United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION AND ORDER
D. PETERSON, District Judge.
plaintiff George Taylor, an inmate at Columbia Correctional
Institution, has filed several lawsuits that I have
consolidated into this one. Taylor alleges that he received
incorrect medication on three occasions under the
prison's system of having correctional officers, not
medical staff, distribute inmates' medication. I granted
Taylor leave to proceed on claims that defendant Correctional
Officers Robert Doyle, Michael Stephens, Thomas Mitchell, and
Brittany Hibma violated the Eighth Amendment to the United
States Constitution and Wisconsin negligence law in
dispensing his medication or denying him care. Dkt. 5; Dkt.
63; Dkt. 78. I also granted him leave to proceed on claims
that defendants Jon Litscher, the former secretary of the
Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC), and Michael
Dittmann, the prison's warden, violated the Eighth
Amendment in administering the prison's system of
dispensing medication. Dkt. 5.
are two related motions before me: defendants' motion for
summary judgment, Dkt. 89, and Taylor's motion to
incorporate his proposed findings of fact from his prior
motion for a preliminary injunction, Dkt. 102. I will grant
Taylor's motion to incorporate his previous proposed
findings of fact, Dkt. 42, which defendants don't oppose.
I will consider defendants' response to that filing, Dkt.
57, as their response here, as they have requested, Dkt. 105,
at 1 n.1. Defendants' motion for summary judgment is
substantially successful: Taylor hasn't complied with
state and federal requirements to move forward with his
claims against Mitchell, and he doesn't respond to
defendants' arguments regarding his request for
prospective relief against Litscher and Dittmann. So I will
grant defendants' motion for summary judgment regarding
those claims. I will also grant defendants' motion as to
Taylor's Eighth Amendment claims against Doyle, Stephens,
and Hibma. But the parties haven't adequately briefed
Taylor's claims for money damages against Litscher and
Dittmann, so I will reserve ruling on those claims as well as
on Taylor's state-law negligence claims against Doyle,
Stephens, and Hibma.
following facts are undisputed except where noted.
prison and other DOC institutions rely on correctional
officers to help distribute medication to inmate patients.
Under the distribution system in place until December 2018,
DOC policy required correctional officers to do three things
before giving medication to a patient: (1) verify the
patient's identity; (2) compare the label on the
medication against the patient's medication record; and
(3) show the medication label to the patient. Dkt. 7-2, at 3.
This allowed both the officer and the patient to verify the
patient's name, medication, and dose. Id.
received and took incorrect medications on three occasions
under this system. He alleges that Litscher and Dittmann
recklessly administered the prison's system of dispensing
medications despite their knowledge that the system was
unsafe. I will describe the events surrounding his
allegations against the other defendants below.
Officer Doyle was responsible for distributing Taylor's
medication on April 26, 2017. The only prescription that
Taylor should have received at that time was for
diphenhydramine. When giving medication to Taylor, Doyle
looked at the wrong entry in his paper medication log because
the pages had been turned without his knowledge. Instead of
diphenhydramine, Doyle gave Taylor two tablets of
acetaminophen and one tablet of buspirone, which Taylor took.
After Taylor took these pills, Doyle noticed that the
medication log was turned to the wrong page. He told Taylor
about the mistake, informed his supervisor, and contacted the
Health Services Unit, which sent a nurse to assess Taylor.
Taylor says he experienced drowsiness, stomach pain,
lightheadedness, vomiting, depression, and a headache after
taking these pills. He also says that he fell and cut his head
the next morning because he felt dizzy and drowsy.
Officer Michael Stephens was responsible for dispensing
Taylor's medication on April 1, 2018. Taylor was supposed
to receive a dose of propranolol, but Stephens gave him a
dose of ACET/ASA/CAFF, a pill containing aspirin,
acetaminophen, and caffeine. Shortly after Taylor took the
pill, Stephens realized his mistake and contacted a nurse in
the Health Services Unit. The nurse told Stephens that the
medication wouldn't adversely affect Taylor. Stephens
told this to Taylor, who then returned to his unit. Stephens
then told his supervisor about the mistake. Afterwards,
Taylor reported that he experienced a “massive”
headache after taking the medication. Dkt. 94-2, at 13. He
also said he experienced dizziness, causing him to fall and
hit his head, and that his throat swelled. Id.
alleges that he told Mitchell about the side effects he
experienced from the medication given to him by Stephens but
that Mitchell refused to help him. A few days later, Taylor
filed a complaint against both Stephens and Mitchell. Dkt.
98-1, at 2. Because the complaint raised three distinct
issues against two correctional officers, prison staff
refused to accept it, directing Taylor to submit separate
complaints against the two officers within 10 days if he
wished to pursue his grievances. Id. at 1. Taylor
submitted a revised complaint against Stephens, but he
didn't file one against Mitchell.