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Jackson v. La Du-Ives

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

September 6, 2019



          Barbara B. Crabb District Judge

         Pro se plaintiff Terry Jackson filed a civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, contending that staff at the Marathon County jail violated his constitutional rights by denying him access to medications, retaliating against him and failing to schedule him for an x-ray in a timely manner. His complaint is before the court for screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, to determine whether any portion of his complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         I conclude that plaintiff may not proceed with his lawsuit for two reasons. First, his complaint does not contain allegations sufficient to state a claim against any defendant. Second, his complaint appears to contain unrelated claims and multiple defendants. Therefore, I will dismiss plaintiff's claim without prejudice, but will give plaintiff an opportunity to file an amended complaint that corrects these problems. After plaintiff files an amended complaint, I will determine whether he may proceed with any of his claims.

         Plaintiff alleges the following facts in his complaint.


         Plaintiff Terry Jackson was arrested on January 3, 2019 and incarcerated at the Marathon County jail. The next day, plaintiff discussed his medications with a nurse. Defendant Dr. John Doe approved plaintiff's five medications, which included Xarelto, a blood thinner. Because plaintiff is a disabled veteran, he does not have to pay for his medications. They are shipped monthly from Wausau, Wisconsin to plaintiff's sister. Jail staff agreed that plaintiff's sister could drop off plaintiff's sealed medications every month at the jail and that jail staff would then dispense the medications. (Plaintiff does not say who approved this.) Plaintiff's sister brought his medications to the jail for almost three months without incident.

         On March 4, 2019, a nurse accidentally placed an order for two of plaintiff's medications, including Xarelto, which costs $417.39 a month. Plaintiff notified defendant Sandra La Du-Ives, the jail administrator, that the medications had been ordered in error and plaintiff requested a refund. It took approximately three weeks for plaintiff's money to be refunded to his account.

         Shortly after the money was refunded, defendant Lieutenant Lucas Volden told plaintiff that La Du-Ives had decided that plaintiff's medications could no longer be brought to the jail by plaintiff's sister. La Du-Ives also notified plaintiff that the jail would no longer dispense medications brought by his sister. Another inmate is still permitted to order medications directly from a pharmacy in Milwaukee.

         In 2001, plaintiff contracted tuberculosis while incarcerated at the Marathon County jail. After he was incarcerated in January 2019, jail staff arranged for him to have a chest x-ray in April 2019.


         Plaintiff states that he is bringing the following claims: (1) a Fourteenth Amendment claim against Sandra La Du-Ives and jail medical staff for denying him the medications brought to the jail by his sister; (2) a Fourteenth Amendment claim against jail medical staff for failing to schedule a chest x-ray in a timely fashion; and (3) a First Amendment retaliation claim against La Du-Ives. I will address each of these claims below.

         A. Fourteenth Amendment Claims

         The Fourteenth Amendment applies to claims brought by pretrial detainees, who are not convicted prisoners. Kingsley v. Hendrickson, 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2473 (2015). A prison or jail official violates the Fourteenth Amendment if the official's actions are “objectively unreasonable.” Id.; Miranda v. County of Lake, 900 F.3d 335, 350-53 (7th Cir. 2018). To state a claim that jail staff violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights to adequate medical care, plaintiff must allege facts suggesting that (1) he suffered from an objectively serious medical condition, and (2) jail staff's response to it was objectively unreasonable. Miranda, 900 F.3d at 352-53. A showing of negligence or even gross negligence is not sufficient under either the Eighth or Fourteenth Amendment. Id.

         Plaintiff's allegations are too vague to meet this standard. As for his claim regarding his medications, I can assume for purposes of screening that he has objectively serious medical conditions that require him to take prescription medication. However, plaintiff's allegations do not suggest that defendants' conduct was objectively unreasonable. He alleges only that defendant La Du-Ives decided that his sister could no longer bring his medication to the jail, but he does not explain what happened after La Du-Ives made that decision. It is not clear whether the plaintiff did not receive his medication at all or whether the jail ordered the medication for plaintiff. If plaintiff did not receive any of his medications after La Du-Ives changed the policy regarding medication distribution, then plaintiff would have a potential Fourteenth Amendment claim against her. If plaintiff was still able to receive his medications after the policy change, I can see no basis for a Fourteenth Amendment claim against La Du-Ives in relation to plaintiff's medical care. In addition, although plaintiff says that jail medical staff deprived him of ...

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