United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION
FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT AGAINST JOHN M. PATTERSON
JOSEPH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before me on plaintiff Rachel Kelty's motion
for default judgment against defendant John M. Patterson
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). I held an evidentiary hearing on
this motion on April 9, 2019 at which Kelty testified and
presented other evidence. After carefully considering the
evidence presented at the hearing and Kelty's
post-hearing submission, for the reasons stated below, I
recommend that the court grant Kelty's motion for default
judgment against Patterson and award Kelty $900, 000 in
compensatory damages and $1, 500, 000 in punitive damages.
18, 2018, Rachel Kelty initiated this civil rights action
against Michael Bednarek, Sarah Cooper, Ana Boatwright, and
John M. Patterson based on sexual harassment and multiple
sexual assaults she experienced as an inmate at Taycheedah
Correctional Institution (“TCI”). (Docket # 1.)
Kelty served her complaint on the defendants on May 31, 2018.
(Docket # 28 at 1.) On June 25, 2018 Kelty requested an entry
of default against Patterson because he neither appeared nor
answered the complaint. (Docket # 10.) On June 26, 2018, the
Clerk of Court entered default as to Patterson. (Docket #
11.) On July 14, 2018, Kelty amended her complaint, removing
Boatwright as a defendant. (Docket # 14.) On December 11,
2018, Kelty reached a settlement with Cooper and Bednarek.
(Docket # 22, Docket # 26.) The parties filed a joint
stipulation and order of dismissal on February 1, 2019, in
which Kelty voluntarily dismissed Cooper and Bednarek.
(Docket # 27.)
filed a motion for default judgment against Patterson on
February 6, 2019. (Docket # 28.) Judge Stadtmueller then
referred the case to me for the limited purpose of conducting
a hearing on Kelty's motion and issuing a recommendation
on whether the motion should be granted and, if so, what
damages, fees, and costs Kelty is entitled to. (Docket # 29.)
amended complaint states that in 2001, at the age of
eighteen, she was sentenced to a term of confinement and
assigned to the maximum-security unit at Taycheedah
Correctional Institution (“TCI”). (Id.
¶¶ 10-11.) Around 2004, Kelty met Patterson, a
correctional officer who occasionally worked on the
maximum-security unit. (Id. ¶¶ 12-13.)
Patterson was approximately fifty years old. (Id.
¶ 12.) After their initial meeting, Patterson was
friendly towards Kelty and would joke around with her,
establishing a comfortable rapport. (Id. ¶ 14.)
2005, Kelty was transferred out of the maximum-security unit
and moved to a medium-security unit at TCI. (Id.
¶ 15.) She was approximately twenty-two years old.
(Id.) Patterson, who was then approximately
fifty-one years old, was staffed at the medium- security unit
at the time. (Id. at 16.) Upon Kelty's arrival
at the unit, Patterson continued his friendly ways, joking
with Kelty and not strictly enforcing institutional rules.
(Id. ¶ 17.)
the summer of 2005, the medium-security unit was hot, and
Kelty would sleep without a shirt for comfort. (Id.
¶ 19.) One night in the summer of 2005, Patterson
repeatedly shined his flashlight into Kelty's face
through her cell door as she slept, causing Kelty to awaken
and sit up; the sheet that had been covering her fell off her
upper body and exposed her breasts. (Id. ¶ 20.)
Patterson stood at the window staring at Kelty and shining
his light on her; he left the area only when Kelty's
cellmate awoke angry that the light was being shone in the
room. (Id. ¶ 21.) Approximately ten more times
that summer, Patterson stopped at Kelty's cell after
lights-out and shined his flashlight on her. (Id.
¶ 22.) Kelty understood this to be a signal that she was
supposed to flash her private parts at Patterson, which she
did. (Id.) Around the same time, Patterson also made
inappropriate sexual comments to Kelty. (Id.
asserts that Patterson sexually assaulted her three times.
The first sexual assault occurred sometime between June 30
and July 6, 2005. (Id. ¶ 26.) Patterson
instructed Kelty to go to the blanket room to retrieve a
laundry bag. (Id. ¶ 27.) Patterson accompanied
Kelty to the blanket room, instructed her to enter, and
blocked the door so that she could not exit. (Id.
¶ 28.) Without Kelty's permission, Patterson grabbed
her breast and kissed her on the mouth. (Id. ¶
29.) After that assault, Kelty attempted to avoid Patterson
as much as possible, but he would force interactions, such as
approaching the table where Kelty was eating with other
inmates or opening the door to Kelty's cell soliciting
her to come out. (Id. ¶¶ 30-32.)
two days after the first assault, Patterson opened the door
to Kelty's cell and instructed her to get some sheets
from the same blanket room where the prior sexual assault had
occurred. (Id. ¶¶ 33-34.) Patterson
accompanied Kelty into the blanket room and blocked the exit.
(Id. ¶¶ 35-36.) Patterson then lifted
Kelty's shirt and touched and kissed her breasts; he also
touched her buttocks and her crotch outside her clothes.
(Id. ¶ 37.) Patterson pushed his body into
Kelty so that she could feel that he had an erection.
(Id. ¶ 38.) A few days after the second sexual
assault, Patterson stopped by Kelty's cell following her
shower time and watched her get dressed. (Id. ¶
between July 21 and July 26, 2005, Patterson sexually
assaulted Kelty a third time. (Id. ¶ 40.)
Patterson opened Kelty's room and instructed her to
obtain cleaning supplies from a janitor's closet and
accompany him to a room across from the maintenance room in
AB North. (Id. ¶¶ 41-42.) Patterson
instructed Kelty to go inside and clean the room, followed
her inside, and shut the door. (Id. ¶¶
43-45.) Patterson instructed Kelty to remove her shorts,
which she did. (Id. ¶ 46.) Patterson then
forcibly placed Kelty on a table, knelt down, and began
performing nonconsensual oral sex. (Id. ¶ 47.)
Patterson then forcibly placed Kelty's hand on his erect
penis. (Id. ¶ 48.) Kelty pushed Patterson away
and left the room. (Id. ¶ 49.)
time did Kelty consent to any of Patterson's sexual acts.
(Id. ¶ 50.) During every sexual assault, Kelty
was terrified. (Id. ¶ 51.) Kelty was not
sexually attracted to men, which was known to Patterson.
(Id. ¶ 52.) Patterson's sexual assaults
caused Kelty fear, anger, shock, and disgust. (Id.
¶ 53.) They made Kelty feel worthless and disposable
because, given Patterson's position of power over her,
she had no recourse; she did not feel like she could report
the assaults to any authority and, even if she did, she did
not think any authority would believe her. (Id.
about October 6, 2005, the Fond du Lac Police Department
commenced an investigation into Patterson's sexual
assault of Kelty. (Id. ¶ 55.) On October 7,
2005, Patterson gave a statement to police admitting that he
twice sexually assaulted Kelty at TCI. (Id. ¶
56.) That investigation resulted in two felony charges being
filed against Patterson on October 19, 2005, for his sexual
assault of Kelty. (Id. ¶ 57.) On April 12,
2006, Patterson pleaded no contest to two counts of having
had sexual contact with Kelty without her consent.
(Id. ¶ 58.) He was sentenced to probation.
(Id.) Kelty received no compensation as a result of
Patterson's prosecution, nor has she received any other
award of damages as a victim of Patterson's sexual
assaults. (Id. ¶ 59.)
amended complaint claims that Patterson's behavior
violated her right to humane conditions of confinement as
guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983
and her constitutional right to privacy. (Id. ¶
94.) She also claims that Patterson's conduct constituted
intentional discrimination on the basis of sex in violation
of the Fourteenth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
(Id. ¶ 98.) Kelty claims that Patterson's
conduct caused physical, psychological, and emotional
injuries, and financial loss, which she will continue to
suffer in the future. (Id. ¶¶ 95, 99.) She
also claims that Patterson's unlawful conduct was
intentional and malicious or was wantonly committed in
reckless or callous disregard of her constitutional rights.
(Id. ¶¶ 96, 100.) Kelty requests
compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorney's
fees and costs. (Id. at 16.)