United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
LAVALL T. LEE, Plaintiff,
ARMOR CORRECTIONAL HEALTH SERVICES, NURSING SUPERVISOR BRITTANY, and MILWAUKEE COUNTY, Defendants.
Stadtmueller, U.S. District Judge.
Lavall T. Lee (“Lee”), who is incarcerated at
Racine Correctional Institution, proceeds in this matter
pro se. He filed a complaint alleging that
Defendants Armor Correctional Health Services
(“Armor”) and a nursing supervisor at the
Milwaukee County Jail (the “Jail”) named Brittany
(“Brittany”) violated his constitutional rights
while he was incarcerated at the Jail in 2018. (Docket #1).
Plaintiff subsequently filed a motion to amend his complaint
and a proposed amended complaint that adds Milwaukee County
as a Defendant. (Docket #5 and #5-1). The motion to amend
will be granted. The amended complaint supersedes the first
complaint and is the governing pleading in this case. See
Massey v. Helman, 196 F.3d 727, 735 (7th Cir. 1999). Lee
has paid the full filing fee.
of the payment of a filing fee, the Court is required to
screen 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); Gladney v. Pendelton Corr. Facility, 302
F.3d 773, 774 (7th Cir. 2002). 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; Gladney, 302 F.3d at 774. “Malicious,
” although sometimes treated as a synonym for
“frivolous, ” “is more usefully construed
as intended to harass.” Lindell v. McCallum,
352 F.3d 1107, 1109 (7th Cir. 2003) (citations omitted);
accord Paul v. Marberry, 658 F.3d 702, 705 (7th Cir.
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)); see Christopher v. Buss, 384 F.3d
879, 881 (7th Cir. 2004). However, a complaint that offers
“labels and conclusions” or “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); Christopher, 384
F.3d at 881.
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. § 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)).
alleges that he was in custody at the Jail from January 3 to
December 11, 2018. (Docket #5-1 at 3). On April 3, 2018, Lee
began complaining of severe stomach pain, coughing up blood,
and having blood in his stool. Id. He was charged
$20 for a medical “co-payment” and given Tylenol.
Id. On April 15, he complained of the same
conditions, verbally and by way of a written request.
Id. at 4. He was charged another $20 co-payment but
nothing was done to determine the cause of his illness.
Id. On April 16, Lee submitted a third request for
medical services for the same symptoms, which had now become
more severe. Id. at 4. On April 24, he was seen by
health services staff; he was “triaged” and his
temperature and blood pressure were taken. Id.
7, Lee filed the first of several inmate grievances,
complaining that he was being denied adequate medical
treatment. Id. His grievance was forwarded to
medical records for documentation and a disposition of
“CORRECTED” was attached. Id. However,
Lee was not examined by a nurse practitioner or a doctor.
14, 22, and 26, Lee submitted additional requests for medical
services. Id. He was charged $20 for each request
and was triaged by a nurse, but he says the “primary
issue” that he complained about was not addressed.
18, Lee filed another grievance, complaining that he was
taking medication that was given to him by medical staff but
that the medication was not working (Lee does not say when or
from whom he received this medication). Id.
Lee's grievance was forwarded to the health services
staff for a response. Id. Brittany, a nursing
supervisor at the Jail, deemed the grievance
“unfounded” because Lee had refused medication on
May 16, 2018. Id. Lee maintains that the medication
he refused was for blood pressure control and had
“absolutely nothing to do with his chief
August 13, Lee filed another request for medical care for the
same issues, was charged $20, and was scheduled to see a
doctor. Id. On August 24, before his scheduled
doctor's appointment, Lee had a “medical
emergency” and verbally alerted Correctional Officer
Hebbe (“Hebbe”). Id. at 5. Lee says he
was bleeding and could barely move, and at that point Hebbe
called health services. Id. After no medical staff
responded, Hebbe called over the radio to announce the
medical emergency, but still no one came. Id.
Eventually, Brittany contacted Hebbe on the jail phone and
said she knew about the situation with Lee but she could not
give a medical emergency order because there was nothing she
could do for Lee. Id. Lee says he immediately
submitted a grievance for this conduct. Id. He does
not say how his medical emergency resolved that day.
September 5, Lee was seen by a doctor and was diagnosed with
an H. pylori bacterial infection in his gastrointestinal
tract, which causes a condition known as duodenitis.
Id. He was also diagnosed with diverticulitis,
gastritis, and internal hemorrhoids. Id. The
treating doctor advised Lee that these problems could have
been avoided if he would have been diagnosed and treated
sooner. Id. Lee alleges that all of these conditions
cause him a considerable amount of pain and suffering.
amended complaint crosses the low threshold set at screening
to state a claim for deliberate indifference to his serious
medical need, in violation of the Eighth Amendment, against
the nursing supervisor, Brittany. To sustain such a claim, a
plaintiff must show: (1) an objectively serious medical
condition; (2) that the defendant knew of the condition and
was deliberately indifferent in treating it; and (3) this
indifference caused him some injury. Gayton v.
McCoy, 593 F.3d 610, 620 (7th Cir. 2010). The deliberate
indifference inquiry has two components. “The official
must have subjective knowledge of the risk to the
inmate's health, and the official also must disregard
that risk.” Id. Here, Lee alleges that
Brittany was repeatedly made aware of his ...