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Armstead v. Kollmann

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

January 14, 2020

LATASHA R. ARMSTEAD, Plaintiff,
v.
ADAM KOLLMANN, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR

          DAVID J. NOVAK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         Latasha Armstead, a Wisconsin inmate representing herself, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Armstead alleges that Correctional Officer Adam Kollmann violated the Eighth Amendment when he ignored her threats of self-harm. Before me are the parties' motions for summary judgment. For the reasons explained below, I will deny Armstead's motion, grant Officer Kollmann's motion, and dismiss this case.

         RELEVANT FACTS

         The facts are relatively straightforward, although the parties recall how they unfolded differently. On August 26, 2018, Officer Kollmann was working in the control center of the MC Unit at Taycheedah Correctional, where Armstead was incarcerated. (ECF No. 23 at ¶ 2.) That day, the day space (the common area of the MC Unit) was closed because the space was needed to assist in moving twelve inmates to other institutions. (Id. at ¶ 5.)

         At about 6 p.m., Armstead pushed the emergency call button in her cell to speak with the officer at the unit desk. (ECF No. 23 at ¶ 6.) Officer Kollmann answered, and, according to him, she asked him why the day space was closed. (Id.) Officer Kollmann asserts that he explained the reason to her. (Id.) About five minutes later, she called again to complain about the day space being closed. (Id. at ¶ 7.) Officer Kollmann states that Armstead asked to see a “white shirt, ” that is, a lieutenant or captain. (Id.) Officer Kollmann states that he asked Armstead if she had any thoughts of self-harm, and she responded only that she wanted to see a white shirt. (Id.) According to Officer Kollmann, Armstead never said anything about wanting to harm herself and she did not request to speak to psychological services. (Id.) After Officer Kollmann discussed the situation with Sergeant Molina (who is not a defendant), Sergeant Molina determined there was no reason to contact a supervisor or any medical personnel. (Id.)

         Officer Kollmann explains that Armstead pressed her emergency call button several more times over the course of the next hour. (ECF No. 23 at ¶ 8.) Each time, she demanded to speak to a white shirt about the day space being closed. (Id.) Officer Kollmann states that at no time did Armstead give any indication that she intended to harm herself. (Id.) Accordingly, neither he nor Sergeant Molina ever contacted a supervisor. (Id.)

         As noted, Armstead remembers her interactions with Officer Kollmann differently. Although Armstead did not directly respond to Officer Kollmann's proposed findings of fact, she did file a sworn amended complaint and two declarations in support of her motion for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 13, 29, 30-1 at 17.) Armstead asserts that she pressed her emergency call button four times to alert staff that she was upset about the day space being closed. According to Armstead, each time she spoke to Officer Kollmann, she told him that she was “having a mental medical emergency and d[id]n't feel safe in [her] room.” (ECF No. 13 at 2.) Armstead also asserts that she informed him of her mental health status and said she was going to cut herself if she did not get out of the room and see psychological services. (Id.; ECF No. 29 at ¶ 2.) She asserts that Kollmann told her that the sergeant was busy and, if she wanted to see psychological services, she “needed to drop a slip.” (ECF No. 30-1 at 17.)

         Armstead explains that, when help did not come, she cut her arm with a razor. (ECF No. 29 at ¶ 3.) Armstead submitted affidavits from three prisoners. (ECF No. 30-1 at 19-21.) None of the prisoners were housed in the same cell as Armstead on the date in question, and none witnessed Armstead cut her arm. (Id.) The prisoners merely state that Armstead told them that she had cut her arm. (Id.)

         Officer Kollmann asserts that neither he nor Sergeant Molina are aware of Armstead injuring herself that night. (ECF No. 23 at ¶ 19.) He explains that there is no evidence that Armstead cut her arm that night. Armstead never requested or received medical attention related to cuts on her arms. (Id. at ¶¶ 20-21.) The health services request slip she submitted that night did not indicate that she had engaged in any self-harm or that she needed any treatment for cuts or other injuries. (Id. at ¶ 23.) Armstead said only, “Also some thing took place today and I had a mental medical emergency and was denied help. Just a FYI.” (ECF No. 26-1 at 3.)

         Further, the next day, Armstead saw Dr. Mary Ferguson in psychological services. (ECF No. 23 at ¶ 24.) She states that Armstead never claimed that she had cut herself the night before; she stated only that she had banged her head on the wall, but her cellmate had helped her calm down. (Id.) Dr. Ferguson explains that she is aware of Armstead's history of cutting herself, so she is confident that she would have included information in her notes if she had observed any evidence suggesting that Armstead had cut herself the night before. (Id.)

         SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         Summary judgment is required where “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, 247-48 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986); Ames v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 629 F.3d 665, 668 (7th Cir. 2011). When considering a motion for summary judgment, the court takes evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and must grant the motion if no reasonable juror could find for that party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 255 (1986). “Material facts” are those under the applicable substantive law that “might affect the outcome of the suit.” Anderson ...


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