United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE
Roosevelt Williams, a prisoner incarcerated at Waupun
Correctional Institution, alleges that prison officials at
Columbia Correctional Institution failed to provide him with
medical treatment for his gout, forced him to use a top bunk
even though it caused him pain, and retaliated against him
for complaining about these and other issues when he was
housed there. Plaintiff has filed several motions, all of
which I will deny for the reasons stated below.
has filed a document he calls a motion to compel discovery,
asking defendants to produce various documents. Dkt. 59.
Defendants respond that they did not receive any previous
discovery requests from Williams, nor did Williams attempt to
confer with them. Dkt. 63. They interpret his motion as a
mistaken attempt at requesting discovery. From Williams's
briefs and letters following up on the issue, I take him to
be saying that he did not receive defendants' opposition
brief and that he indeed asked for discovery in conjunction
with his motion for summary judgment, Dkt. 45. He also asks
for entry of default judgment against defendants for their
failure to respond to his discovery requests and motion.
See Dkt. 68 and Dkt. 75.
problem for Williams is that he does not include any formal
discovery requests that he contends he sent to defendants,
other than a document included with his summary judgment
motion, titled “‘Truth Testing' Discovery of
State Prison Defendants.” Dkt. 50. This appears to be a
cover letter associated with requests for production of
documents: Williams states “please find herewith, the
original draft of this Rule 34 discovery of documents.”
Id. at 1. But the docket entry does not include
attached discovery requests. I will deny Williams's
motion to compel because he has not shown that he actually
addressed requests for production of documents to defendants
before filing the motion to compel. And I'll deny his
motion for default judgment. However, defendants should treat
the motion to compel as Williams's discovery requests and
respond to them promptly.
has filed a motion for issuance of a subpoena ordering
Columbia Correctional Institution to produce video footage of
several medication-pass incidents in which Williams says that
defendant Carl would not let him leave his cell for
treatment. Dkt. 62. I will deny this motion, at least for
now, because there is no reason to think that Williams needs
to subpoena a third party to obtain this footage, if it
indeed exists. Prisoners ordinarily make this type of request
directly to the defendants. Defendants should respond to
Williams's motion as if it were a request for production
of the footage.
filed a second motion for issuance of subpoena aimed at
defendants to force them to filed a response to his summary
judgment motion. Dkt. 71. But that isn't a proper use of
a subpoena so I will deny his motion. Defendants' summary
judgment response deadline is governed by this court's
orders. The deadline stands at October 25, 2019, after
Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker's order granting
defendants a two-month extension of their time to file a
response, to match the dispositive motions deadline.
See Dkt. 56. Williams asks for reconsideration of
the decision extending that deadline. See Dkt. 77.
But it's relatively commonplace for this court to grant a
party's motion for extension of time to brief a summary
judgment motion where it doesn't otherwise interfere with
the court's schedule; in fact the court granted
Williams's own motion for a similar extension in the
'789 case. See Dkt. 163 in the '789 case. I
see no reason to reconsider Magistrate Judge Crocker's
decision; I'll issue a ruling on both sides' summary
judgment motions when they are fully briefed.
Recruitment of counsel
has filed two motions renewing his request for the
court's assistance in recruiting him counsel. Dkt. 69 and
Dkt. 78. I denied Williams's previous requests in part
because he not provided the names of three attorneys who
turned down his requests for assistance. See Dkt.
11, at 6-7; Dkt. 26, at 2-3. Williams has now provided those
names, so he has met this part of the test.
so, I will deny Williams's renewed motions for another
reason I mentioned in my previous denials. I am not convinced
that the legal and factual difficulty of the case exceeds his
ability to prosecute it. Williams says that he has a
third-grade education level, that it is difficult for him to
litigate the case as an indigent prisoner, and that the case
may involve complex medical issues. But Williams's
relative lack of education and litigation abilities are
relatively common among prisoner plaintiffs in this court and
are not themselves enough to distinguish Williams from dozens
of other inmates seeking assistance from a limited pool of
potential lawyers. Williams has already litigated two cases
through summary judgment in this court, see Williams v.
Fry, No. 15-cv-212-jdp, 2017 WL 1194721 (W.D. Wis. Mar.
30, 2017); Williams v. Musha, No. 14-cv-789-jdp,
2019 WL 1385744 (W.D. Wis. Mar. 27, 2019). Although Williams
lost those cases, his filings in those lawsuits and this one
persuade me that Williams is capable of presenting his case.
And at this point, I cannot tell whether this case will boil
down to complex medical issues. Williams contends in part
that defendants wouldn't let him leave his cell to get
medical treatment, which is an issue that could be resolved
without complex medical testimony. So I will deny
Williams's motions for the assistance of counsel,
although I will revisit the issue if summary judgment
briefing shows that counsel is necessary.
of the reasons that Williams says he needs counsel is that
defendants have told him that they want to depose him.
Williams wants the court to enter an order extending this
time to respond to defendants' notice of deposition to
after the late October dispositive motions deadline. I'll
deny this motion because Williams give no reason to postpone
a deposition, besides the lack of counsel. But I am denying
his motions for recruitment of counsel and there is no reason
to think that a deposition will be too complex for Williams
to handle on his own. To sit for a deposition, Williams does
not need to have a knowledge of the law or make complex legal
arguments. He simply needs to answer defendants'
questions and tell his side of the story.
that defendants have not yet asked for leave to take
Williams's deposition, as required under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 30(a)(2)(B). But this court routinely grants