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Walton v. Henderickson

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

April 30, 2019




         Pro se plaintiff David Walton, who is incarcerated at the Waupun Correctional Institution, is proceeding on Fourteenth Amendment claims that defendants Ryan Hallman and Patrica Fish denied him access to adequate medical treatment and that defendants Stan Hendrickson, Hallman and Fish subjected him to unconstitutional conditions of confinement while he was incarcerated on a probation hold in the Monroe County jail. Before the court is defendants' motion for summary judgment. Dkt. #61. For the reasons explained below, I am granting defendants' motion for summary judgment and closing this case.

         From defendants' proposed findings of fact, I find the following facts to be undisputed unless otherwise noted. (Plaintiff did not file any proposed findings of fact of his own.)


         A. The Parties

         Plaintiff David Walton is incarcerated at the Waupun Correctional Institution, but all of the events relevant to his claims occurred while he was incarcerated for a probation violation at the Monroe County jail in Sparta, Wisconsin in June 2015. Defendants all worked at the jail when plaintiff was incarcerated there: Stan Hendrickson was the administrator and Ryan Hallman and Patrica Fish were sergeants.

         B. Plaintiff's Booking, Jail Transfer and Suicide Attempt

         After plaintiff was booked into the jail on June 12, 2015, he received a copy of Inmate Handbook #55, which states that “[i]f an inmate has a medical or mental health problem, they should fill out a medical request form. For medical emergencies notify the jail staff as soon as possible.” Dkt. #64-2 at 12. Defendants never denied plaintiff a complaint form.

         The “intake medical screening report” completed by jail staff and signed by plaintiff on June 12, 2015 states that at the time of booking, plaintiff denied being sick, taking any prescription medication or having past psychiatric treatment. Plaintiff stated that he had made a suicide attempt in 2012. The “health transfer summary” completed by jail staff on the same day listed “suicide attempts/threats, ” “unusual/bizarre behavior” and “hyper/anxious” as precautions but did not identify any current medical conditions or medications. Dkt. #64-3 at 2. (Plaintiff says that he was “showing signs of mental health” prior to booking and “disclosed his nerve pain to staff” at the time of booking and to defendant Hallman at a later time but does not state specifically what he told to Hallman or other jail staff. Dkt. #71 at ¶¶ 22 and 29.)

         On June 15, plaintiff was transferred to the Vernon County jail. The health transfer summary form completed on that day did not identify any precautions, medical conditions or medications for plaintiff. At the Vernon County jail, the booking officer screened plaintiff for medical and mental health problems, including the risk of suicidal behavior. The form states that plaintiff admitted having made multiple suicide attempts in the past but denied feeling suicidal on June 15 and denied taking any medication for mental health problems. Plaintiff signed the screening forms. (Although plaintiff contends that these screenings never happened, he has not supported his contention with an affidavit or any other admissible evidence and has not explained why he signed the forms.)

         On June 17, 2015, plaintiff attempted suicide and threatened to do so again if he was not returned to the Monroe County jail. He was transferred back to the Monroe County jail and placed on a suicide watch for the remainder of June 17 and on June 18, 2015. (Although defendants say that the duration of the suicide watch was 24 hours, plaintiff says that it was only 18 hours.) The suicide watch ended on June 18, 2015, after plaintiff spoke with Dr. Butler, who determined that plaintiff was no longer at risk. (The parties dispute whether plaintiff saw mental health clinician Kay Lisick on June 22, 2015. Defendants have presented clinical records in which Lisick notes that she saw plaintiff on that day; that plaintiff reported having diagnoses of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression that required medication; and that she referred plaintiff to Dr. Butler for possible psychotropic medication. Plaintiff avers that this visit did not occur, but in his earlier deposition testimony, he admitted that it was possible he saw Lisick on this day but does not remember it.)

         C. Disciplinary Confinement

         On June 24, 2015, plaintiff was disciplined for a major violation for his July 17th threat that he would commit suicide if he was not returned to the Monroe County jail. He waived his right to a hearing on the matter and did not appeal the disciplinary determination that followed. Defendants Fish and Hallman imposed an eight-day discipline on plaintiff, which included confinement in a holding cell from June 24 to 27, 2015 and confinement in a general population block cell from June 28 to July 1, 2015. During the disciplinary confinement, plaintiff was allowed out of his cell for one hour each day and his personal belongings and mattress were removed from his cell for several hours each day. (Defendants say that the items were removed for 12 hours a day, which they say complies with Wis. Admin. Code § DOC 350. Plaintiff says that the items were removed for 15 hours a day.) However, plaintiff had a mattress to sleep on every night, was provided with hygiene products and was allowed to shower. He was provided clean clothing and bedding on June 20, 2015.

         Plaintiff testified at his deposition that his initial holding cell was extremely uncomfortable, with a probable temperature in the mid to high 80s during the day but cooler at night. Dkt. #60 at 25-28. He described the cell as being “a ...

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