United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
WILLIAM M. CONLEY District Judge.
plaintiff Adam Joseph Huschka brings this action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against the Rock County Youth Services
Center (“Center”) and Mercy Health Clinic.
Huschka claims that these defendants violated his
constitutional rights when he was injured at the Center and
treated at the Mercy Health Clinic in 2014. The complaint is
now before the court for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2). After review, the court concludes that
while plaintiff may be able to articulate a constitutional
claim, he will be required to amend his complaint that names
a proper defendant and provides more details about who at the
Center or Mercy Health Clinic could have prevented his injury
to avoid dismissal.
around April 7, 2014, Huschka was arrested and taken to the
Center. Before he could be booked into custody, he was taken
to Mercy Health Clinic to be medically cleared. At the time,
he was under the influence of cough syrup, but apparently he
was inappropriately cleared to be placed into custody. After
he was booked at the Center, he fell over a balcony when he
was walking to his cell. Huschka broke his cheekbones and jaw
as a result of his fall, and he continues to suffer from a
No. of lingering health issues, including breathing problems,
damaged hearing and vision, and chronic headaches.
allegations implicate a constitutional claim, but it is
unclear what constitutional standard applies since different
constitutional provisions apply to different stages of
confinement. The Fourth Amendment applies to the period
between a warrantless arrest and the probable-cause
determination; the Fourteenth Amendment applies to the period
between the probable-cause determination and the conviction;
and the Eighth Amendment applies to the period after the
conviction. Collins v. Al-Shami, 851 F.3d 727, 731
(7th Cir. 2017). If plaintiff had not attended a probable
cause hearing at the time of his fall, the Fourth Amendment
applies to his claims, Ortiz v. City of Chi., 656
F.3d 523 (7th Cir. 2011) (applying the Fourth Amendment
reasonableness standard to medical care claim when plaintiff
had not been through a probable cause hearing during the
relevant time period); if he had attended such a hearing, he
would constitute a pretrial detainee and his claims would be
governed by the due process clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment, Smith v. Dart, 803 F.3d 304, 309-10 (7th
purposes of screening, the court will apply the more rigorous
standard applicable to pretrial detainees. Historically, the
Seventh Circuit has applied the Eighth Amendment standard to
detainee's claims related to medical care, but it
recently changed course based on the Supreme Court's
reasoning in Kingsley v. Hendrickson, 135 S.Ct.
2466, 2475 (2015), that excessive force claims by pretrial
detainees are governed by the due process clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment, and that the standard is whether the
defendant's actions were objectively unreasonable given
the circumstances. Specifically, in Miranda v. County of
Lake, 900 F.3d 335 (7th Cir. 2018), the Seventh Circuit
extended the logic in Kingsley to medical care claims.
Id. at 352-53. Therefore, under Kingsley and
Miranda, the failure to provide safe conditions of
confinement violates the Due Process Clause if: (1) the
defendants acted with purposeful, knowing, or reckless
disregard of the consequences of their actions; and (2) the
defendants' conduct was objectively unreasonable.
Miranda v. Cty. of Lake, 900 F.3d 335, 352-53 (7th
Cir. 2018). While it is not enough to show negligence, the
plaintiff is not required to prove the defendant's
subjective awareness that the conduct was unreasonable.
Id. at 353.
plaintiff's allegations generously and in a light most
favorable to him, plaintiff presented at the Center and
Medical Health Clinic in a clearly inebriated state that
either required medical attention or at least a delay until
he was booked at the Center to keep him safe. Given that
plaintiff alleges that juveniles must be medically cleared to
be booked at the Center, it is reasonable to infer that the
staff, either at the Center or Medical Health Clinic,
responded unreasonably to his need for further treatment at
the clinic. While ultimately the facts may bear out that the
mistake amounted to just negligence, at this stage it would
appear that plaintiff has pled sufficient facts to support a
Fourteenth Amendment claim.
plaintiff may not proceed at this time because he has not
identified a proper defendant. The Center and the clinic are
not suable entities for purposes of § 1983; both are
buildings and cannot be sued because it cannot accept service
of the complaint. Smith v. Knox Cty. Jail, 666 F.3d
1037, 1040 (7th Cir. 2012). Therefore, if plaintiff wants to
proceed on his claims in this lawsuit, he will need to file
an amended complaint that identifies a proper defendant. Such
a defendant would include any Center or Mercy Health Clinic
employee that was involved in allowing plaintiff to proceed
to the Center while inebriated or failing to ensure that he
was safe while he was at the Center. Minix v.
Canarecci, 597 F.3d 824, 833-34 (7th Cir. 2010)
(“[I]ndividual liability under § 1983 requires
personal involvement in the alleged constitutional
deprivation.”). If plaintiff does not know the
identities of such person or persons, he may amend his
complaint and identify the defendant or defendant by the name
“Jane Doe” or “John Doe” as
appropriate. Should plaintiff take that approach, the court
will screen his complaint and plaintiff will then be afforded
the opportunity to conduct discovery that will help him
identify and substitute the proper defendants.
Plaintiff Adam Huschka's complaint is DISMISSED without
prejudice for failure to identify a proper defendant.
Plaintiff may have until July 17, 2019, to submit an
amended complaint that identifies a suable person or entity
for purposes of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. If plaintiff fails to
respond by that deadline, then this case will be dismissed
with prejudice for failure to prosecute.