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Henry v. Sprague

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

August 6, 2019

MARCUS M. HENRY, Plaintiff,
CO SPRAGUE, et al., Defendants.


          William E. Duffin U.S. Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Marcus Henry, an inmate confined at Green Bay Correctional Institution (GBCI), filed a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the defendants violated his civil rights. This court has jurisdiction to screen Henry's complaint and resolve his motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee based on his full consent to magistrate judge jurisdiction (ECF No. 5) and the Wisconsin Department of Justice's limited consent to magistrate judge jurisdiction, as set forth in the Memorandum of Understanding. Although Henry filed a follow-up request refusing magistrate judge jurisdiction (ECF No. 8), once a party has consented he cannot change his mind.

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

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) applies to this case because Henry was a prisoner when he filed his complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(h). The PLRA allows the court to give a prisoner plaintiff the ability to proceed with his case without prepaying the civil case filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2). When funds exist, the prisoner must pay an initial partial filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). He must then pay the balance of the $350 filing fee over time, through deductions from his prisoner account. Id.

         On July 1, 2019, the court ordered Henry to pay an initial partial filing fee of $0.87. (ECF No. 6.) Henry paid that amount on July 12, 2019. Therefore, the court will grant Henry's 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

         Under the PLRA, the court must screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint if the prisoner 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 include “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The complaint must contain enough facts, accepted as true, to “state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic 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). The court construes pro se complaints liberally and holds them to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by lawyers. Perez v. Fenoglio, 792 F.3d 768, 776 (7th Cir. 2015).

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983, Henry 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. County of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Kramer v. Village of North Fond du Lac, 384 F.3d 856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)); see also Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980).

         2.2 Allegations in the Complaint

         On February 1, 2017, defendant Correctional Officer Sprague passed out medication in the segregation unit at GBCI. (ECF No. 1 at 2.) When Sprague got to Henry's cell, he “took out the cards and just started popping meds into the cup.” (Id.) Henry took the pills. (Id.)

         As Sprague was putting the cards back, Henry thought that he saw a card that wasn't his, so he asked Sprague to check the card. (Id.) Sprague noticed that he had given Henry another inmate's “psychotropic medication.” (Id.) Sprague called nurse Ashley Heumpfner and told her what happened. (Id. at 4.) Heumpfner checked Henry's vitals but didn't send him to the hospital even though Henry had told her that he felt “sick and weird.” (Id.)

         Henry states that he takes a lot of blood pressure medication and didn't know how another inmate's medication could have reacted with his. (Id.) He states that he “could've died.” (Id.) He also states that Health Services Manager Jean Lutsey knows that correctional officers are not trained to pass out medication, yet she still ...

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