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Moffett v. Milwaukee County Jail

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

August 21, 2019

DAYONE LAMONTE MOFFETT, Plaintiff,
v.
MILWAUKEE COUNTY JAIL, Defendant.

          ORDER

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

         Plaintiff Dayone Lamonte Moffett, who is incarcerated at Waupun Correctional Institution, proceeds in this matter pro se. He filed a complaint alleging that Defendant violated his constitutional rights. (Docket #1). This matter comes before the court on Plaintiff's motion to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee (in forma pauperis). (Docket #2). Plaintiff has been assessed and has paid an initial partial filing fee of $12.19. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b).

         The court shall 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 or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised 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. Id. § 1915A(b).

         A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Hutchinson ex rel. Baker v. Spink, 126 F.3d 895, 900 (7th Cir. 1997). The court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. “Malicious, ” although sometimes treated as a synonym for “frivolous, ” “is more usefully construed as intended to harass.” Lindell v. McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107, 1109- 10 (7th Cir. 2003) (citations omitted).

         To state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading system, the plaintiff is required to provide a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). It is not necessary for the plaintiff to plead specific facts and his statement need only “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). However, a complaint that offers mere “labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). To state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, “that is plausible on its face.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The complaint's allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation omitted).

         In considering whether a complaint states a claim, courts should follow the principles set forth in Twombly by first, “identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Legal conclusions must be supported by factual allegations. Id. If there are well-pleaded factual allegations, the court must, second, “assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id.

         To state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. Section 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 deprivation was visited upon him by a person or persons 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 is obliged to give the plaintiff's pro se 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)).

         Plaintiff alleges that he was housed in the Milwaukee County Jail on May 15, 2017, and was given the wrong medication by an unnamed nurse. (Docket #1 at 2). Plaintiff was supposed to receive an Ibuprofen, but was instead given a Valium. Id. at 2-3. The Valium made Plaintiff drowsy. Id. at 3. The medical staff did not give Plaintiff any treatment, instead letting the medication's effects wear off over time. Id.

         Plaintiff's allegations invoke his Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care. Prison officials violate this right when they “display deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners.” Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 652 (7th Cir. 2005) (quotation omitted). Deliberate indifference claims contain both an objective and a subjective component: the inmate “must first establish that his medical condition is objectively, ‘sufficiently serious, '; and second, that prison officials acted with a ‘sufficiently culpable state of mind,' - i.e., that they both knew of and disregarded an excessive risk to inmate health.” Lewis v. McLean, 864 F.3d 556, 562-63 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994) (internal citations omitted)).

         While his experience may not have been pleasant, Plaintiff's allegations are not anywhere near severe enough to implicate constitutional concerns. Being given one incorrect dosage, and merely becoming drowsy as a result, is not a serious medical condition. Further, there is no indication that the medication mix-up was anything other than an innocent mistake. The Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to state a viable claim for relief, and will therefore dismiss this action with prejudice.

         Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee (in forma pauperis) (Docket #2) be and the same is hereby GRANTED;

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this action be and the same is hereby DISMISSED with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b)(1) for failure to state a claim;

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court document that Plaintiff has incurred a “strike” under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g);

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the agency having custody of Plaintiff shall collect from his institution trust account the balance of the filing fee, $337.81, by collecting monthly payments from Plaintiff's prison trust account in an amount equal to 20% of the preceding month's income credited to Plaintiff's trust account and forwarding payments to the Clerk of Court each time the amount in the account exceeds $10 in accordance with 28 U.S.C. ยง 1915(b)(2). The payments shall be clearly identified by the case name and number assigned to this action. If Plaintiff is transferred to another institution, ...


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