United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION AND ORDER
D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff Deyontae Cornail Stinson, an inmate at Columbia
Correctional Institution (CCI), sustained a serious injury to
his right knee in February 2017. He alleges that health-care
staff at CCI have failed to address his medical needs in the
aftermath of that injury by failing to promptly schedule him
for a needed surgery and by depriving him of ibuprofen to
address his pain.
court has granted Stinson leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
Dkt. 4. I must now screen his complaint and dismiss any
portion that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money
damages from a defendant who by law cannot be sued for money
damages. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A. In doing so,
I must accept his allegations as true, see Bonte v. U.S.
Bank, N.A., 624 F.3d 461, 463 (7th Cir. 2010), and
construe the complaint generously, holding it to a less
stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.
Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751 (7th Cir.
may have viable constitutional and state-law claims, but he
has not explained how the defendants he named are
specifically responsible for those violations. So I will
dismiss his complaint and give him a chance to file an
February 18, 2017, Stinson was playing basketball at CCI when
he severely injured his right knee. He was rushed to
CCI's health service unit (HSU), where he was seen by a
registered nurse (whose name he does not know). The nurse
observed that Stinson's knee was swollen in an unnatural
way. She sent Stinson back to his housing unit in a
wheelchair with a bag of ice, but she did not provide him
with an x-ray or pain medication. On February 20, 2017,
Stinson was seen by another unknown nurse, who also sent him
back to his housing unit without an x-ray.
18, 2017, Stinson was seen by defendant Salamullah Syed, a
doctor, who ordered an MRI. That MRI occurred on July 11,
2017. It revealed a “complex tear.” Dkt. 1, at 3.
Stinson says that he was told that a knee surgery had been
scheduled for November 16, 2017, but that date came and went
without Stinson receiving his surgery. Stinson filed a
grievance about the delay in care on February 5, 2018.
See Dkt. 1-1. The inmate complaint examiner
recommended that Stinson's complaint be dismissed, noting
that “[w]hile there was a period of delay . . ., care
has been occurring and plans for continued care are in
process. Noting that surgery is scheduled, recommendation is
for dismissal.” Id. at 1. Stinson ultimately
received the promised surgery on March 15, 2018.
also alleges that he was deprived of ibuprofen for a several
days in January 2018. Stinson was in segregation at the time
and was experiencing considerable pain. He filed a grievance
about the deprivation on February 8, 2019. See Dkt.
1-2. That grievance was affirmed after the inmate complaint
examiner determined that “the medication should have
been reissued through HSU after the [segregation] placement.
Recommendation is to affirm the complaint with copies to the
Deputy Warden and [Health Service Managers] to review the
process of reissuing medication for [Restrictive Housing]
Unit Moves.” Dkt. 1-2, at 1.
attempts to assert Eighth Amendment medical care claims and
state-law medical malpractice claims. I understand his claims
to arise out of two incidents related to his knee injury: (1)
the delay in scheduling his surgery; and (2) the failure to
provide him with pain medication while in segregation.
Delay in scheduling Stinson's knee surgery
contends that all five defendants violated the Eighth
Amendment and Wisconsin law by failing to promptly schedule
him for surgery once the extent of his injury became clear.
The Eighth Amendment prohibits prison officials from acting
with deliberate indifference toward prisoners' serious
medical needs. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97,
103-104 (1976). To state a deliberate indifference claim,
Stinson must allege that each defendant was aware of a
serious medical need and consciously failed to take
reasonable measures to help him. Duckworth v. Ahmad,
532 F.3d 676, 679 (7th Cir. 2008). A serious medical need is
a condition that a doctor has recognized as needing treatment
or one for which the necessity of treatment would be obvious
to a lay person. Johnson v. Snyder, 444 F.3d 579,
584-85 (7th Cir. 2006). Delays in treatment may constitute
deliberate indifference if they unnecessarily prolong the
prisoner's pain. Smith v. Knox Cty. Jail, 666
F.3d 1037, 1040 (7th Cir. 2012).
infer from Stinson's allegations that his knee injury
constituted a serious medical need for purposes of the Eighth
Amendment. But I cannot tell from Stinson's allegations
how these five defendants he names were responsible for the
delay he experienced in getting the surgery he needed.
Stinson says that “health service request forms show
the names of the defendants who were [primarily responding to
his] medical needs” were defendants Angela Hodge (HSU
assistant manager), Teresa Eailr (a registered nurse), and
Denise Valerius (another registered nurse). Dkt. 1, at 4. But
he doesn't explain what relief he asked for in his health
service requests forms, so I cannot tell whether Hodge,
Eailr, and Valerius were aware that Stinson needed surgery
and failed to take reasonable measures to help him.
same goes for defendants Schueler and Syed. Stinson does not
make any specific allegations about Schueler, other than
noting that she was the health service manager during the
period at issue. But to be liable under the Eighth Amendment,
a defendant must have personal involvement in the
constitutional deprivation. Hildebrandt v. Ill. Dep't
of Nat. Res., 347 F.3d 1014, 1036 (7th Cir. 2003). This
means that an official must have participated in the alleged
conduct or facilitated it. It is not enough to show that a
particular defendant is the supervisor of someone else who
committed a constitutional violation. Burks v.
Raemisch, 555 F.3d 593-94 (7th Cir. 2009)
(“Liability depends on each defendant's knowledge
and actions, not on the knowledge or actions of persons they
supervise.”). As for the allegations about defendant
Syed, Stinson says that he saw Syed on May 18, 2017, and that