United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
Stadtmueller, U.S. District Judge.
Daquon Youngblood, who is incarcerated at Fox Lake
Correctional Institution (“FLCI”), proceeds in
this matter pro se. He filed a complaint alleging
that Defendants 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 #4). Plaintiff has been
assessed and has paid an initial partial filing fee of
$18.28. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b).
Court proceeds to screen the complaint, as it is required to
do with 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. §
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, 352
F.3d at 1109-10 (citations omitted).
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).
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.
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)).
times relevant to this case, Plaintiff was an inmate at FLCI,
and Defendants were various correctional, healthcare, and
social services personnel employed at FLCI. (Docket #1 at
1-2). Plaintiff was transferred to FLCI in December 2017.
Id. at 2. Plaintiff alleges that he suffered a back
injury in August 2016, but does not describe the injury in
any detail, other than to say that he “broke” his
back. Id. at 3. He claims that the injury makes it
difficult to get in and out of a top bunk, and that he had a
back brace amongst his property when he was transferred.
arrived at FLCI, Plaintiff told a staff member that he had a
lower bunk restriction. Id. at 2. The staff member
responded that the restriction was expired before Plaintiff
came to FLCI. Id. Plaintiff was told that he should
pursue a new lower bunk restriction if he wanted one.
Id. He submitted a health services request, which
was referred to the special needs committee. Id. at
2-3. In February 2018, the committee denied Plaintiff's
request for a lower bunk restriction, stating that he did not
meet the criteria for it. Id. at 3. He was further
informed that he could seek additional treatment for his back
issues if he so desired. Id.
apparently did so, at least sporadically. In October 2018,
Plaintiff entered physical therapy for his back pain.
Id. He told the therapist that he had substantial
difficulty getting in and out of the top bunk. Id.
at 4. In July 2019, Plaintiff wrote another health services
request seeking a lower bunk restriction. Id. That
request was likewise referred to the special needs committee.
August 3, 2019, Plaintiff fell from the top bunk in the
middle of the night. Id. He lost consciousness and
was taken to the hospital. Id. Doctors did not
detect any broken bones, but told Plaintiff that he may have
aggravated his old back injuries. Id. at 5. When he
returned to FLCI, Plaintiff was confined to his room for a
few days to recover. Id. He was also removed from
his work assignment. Id. Plaintiff was also finally
assigned to a lower bunk. Id. at 6.
alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his
serious medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Specifically, he contends that they knew of his complaints of
pain, difficulty getting in and out of bed, and his medical
history, and yet still did not approve his lower bunk
restriction. Id. at 6.
Eighth Amendment provides, inter alia, that
prisoners are entitled to a minimal level of healthcare while
in custody. Petties v. Carter, 836 F.3d 722, 727-28
(7th Cir. 2016). This right is violated when the prisoner
shows that they “suffered from an objectively serious
medical condition, ” and that “the individual
defendant was deliberately indifferent to that
condition.” Id. at 728. The Gayton
case neatly summarizes the claim:
[T]he plaintiff must show that: (1) [he] had an objectively
serious medical condition; (2) the defendants knew of the
condition and were deliberately indifferent to treating
h[im]; and (3) this indifference caused h[im] some injury. An
objectively serious medical condition is one that has been
diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that
is so obvious that even a lay person would perceive the need
for a doctor's attention. A medical condition need not be
life-threatening to be serious; rather, it ...