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Bowman v. Neumann

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

June 5, 2019

RODNEY BOWMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
CPT. MARK NEUMANN, SHERIFF GRADY HARTMAN, and LT. KEITH FABIANSKI, Defendants.

          ORDER

          J. P. Stadtmueller, U.S. District Judge.

         Plaintiff Rodney Bowman, who is confined at the Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution, filed a pro se civil rights case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the defendants violated his constitutional rights when he was confined at the Oneida County Jail (the “Jail”). This Order resolves Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepaying the filing fee and screens his complaint. This case was previously assigned to Magistrate Judge David E. Jones. However, because not all parties have had the opportunity to consent to magistrate judge jurisdiction, the case was reassigned to a district judge for entry of this order dismissing the case.

         1. Motion for Leave to Proceed without Prepaying the Filing Fee

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act applies to this case because Plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed his complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1915. That law allows a court to give an incarcerated plaintiff the ability to proceed with his case without prepaying the civil case filing fee, as long as he meets certain conditions. One of those conditions is that Plaintiff pay an initial partial filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). Once Plaintiff pays the initial partial filing fee, the Court may allow him to pay the balance of the $350 filing fee over time, through deductions from his prisoner account. Id.

         On May 2, 2019, Magistrate Judge Jones ordered Plaintiff to pay an initial partial filing fee of $12.66. (Docket #7). Plaintiff paid that fee on May 16, 2019. Therefore, the Court will grant his motion for leave to proceed without prepaying the filing fee. He must pay the remainder of the filing fee over time in the manner explained at the end of this Order.

         2. Screening the Complaint

         2.1 Federal Screening Standard

         The Court is required to 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 if the plaintiff raises 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). To state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, “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)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows a court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 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 defendant was acting under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore v. Cty. 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 gives a pro se plaintiff's 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, 106 (1976)).

         2.2 Allegations in the Complaint

         Plaintiff was confined at the Jail when he filed the complaint. (Docket #1 at 1). On May 28, 2019, he notified the Court that he had been transferred to the Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution. (Docket #8).

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner who was temporarily housed at the Jail. (Docket #1 at 3, 4). He “questions the safety standards of facility procedures and operations” at the Jail. Id. at 3. According to Plaintiff, the east cell/unit bed structures are missing ladders and cross bars to prevent inmates from accidental injury. Prisoners assigned to upper bunks in the east cell/unit use the toilet or sink to climb up to upper bunk. Alternatively, inmates sleep on the floor to avoid potential injury. Inmates experience these hazardous conditions and have had injuries due to the inadequate assembly of bunk beds. Recently, Plaintiff witnessed an inmate fall from an upper bed. The inmate severely injured his left leg and knee, and he was transported to the emergency room.

         Plaintiff states that the Jail's “housing, feeding, and equipment usage used by state/county inmates for safety and prevention of overall facility cell/units” should be upgraded. Id. at 5. He brings this case seeking “investigation and inspection for operation review.” Id. For relief, Plaintiff seeks an injunction ordering an investigation of the Jail's housing conditions and enforcement of an order to correct hazardous conditions and prevent use of out-of-date equipment.

         2.3 ...


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