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Lampley v. Latour

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

December 9, 2019




         Plaintiff Steven Lampley is a former Wisconsin state prisoner who is representing himself. He filed a complaint, alleging that the defendants acted with deliberate indifference to the risk that he would attempt suicide in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Dkt. No. 1 at 2-5. The court allowed the plaintiff to proceed on that claim. Dkt. No. 17. The defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment, dkt. no. 36, as has the plaintiff, dkt. no. 49. The court will deny the plaintiff's motion and will grant in part and deny in part the defendants' motion.

         I. Facts

         The plaintiff was incarcerated at the Green Bay Correctional Institution during the relevant period. See Dkt. No. 1. On the morning of June 4, 2017, defendants Correctional Officer Jocelyn Johnson and Brad Latour were directed to move the plaintiff from a cell in the 500-wing of the Restrictive Housing Unit to cell 231. Dkt. No. 37 at ¶1. The plaintiff testified in his deposition that he had been purposefully getting conduct reports for some time, and that he intended to serve out the remainder of his prison term in the Restrictive Housing Unit. Id. at ¶2. He testified that although long-term segregation could have an adverse effect on some inmates, it did not have that effect on him because he wanted to be there. Id. at ¶3. The plaintiff further testified that a staff member had promised him that he would be able to remain in the 500-wing of the unit, which was a quieter unit. Id. at ¶4. The plaintiff said that as soon as Johnson and Latour told him he was being moved to cell 231, he knew that this was part of a certain supervisor's new plan to move all inmates who were refusing to leave the unit to the same area. Id. at ¶5.

         The defendants assert that it is “undisputed that Plaintiff told Johnson and Latour, who escorted Plaintiff to his new cell, that he did not want to move cells.” Id. at ¶6. He asked to speak with the sergeant, and he asked to speak with staff from the psychological services unit. Id. at ¶7. Johnson notified the sergeant on duty and psychological services staff member that the plaintiff wanted to speak with them.[1] Id. ¶¶7-8.

         The parties dispute whether the plaintiff specifically told Johnson and Latour he was “suicidal.” Id. at ¶9. In his deposition, the plaintiff said he told the officers that he “might commit suicide if you all put me up in here, ” meaning cell 231. Id. Johnson does not recall the plaintiff telling her on June 4, 2017 that he wanted to be placed on observation to avoid harming himself, or stating that he was suicidal. Dkt. No. 38 at ¶6.

         After Johnson notified the sergeant and psychologist of the plaintiff's request to speak with them, the plaintiff waited for the sergeant or psychologist to show up so that he could talk to them about the cell transfer. Dkt. No. 37 at ¶23. The plaintiff fell asleep and later was told by other inmates that the psychologist had come to the wing while the plaintiff was sleeping (but these inmates supposedly told the plaintiff the psychologist had not stopped at the plaintiff's cell). Id.; Dkt. No. 39-1 at 64-66 (Lampley Dep.).

         About forty-five minutes after the plaintiff was placed in his new cell, Latour passed out nail clippers to inmates as part of his normal duties. Dkt. No. 37 at ¶10. The plaintiff asked for nail clippers, and Latour gave him a pair. Id. at ¶11. Latour then forgot to retrieve the nail clippers. Id. The plaintiff did not tell Latour, or anyone else, that he had the nail clippers. Id. at ¶12. He specifically talked with Latour the next day (June 5) about passing out nail clippers-the plaintiff testified that he told Latour, who was a new employee at the time, that he should pass out nail clippers later in the day when inmates are less likely to be sleeping-but the plaintiff did not tell Latour he had forgotten to collect clippers from the plaintiff. Id. at ¶13.

         The above-described interactions with Johnson and Latour are the only interactions between them and the plaintiff at issue in this case. Id. at ¶14.

         On June 6, 2017, the plaintiff told defendant Kathy Lemens, a nurse who was doing rounds checking on inmates in the Restrictive Housing Unit, that he needed to see a psychological services staff member. Id. at ¶15. Later that night, the plaintiff used the nail clippers, which he still had, to cut his forehead, chest, and arms. Id. at ¶16. He was pulled out of his cell and offered medical attention. Id. at ¶17. Nursing staff cleaned the plaintiff's wounds and applied Band Aids to his arms. Id. The plaintiff did not need stitches or offsite medical attention. Id. at ¶18. He then was placed on observation for one day. Id. When the plaintiff said he was stable, he was released from observation. Id. at ¶19.

         At some point after the plaintiff cut himself, a lieutenant talked to him and told him he would not be moved from cell 231. Id. at ¶20. The plaintiff accepted this and, after he was released from observation, he served out the remainder of his prison term in cell 231 without incident. Id. at ¶21. The incident on June 6, 2017 is the only time during the plaintiff's incarceration in which he tried to harm himself or was placed on observation status. Id. at ¶22.

         II. Analysis

         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         “The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986); Ames v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 629 F.3d 665, 668 (7th Cir. 2011). “Material facts” are those under the applicable substantive law that “might affect the outcome of the suit.” See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A dispute over a “material fact” is “genuine” if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.

         A party asserting that a fact cannot be, or is, genuinely disputed ...

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