United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
LEANDER J. GREGG, Plaintiff,
THE STATE OF WISCONSIN, EAU CLAIRE COUNTY JAIL, CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS, OFFICER J. KERNS, OFFICER OATES and DAVID P., RN, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
Barbara B. Crabb, District Judge.
plaintiff LeAnder J. Gregg filed a civil action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, contending that staff at the Eau Claire
County jail violated his constitutional rights by giving him
another inmate's medication and then refusing to send him
to the hospital. His complaint is before the court for
screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons
below, I conclude that plaintiff's allegations do not
support a constitutional claim against any defendant.
Accordingly, I will dismiss this case.
18, 2018, while plaintiff was incarcerated at the Eau Claire
County jail, defendant Officer Oates gave plaintiff
medication in a cup. Plaintiff took the medication and, about
30 minutes later, started having stomach pain. Plaintiff used
the emergency phone to call the on-duty nurse, defendant
David P., who stated that the medication cups had not been
labeled and that Officer Oates had given plaintiff medication
belonging to another inmate with a similar name. David P.
said the medication could be causing the stomach pain and
offered plaintiff a slice of pizza to ease the symptoms.
However, defendant Officer Kerns stated that plaintiff could
not have the pizza. Kerns also denied plaintiff's request
to be sent to the hospital.
says that he would like to bring claims under the
constitution and state law. Plaintiff's allegations
implicate either the Eighth or Fourteenth Amendments, both of
which impose duties on government officials regarding the
safety and well-being of individuals in their custody. The
Eighth Amendment “prohibits the infliction of
‘cruel and unusual punishments' on those convicted
of crimes.” Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294,
297 (1991). A prison or jail official violates the Eighth
Amendment if the official acts with “deliberate
indifference” to a “substantial risk of serious
harm” to an inmate's health or safety. Farmer
v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). The Fourteenth
Amendment applies to claims brought by pretrial detainees,
who are not convicted prisoners. Kingsley v.
Hendrickson, 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2473 (2015). A prison or
jail official violates the Fourteenth Amendment if the
official's actions are “objectively
unreasonable.” Id.; Miranda v. County of
Lake, 900 F.3d 335, 350-53 (7th Cir. 2018). This means
that the official acted (1) purposefully, knowingly or
recklessly when considering the consequences of his or her
actions on plaintiff; and (2) the actions were unreasonable
in light of the totality of the circumstances.
Miranda, 900 F.3d at 352-53. A showing of negligence
or even gross negligence is not sufficient under either the
Eighth or Fourteenth Amendment. Id.
cannot determine what standard applies to plaintiff's
case because he does not say whether he had been convicted
and was serving a sentence at the Eau Claire County jail in
July 2018, or whether he was being held as a pretrial
detainee. However, plaintiff's allegations are not
sufficient to state a claim for relief under either standard.
There may be some circumstances in which a jail
official's act of administering the wrong medication to
an inmate would support a constitutional claim. For example,
an inmate may state an Eighth or Fourteenth Amendment claim
if he alleges that a jail official provided the wrong
medication intentionally, routinely or with such carelessness
or recklessness that it appeared the official was failing to
take reasonable precautions when distributing medications.
in this instance, plaintiff's allegations do not suggest
that any of the individual defendants acted with deliberate
indifference or took actions that were objectively
unreasonable. He alleges only that defendant Oates made one
error in distributing medication and that defendant Nurse
David P. erred by failing to label the medication cups. His
allegations concern a single instance in which an officer
mistakenly delivered medication to an inmate that was
intended for a different inmate with a similar name. These
allegations suggest negligence at the most and do not support
a claim of deliberate indifference or objective
plaintiff's allegations that defendant Kerns would not
send him to the hospital or let him eat pizza do not support
constitutional claims. Although plaintiff says he had stomach
pain, his allegations do not suggest that he needed any
medical treatment, let alone emergency medical treatment at a
hospital. Plaintiff does not specify which medication he took
or include any allegations suggesting that the single dose of
medication presented a substantial risk of serious harm or
even caused him extended discomfort. His allegations suggest
that the medical provider on staff, David P., did not think
plaintiff needed medical treatment and that his pain would
likely resolve after plaintiff ate something or waited for a
reasonable period of time. For all of these reasons,
plaintiff has failed to state a constitutional claim.
ORDERED that this case is DISMISSED for plaintiff LeAnder J.
Gregg's failure to state a federal claim upon which
relief may be granted. A strike shall be recorded in
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). The clerk of court