full amount of the $350.00 filing fee over time. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Hammer has filed a certified
copy of his prison trust account statement for the six-month
period immediately preceding the filing of his complaint, as
required under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2), and has been
assessed and paid an initial partial filing fee of $25.13.
Hammer's motion for leave to proceed without prepaying
the filing fee will be granted.
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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).
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times relevant to this action, Hammer was incarcerated at
Green Bay Correctional Institution (GBCI) and all defendants
were employees of GBCI. Hammer alleges that he was placed on
clinical observation status in cell 405 around 5:45 p.m. on
July 3, 2017. According to Hammer, around 6:30 p.m.,
Correctional Officer (CO) Michael Dedering (M. Dedering)
witnessed him engaging in self-mutilation with a razor blade,
but M. Dedering intentionally walked away and took no action.
Shortly thereafter, CO Tyler Williquette witnessed Hammer
engaging in self-mutilation and called for help. Hammer was
escorted to the health services unit (HSU) and, while there,
continued to verbalize suicidal ideation, including a threat
to slice his neck if he wasn't strapped down. He alleges
that HSU nurse Stephanie Wijas intentionally disregarded his
safety and failed to provide adequate medical and
was transported to strip cell 621, where he continued to
threaten self-harm. He specifically stated that he would
slice his neck open as soon as he was placed back in a cell
instead of being placed in bed restraints. He alleges that
Lieutenant Daniel Cushing, Sergeant Gregory Friedel, Wijas,
and COs Williquette, M. Dedering, Dalia Dedering (D.
Dedering), and Scott Hansen, Jr. heard his threat yet did not
place him in bed restraints or initiate another form of
psychological care. Instead, they allegedly ignored the
threat and placed Hammer back in cell 405. Hammer also
alleges these defendants were aware that he had a razor blade
because it had not been confiscated.
returning to cell 405 at approximately 9:00 p.m. and being
placed on constant observation status, Hammer again acted on
his suicidal ideation by lacerating his neck, and CO Hansen,
Jr. immediately notified staff. Hammer alleges that CO D.
Dedering arrived at his cell and stated “you
should've cut deeper.” Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 25.
Hammer was escorted to HSU and then to St. Vincent Hospital,
where he received sutures in his neck and wrist.
point after Hammer was placed on observation status, Dr.
Samantha Schwartz-Oscar allegedly spoke with Lt. Cushing
about Hammer's suicidal state, as well as his continued
threats of self-harm. Hammer alleges that Dr. Schwartz-Oscar
and Lt. Cushing disregarded his suicidal threats and
intentionally ignored the use of bed restraints. Hammer
alleges that Dr. Schwartz-Oscar was aware of his significant
history of suicide attempts and self-harm and the fact that
his threats were to be taken seriously. Hammer also claims
Dr. Schwartz-Oscar knew he possessed a razor blade. Hammer
sues all defendants in their individual capacities.
indifference to an inmate's serious medical needs,
including thoughts of suicide and self-harm, violates the
Eighth Amendment. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
828 (1994); Miranda v. County of Lake, 900 F.3d 335,
349 (7th Cir. 2018) (“We repeatedly have recognized a
jail or prison official's failure to protect an inmate
from self-harm as one way of establishing deliberate
indifference to a serious medical need. The obligation to
intervene covers self-destructive behaviors up to and
including suicide.” (internal citations omitted)). To
state a deliberate indifference claim, a plaintiff must
allege objective and subjective elements: (1) the harm that
befell him was objectively, sufficiently serious and a
substantial risk to his health or safety, and (2) the
defendants were deliberately, that is, subjectively,
indifferent to that substantial risk. Farmer, 511
U.S. at 832. In cases involving suicide or attempted suicide,
the objective element is met by virtue of the act of or
attempt to commit suicide, Sanville v. McCaughtry,
266 F.3d 724, 733 (7th Cir. 2001), and the subjective element