United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION AND ORDER
William M. Conley District Judge.
court previously granted pro se plaintiff Cortez
Willie Shields leave to proceed on an Eighth Amendment
conditions of confinement claim against Sheriff Dave Mahoney,
based on his alleged exposure to lead in the drinking water
and mold in his cell. (Dkt. #13.) In that order, the court
denied him leave to proceed against other defendants because
the complaint lacked sufficient allegations to determine
their respective involvement. (Id. at 5 (citing
Zimmerman v. Tribble, 226 F.3d 568, 574 (7th Cir.
2000) (explaining that to demonstrate liability under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege sufficient facts
showing that an individual personally caused or participated
in a constitutional deprivation)).) Before the court are two
motions filed by Shields. The first is a motion for leave to
amend his complaint to add a number of additional defendants,
most of whom were named in his original complaint. (Dkt.
#16.) For the reasons that follow, the court will grant him
leave to proceed against Sgt. Skipenski, Lt. Immel, Deputy
Merrill, Capt. Annalt and Lt. Pierce, but will deny him leave
to proceed against Capt. Olson. Shields also filed a motion
seeking recruitment of pro bono counsel. (Dkt. #28.) For the
reasons that follow, the court will deny that motion without
Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint 
described in the court's prior order, Shields complains
that defendants violated his rights by subjecting him to
unsafe environmental conditions, namely lead exposure from
drinking hot water and exposure to mold in his cell, while he
was housed in the Dane County Jail. Specifically, he
complained of lead exposure from drinking hot water and
exposure to mold in his cell. The court granted him leave to
proceed against Sheriff Mahoney. Shields seeks to add a
number of other Dane County employees as defendants.
explained in the prior order, assuming Shields' claims
arise under the Eighth Amendment, Shields must allege facts
as to each of the defendants that satisfy a test involving
both an objective and subjective component. Lunsford v.
Bennett, 17 F.3d 1574, 1579 (7th Cir. 1994). The
objective analysis focuses on whether prison conditions were
sufficiently serious so that “a prison official's
act or omission results in the denial of the minimal
civilized measure of life's necessities, ”
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834, or “exceeded
contemporary bounds of decency of a mature, civilized
society, ” Lunsford, 17 F.3d at 1579. The
subjective component requires an allegation that prison
officials acted wantonly and with deliberate indifference to
a risk of serious harm to plaintiff. Id.
Shields seeks to proceed on claims against Sgt. Skipenski.
Shields alleges that he complained to Skipenski about his
concerns about lead exposure, and Skipenski responded
inconsistently, informing him that “95 percent of the
water lines are within establish[ed] standards, ” but
also advising him not to drink the water. (Am. Compl. (dkt.
#16) 2.) Shields further alleges that Skipenski told him that
steps were being taken to address health concerns, but none
were. The court finds these allegations sufficient to state
an Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim against
Skipenski based on lead exposure.
also seeks to proceed against Lt. Immel. Shields alleges that
he informed Immel of his concerns about lead in a grievance,
and Immel responded in the same Skipenski responded --
namely, informing him that testing showed that 95% of the
water lines were within established standards, but also
telling him to not consume hot water. (Id. at 3.)
The court similarly finds these facts sufficient to assert a
claim against Immel.
Shields seeks to add Deputy Merrill as a defendant based on
her alleged awareness of mold in the showers, her statement
that the showers were “disgusting” and that she
would bring bleach and inform Sgt. Olson and Capt. Annhalt,
but that she failed to take any of these steps. (Id.
at 3-4.) The court finds these allegations sufficient to
implicate Deputy Merrill in an Eighth Amendment conditions of
confinement claim based on exposure to mold in his cell.
also seeks add Capt. Annalt as a defendant based on his
awareness of mold in the showers and issues with water, his
promise to address the health and safety of the jail
environment and his failure to do so. (Id. at 4.)
Here, too, the court finds these allegations are sufficient
to assert an Eighth Amendment claim against Annhalt.
original complaint, Shields named a John Doe defendant, which
he has now identified as Lt. Pierce. In his amended
complaint, Shields alleges that Pierce reviewed an appeal of
a grievance in which he complained about lead and mold
exposure, and failed to take any action to address Shields
concerns, and, as alleged, intentionally covered up the unfit
living conditions. (Id. at 5.) The court finds these
allegations sufficient to implicate the Eighth Amendment.
Shields seeks to name Capt. Olson as a defendant based on
allegations that he knew his cell door would not open.
(Id. at 4-5.) Shields, however, was not granted
leave to proceed on a conditions of confinement claim based
on his cell door not opening. Moreover, his allegations are
insufficient to finds that difficulties with his cell door
opening rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment claim. While
Shields makes a passing reference to mold in this section of
his amended complaint, this reference is insufficient to give
rise to a reasonable inference that Olson was deliberately
indifferent to Shields' exposure to mold.
summary, the court will grant Shields leave to proceed on
Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claims against
Sgt. Skipenski, Lt. Immel, Deputy Merrill, Capt. Annalt and
Lt. Pierce, but will deny him leave to proceed against Capt.
Motion for Recruitment ...