United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
MIA L. WHITE, Plaintiff,
WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.
WILLIAM C. GRIESBACH, DISTRICT JUDGE
who is currently incarcerated at Robert E. Ellsworth
Correctional Center and representing herself, filed a
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that her
civil rights were violated. This matter comes before the
court on Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without
prepaying the full filing fee and to screen the complaint.
to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing Fee
has requested leave to proceed without prepayment of the full
filing fee (in forma pauperis). A prisoner plaintiff
proceeding in forma pauperis is required to pay the
full amount of the $350.00 filing fee over time. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Plaintiff has filed a certified
copy of her prison trust account statement for the six-month
period immediately preceding the filing of her complaint, as
required under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2), and has been
assessed and paid an initial partial filing fee of $49.25.
Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed without prepaying
the filing fee will be granted.
of the Complaint
court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or 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. 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b). A claim 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); Hutchinson ex
rel. Baker v. Spink, 126 F.3d 895, 900 (7th Cir. 1997).
state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading
system, 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). The complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter “that is plausible on
its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The court accepts the factual
allegations as true and liberally construes them in the
plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d
645, 651 (7th Cir. 2013). Nevertheless, 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).
of the Complaint
September 13, 2018, Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Weber, a
doctor at Taycheedah Correctional Institution, for severe
pain in the lower lumbar region of her spine. Plaintiff
alleges she had been complaining of pain for weeks and, after
meeting with Defendant Weber, still did not receive a proper
exam. She claims that Defendant Weber ignored her pain and
denied Plaintiff an x-ray of her back and an MRI. On
September 25, 2018, Plaintiff saw Defendant Lemmenes, who
diagnosed Plaintiff with burtitis, but refused to order an
MRI. Plaintiff received an injection into her right bursa,
but her back pain persisted and Plaintiff dropped multiple
slips to be seen again without results or answers. Plaintiff
claims that she was told she was not receiving an x-ray or
MRI because the medical staff “were professionals and
knew what they were doing.”
alleges that medical staff did not make a final diagnosis or
take appropriate precautions. As a result, Plaintiff claims
she will be in pain for the rest of her life because she
fractured her back and has since gained over 50 pounds
because of her injury. After this injury, Plaintiff has been
taking medication due to severe depression and takes Cymbalta
for severe pain and aches (prescribed by her “psyc.
Doctor” because the medical staff had not been
providing proper pain medication).
claims that “due to the negligence of not making a
proper diagnosis and ruling out anything serious by doing
a[n] X-ray or MRI, [she is] stuck in pain unable to sit,
stand or walk for long periods of time.” Plaintiff says
she is scheduled to see a neurosurgeon as part of her
discharge instructions given by the medical doctor from an
emergency room visit on August 20, 2019.
Estelle v. Gamble, the Supreme Court held that
“deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of
prisoners constitutes the ‘unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain' . . . proscribed by the Eighth
Amendment.” 429 U.S. 97, 103 (1976) (quoting Gregg
v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153, 173 (1976) (joint opinion)).
The Court was careful to point out, however, that this did
not mean that every claim by a prisoner that he has not
received adequate medical treatment states a violation of the
Eighth Amendment. Id. at 105. In particular, the
Court made clear that “in the medical context, an
inadvertent failure to provide adequate medical care cannot
be said to constitute ‘an unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain' or to be ‘repugnant to the
conscience of mankind.'” Id. at 105-06.
The Court explicitly noted:
a complaint that a physician has been negligent in diagnosing
or treating a medical condition does not state a valid claim
of medical mistreatment under the Eighth Amendment. Medical
malpractice does not become a constitutional violation merely
because the victim is a prisoner. In order to state a
cognizable claim, a prisoner must allege acts or omissions
sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to
serious medical needs. It is only such ...