Orlowski v. Milwaukee County, No. 16-2166 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Orlowski, a 21-year-old inmate, was asleep in his bunk. At 12:28 a.m. and 1:36 a.m. dorm supervisor Alexander patrolled and did not notice anything unusual. Sergeant Manns toured the dorm and did not note anything unusual. At 3:45 a.m., Alexander began awakening inmates for kitchen duty. Alexander saw Orlowski breathing abnormally, making noises, and “his body would make sudden moves.” Green, another inmate, persisted in voicing concern about Orlowski and was put in the “hole.” Alexander thought that Orlowski might have a sleep disorder. Despite efforts to wake him up, Orlowski remained unresponsive. Alexander left him but noted the situation in the logbook and called Manns. Manns denies that Alexander gave him all the information. Orlowski did not wake up for breakfast. At 4:35 a.m., Corrections Manager Ertman read Alexander’s log entry and saw Orlowski. Alexander observed Orlowski at 4:55 a.m. and at 5:48 a.m. At 6:10 a.m., the inmates returned from breakfast. Alexander heard someone shouting “man down!” Alexander called a medical emergency. Orlowski was pronounced dead at 6:54 a.m. He died from a methadone overdose, caused by pills purchased from another inmate. According to medical experts, Orlowski would have fully recovered if he had received medical care between 3:45 and 5:48 a.m. The district court rejected all claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 on summary judgment. The Seventh Circuit reversed on the Eighth Amendment claim. There is a material dispute of fact as to whether the defendants were deliberately indifferent to Orlowski’s severe medical condition. The court affirmed rejection of a substantive due process claim; there is no evidence that defendants intentionally interfered in plaintiff’s familial relationship.