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Williams v. Ellefson

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

October 1, 2019

TRAVIS DELANEY WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
ELLEFSON, WEBSTER, BRADLEY FEDIE, ROTH, LAXTON, RUDIE, SAYLOR, JOLINDA WATERMAN, JULIA PAYNE, NURSE JANE DOE, and JOHN DOES, Defendants.

          SCREENING ORDER

          William C. Griesbach, Chief United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Travis Delaney Williams, an inmate confined at the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility, filed a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendants violated his rights under federal and state law. This order resolves Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepaying the filing fee and screens his complaint.

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

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) applies to this case because Plaintiff 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 August 30, 2019, the court waived Plaintiff's obligation to pay an initial partial filing fee. ECF No. 8. The court will grant Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepaying the filing fee. He must pay the entire $350 filing fee over time in the manner explained at the end of this order.

         B. Screening the Complaint

         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).

         In determining whether the complaint states a claim, the court applies the same standard that applies to dismissals under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Cesal v. Moats, 851 F.3d 714, 720 (7th Cir. 2017) (citing Booker-El v. Superintendent, Ind. State Prison, 668 F.3d 896, 899 (7th Cir. 2012)). 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).

         To state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that someone deprived him of a right secured by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, and that whoever deprived him of this right was acting under the color of state law. D.S. v. E. Porter Cty. Sch. Corp., 799 F.3d 793, 798 (7th Cir. 2015) (citing Buchanan-Moore v. Cty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009)). The court construes pro se complaints liberally and holds them to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by lawyers. Cesal, 851 F.3d at 720 (citing Perez v. Fenoglio, 792 F.3d 768, 776 (7th Cir. 2015)).

         2. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff alleges that, on February 24, 2019, defendant correctional officer Ellefson gave him another inmate's medication. After taking the medication, Plaintiff asked to see the medication cards Ellefson had been looking at. Plaintiff, whose first name is Travis, noticed that Ellefson had given him Derek Williams' medication. Plaintiff notified Ellefson of his error, to which Ellefson allegedly responded, “Ahh man.” ECF No. 1 at 6. Plaintiff allegedly explained to Ellefson that one of the medications he gave Plaintiff was Trazadone and that Plaintiff had been weaning himself off of Trazadone because it gives him bad stomach aches and occasionally causes stomach bleeding. Plaintiff demanded to see a nurse. Plaintiff states that Ellefson ignored him.

         According to Plaintiff, Ellefson called defendant correctional officer Laxton, and the two began to whisper to one another while thumbing through the inmate medication cards. Plaintiff allegedly overheard Laxton instruct Ellefson on how to cover up his mistake. Plaintiff asserts that he immediately pressed his call button and spoke to defendant sergeant Saylor. After Plaintiff told Saylor what was going on and explained that he needed to see a nurse, Saylor allegedly said he would look into it.

         Plaintiff explains that, as he was waiting, he “started getting a real bad case of acid reflux.” ECF No. 1 at 7. Plaintiff asserts that he has “GERD very bad, ” which he treats with five different medications. Id. According to Plaintiff, the condition causes him to “regurgitate his food or vomit, ” which burns his throat, and can cause bloody stool. Id. Plaintiff asserts that he began to vomit up small chunks of food with spots of blood. He took some TUMS, hoping to counteract the burning sensation, but it did not work. According to Plaintiff, his condition worsened. He began to vomit up larger chunks of food with more blood. Plaintiff states that he pushed his call button and again explained his situation to Saylor ...


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