Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Tisher v. Tegels

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

April 24, 2019

THOMAS TISHER, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN L. TEGELS, MS. MASSAAN, SGT. BURKE, CO CRYIER, P. SCHULTZ, NURSE NORTHWOOD, MRS. ANDERSON, SGT. CULPERT, MS. WHEELAND, CAPTAIN B. MILLER, MATHEW GERBER, DR. L. LIU, K. LOOMIS, T. WALDERA and A. ALT, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          William M. Conley, District Judge.

         Pro se plaintiff Thomas Tisher filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Tisher claims that defendants, all employees of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment by failing to respond to his need for treatment for his spinal stenosis. Tisher's complaint is ready for screening as required by 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A. In addressing any pro se litigant's complaint, the court must read the allegations of the complaint generously. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521 (1972). Even under this generous standard, however, this complaint must be dismissed, although the court will give Tisher the opportunity to file an amended complaint that addresses the deficiencies described below.

         ALLEGATIONS OF FACT[1]

         While Tisher is no longer incarcerated, during the relevant time period he was a prisoner at Jackson Correctional Institution (“Jackson”) and Black River Falls Correctional Center (“Black River Falls”), where defendants were employed. The Jackson defendants are the Health Services Unit (“HSU”) Manager Mrs. Massaan; Unit Manager P. Schultz; Sergeant Burke; Correctional Officers Cryier; Warden Tegels; class specialists T. Waldera and A. Alt; and Dr. Liu. The Black River Falls defendants are Superintendent Mathew Gerber; Nurse Northwood; Captain Miller; Sergeant Culpert, a program manager; Mrs. Wheeland, a program instructor; R. Anderson, a program supervisor; and K. Loomis, a social worker.

         Tisher has been diagnosed with spinal stenosis in the lumbar region, meaning that the spaces between his spine have narrowed. This condition causes him chronic back pain. On November 14, 2017, while Tisher was incarcerated at Jackson, he requested to see a doctor. However, Tisher was transferred to Black River Falls on December 4, 2017, having never been seen at Jackson. When he arrived at Black River Falls, Tisher submitted a request to be seen, and a nurse examined him. Tisher does not provide details about what he reported to the nurse or anything else about their encounter.

         While at Black River Falls, Tisher participated in the Early Release Program (“ERP”), which required him to sit for three hours daily for educational programming. Tisher spoke with the program director about this requirement, asking for a different type of chair. Anderson responded that there was nothing that she could do for him. Tisher then asked Captain Miller for help, and Miller consulted with medical professionals about Tisher's request. Miller subsequently decided to transfer Tisher back to Jackson, where Tisher could receive treatment for his condition.

         It is unclear exactly when, but Tisher was transferred back to Jackson. Tisher did not see a doctor until March 5, 2017, but he has not provided details about what he reported to the doctor at that time or the treatment (if any) he received as a result of that appointment. Apparently Tisher's treatment caused him to be removed from the ERP.

         OPINION

         Plaintiff claims that defendants violated his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights because they failed to provide him timely medical care and discriminated against him by removing him from the ERP.

         I. Deliberate indifference

         A prison official who violates the Eighth Amendment in the context of a prisoner's medical treatment demonstrates “deliberate indifference” to a “serious medical need.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976). Forbes v. Edgar, 112 F.3d 262, 266 (7th Cir. 1997). “Serious medical needs” include (1) life-threatening conditions or those carrying a risk of permanent serious impairment if left untreated, (2) withholding of medical care that results in needless pain and suffering, or (3) conditions that have been “diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment.” Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d 1364, 1371 (7th Cir. 1997).

         “Deliberate indifference” encompasses two elements: (1) awareness on the part of officials that the prisoner needs medical treatment and (2) disregard of this risk by conscious failure to take reasonable measures. Allegations of delayed care, even a delay of a just a few days, may violate the Eighth Amendment if the alleged delayed caused the inmate's condition to worsen or unnecessarily prolonged his pain. See Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104-05, (1976); McGowan v. Hulick, 612 F.3d 636, 640 (7th Cir. 2010); Petties v. Carter 836 F.3d 722, 730-31 (7th Cir. 2016) (holding that inexplicable delay in medical treatment for a prisoner, which serves no penological interest, can support an inference of deliberate indifference, as element for a prisoner's Eighth Amendment claim); Grieveson v. Anderson, 538 F.3d 763, 779 (7th Cir. 2008) (guards could be liable under the Eighth Amendment for delaying treatment of broken nose for a day and half); Edwards v. Snyder, 478 F.3d 827, 830-31 (7th Cir. 2007) (a plaintiff who painfully dislocated his finger and was needlessly denied treatment for two days stated a claim for deliberate indifference). Thus, a plaintiff's claim has three elements under this standard:

1. Did plaintiff objectively need medical treatment?
2. Did defendants know that plaintiff needed ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.