United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
RAYMOND J. BERGERON DAVILA, Plaintiff,
CHARLES WINSEL, ANTONIO CHAVES, JOEL VOGT, JAMIE ERVIN, ROBERT MASTRONARDI, VELA CHASE, C.O. YOSIF, JASON YOHN, LT. MAGICAL, BRADLEY FRIEND, and JOHN DOES, Defendants.
Stadtmueller, U.S. District Judge.
Raymond J. Bergeron Davila proceeds in this matter pro
se. He filed a complaint alleging that Defendants
violated his constitutional rights. (Docket #1). This matter
comes before the court on Plaintiff's petition to proceed
without prepayment of the filing fee (in forma
pauperis). (Docket #5). Due to Plaintiff's
indigence, the Court waived payment of an initial partial
filing fee (“IPFF”) in his case. (Docket
The Court proceeds to screen the complaint.
court shall screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking
relief against a governmental entity or an 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. Id. §
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). The court may, therefore, dismiss a
claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327.
“Malicious, ” although sometimes treated as a
synonym for “frivolous, ” “is more usefully
construed as intended to harass.” Lindell v.
McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107, 1109- 10 (7th Cir. 2003)
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). It is not
necessary for the plaintiff to plead specific facts and his
statement need only “give the defendant fair notice of
what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S.
41, 47 (1957)). However, a complaint that offers mere
“labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). To state
a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, “that is plausible on its
face.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). 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).
considering whether a complaint states a claim, courts should
follow the principles set forth in Twombly by first,
“identifying pleadings that, because they are no more
than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Legal
conclusions must be supported by factual allegations.
Id. If there are well-pleaded factual allegations,
the court must, second, “assume their veracity and then
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief.” Id.
state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, a
plaintiff must allege that: 1) he was deprived of a right
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and
2) the deprivation was visited upon him by a person or
persons acting under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore
v. County of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir.
2009) (citing Kramer v. Vill. of N. Fond du Lac, 384
F.3d 856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)); see also Gomez v.
Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). The court is obliged
to give the plaintiff's pro se allegations,
“however inartfully pleaded, ” a liberal
construction. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97,
are employees of the Racine County Jail (the
“Jail”). Plaintiff has been regularly housed at
the Jail in connection with various state criminal cases
pending against him. Plaintiff alleges that on October 22,
2018, he cut the inside of his mouth with a razor blade he
obtained from another inmate. (Docket #1). As an inmate with
a history of self-harming conduct, Plaintiff was housed in a
unit specifically intended for suicidal inmates. Id.
He states that he should not have been allowed to come into
contact with non-suicide-status inmates, which would have
prevented him from obtaining the blade. Id.
Plaintiff then used the blade to cut himself in the presence
of each Defendant. Id. None of them did anything to
stop Plaintiff's self-harming activity until he was taken
to the hospital some hours later. Id. Plaintiff
insists that his conduct was founded on genuine suicidal
ideations, although he refused medical treatment for his
injuries at the hospital. Id.
may proceed against Defendants for their deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs, in violation of
the Eighth Amendment. Claims for deliberate indifference to an
inmate's suicide risk are legion in federal courts, and
so extensive case law has developed to interpret them. The
basic formulation of the claim involves an objective and a
subjective component. Collins v. Seeman, 462 F.3d
757, 760 (7th Cir. 2006). First, Plaintiff must show that the
harm (or potential harm) was objectively, sufficiently
serious and a substantial risk to his health. Id.;
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994).
“It goes without saying that ‘suicide is a
serious harm.'” Sanville v. McCaughtry,
266 F.3d 724, 733 (7th Cir. 2001) (quoting Estate of Cole
by Pardue v. Fromm, 94 F.3d 254, 261 (7th Cir. 1996)).
It is not clear that Plaintiff's cutting could have
actually led to his death. Further, Plaintiff's refusal
of medical care makes the Court skeptical of the seriousness
of his injuries. Nevertheless, in light of the low level of
scrutiny applied at the screening stage, the Court can infer
that the risk of harm was sufficiently serious.
Plaintiff must establish that Defendants displayed deliberate
indifference to his risk of suicide. Collins, 462
F.3d at 761; Sanville, 266 F.3d at 733. This, in
turn, requires a dual showing that Defendants (1)
subjectively knew that Plaintiff was at substantial risk of
committing suicide and (2) were deliberately indifferent to
that risk. Matos ex rel. Matos v. O'Sullivan,
335 F.3d 553, 556 (7th Cir. 2003). Plaintiff's
allegations, viewed generously, can support each showing.
From those allegations, the Court can infer that Defendants
could have either stopped Plaintiff from obtaining the blade,
or could have taken it out of his mouth while he was cutting
himself, but that they chose to do nothing.
the Court finds that Plaintiff may proceed on the following
claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b): Deliberate
indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs on
October 22, 2018, in violation of the Eighth Amendment, by
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff's first
motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing
fee (in forma pauperis) (Docket #5) be and the same
is hereby GRANTED;
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's second
motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing
fee (in forma pauperis) (Docket #8) be and the same
is hereby DENIED as moot;
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the United States Marshal
shall serve a copy of the complaint and this order upon
Defendants pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4.
Plaintiff is advised that Congress requires the U.S. Marshals
Service to charge for making or attempting such service. 28
U.S.C. § 1921(a). The current fee for waiver-of-service
packages is $8.00 per item mailed. The full fee schedule is
provided at 28 C.F.R. §§ 0.114(a)(2), (a)(3).
Although Congress requires the Court to order service by the
U.S. Marshals Service precisely because in ...