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Knox v. Bradley

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division

January 11, 2017




         This is a civil rights action filed by the Plaintiff pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis.

         The events that are the subject of this suit occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated in the Washington County Detention Center (WCDC) in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Specifically, Plaintiff maintains his rights were violated in the following ways: (1) he was denied adequate medical care or his medical care was delayed; and (2) his mental health medications were changed.

         A summary judgment motion (Doc. 83) was filed on behalf of Nurse Bradley, Southern Health Partners (SHP), Dr. Saez, and Nurse Lee. On April 19, 2016, a hearing was held to allow the Plaintiff to orally respond to the summary judgment motions.[1]

         I. 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). “[A] genuine issue of material fact exists if: (1) there is a dispute of fact; (2) the disputed fact is material to the outcome of the case; and (3) the dispute is genuine, that is, a reasonable jury could return a verdict for either party.” RSBI Aerospace, Inc. v. Affiliated FM Ins. Co., 49 F.3d 399, 401 (8th Cir. 1995).

         The moving party has the burden of showing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, but the nonmoving party may not rest upon mere denials or allegations in the pleadings and must set forth specific facts to raise a genuine issue for trial. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). The Court must view all evidence and inferences in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See McCleary v. ReliaStar Life Ins. Co., 682 F.3d 1116, 1119 (8th Cir. 2012). However, “[w]hen opposing parties tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary judgment.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007).

         II. Background and Evidence Presented

         Plaintiff was booked into the WCDC on November 5, 2014, and remained there until his transfer to the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) on March 2, 2015. Plaintiff's Exhibit (hereinafter Plff's Ex.) 1 at 1. He testified he was there because of a parole violation and could not bond out.

         Plaintiff testified that before he was booked in he had been diagnosed with: borderline personality disorder; bipolar disorder; post traumatic stress disorder; panic disorder; hypertension; and degenerative joint disease. Plff's Ex. 3 at 25-26.[2] He reported being on the following medications: Lisinopril, Alprazolam, Paxil, Latuda, Abilify, Temazepam, and Hydrocodone. Plff's Ex. 1 at 3. Plaintiff testified that these medications, with the exception of hydrocodone, had been prescribed by Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) Debbie Koch at Perspectives Behavioral Health (Perspectives). Plaintiff indicated the Hydrocodone had been prescribed by a doctor at Washington Regional Medical Center (WRMC). Plaintiff testified that when he was booked into the jail, he had current prescriptions for these medications. He did not, however, have the medications with him. Plaintiff testified that he had been hospitalized two or three times when he had suicidal thoughts and exhibited some psychosis.

         Plaintiff testified that from May 2014, up until his incarceration on November 5, 2014, he was undergoing active treatment at Perspectives. He indicated that he was seeing a psychiatrist every two months and a therapist once a month.

         Plaintiff testified he saw a nurse on November 6, 2014, the day after he was booked in. Plaintiff indicated he explained his diagnoses and the medications he was taking. Plaintiff was told he would be referred to a psychiatric nurse. He was not given his prescribed medications. Plaintiff testified he could not get out of bed for a week because he was suffering withdrawal symptoms. As a result of the abrupt discontinuation of his medications, Plaintiff testified he was sweating, having nightmares, not eating, experienced vomiting and diarrhea, and was confused. Plaintiff stated he was incoherent much of this time and could not submit requests or grievances. Plaintiff indicated he had been on some of these medications for years.

         Plaintiff called and had his family bring his medications from home. Plff's Ex. 1 at 6. The medication was delivered to the detention center on November 8, 2014. Id. Plaintiff testified the following medications were refused because they were narcotics: Alprazolam, Temazepam, Hydrocodone, and Tramadol. The jail kept the Latuda, Lisinopril, and Paxil. Id.; see also Defts' Ex. 1-b. Plaintiff testified he started getting these medications on November 10, 2014. See also Defts' Ex. 2 at ¶¶ 4-5. Latuda is an anti-psychotic medication. Id. at ¶ 8. Lisinopril is used to treat high blood pressure.[3] Paxil is an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication. Id. at ¶ 6.

         Thus, Plaintiff was without any medication from November 5th to November 10th. Plaintiff testified that even after he starting receiving the medications the detention center kept, he continued to suffer from withdrawal from the other medications.

         On November 13, 2014, Plaintiff submitted a request to see the psychiatric nurse.[4] Doc. 88-4 at 1. By November 13th, Plaintiff indicated he was starting to feel better.

         Plaintiff testified he was first seen by Nurse Madewell on November 19, 2014. Plaintiff indicates she explained what her job was and how the system worked. Plaintiff complained his stomach was hurting and that he believed this was a side effect of Latuda. He testified that the directions for Latuda said it should be taken on a full stomach. However, because of the meal and medication distribution times, this did not occur. Plaintiff was given a prescription for Prilosec. Plff's Ex. 1 at 14. Nurse Madewell put the medication on the medication cart and made out a medication administration record (MAR). Id. Plaintiff testified that Nurse Madewell said she would ask the doctor about the medications that were refused. Id. Plaintiff indicated he had been in jail several other times and he knew that you just had to wait it out.

         That same day, Plaintiff submitted a medical request asking to be placed on the doctor's list so they could discuss alternatives to the medication he had been refused because of jail policy. Doc. 88-4 at 3. On November 21, 2014, Nurse Bradley responded that he was on the list to see the psychiatric nurse. Id.

         On November 21, 2014, Plaintiff submitted a medical request indicating that he had a sore throat and cough and also needed to see the doctor about his medication. Doc. 88-4 at 3. In response, he was added to the nurse call. Id. Plaintiff testified he did talk to the nurse but he wanted to speak to the doctor. According to the Plaintiff, Nurse Bradley told him that if he saw the doctor, he would be taken off all of the medications.

         On November 24, 2014, Dr. Saez ordered the Latuda to be administered at evening pill call. Defts' Ex. 2 at ¶ 11. On November 29, 2014, Dr. Saez prescribed Motrin 800 mg. for ten days to treat Plaintiff's back pain. Id. at ¶ 25. Motrin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain reliever. Id. at ¶ 23.

         Plaintiff testified that he saw Dr. Saez on December 5, 2014. Plaintiff testified that he asked about alternatives to the narcotic medications he was being denied. Plaintiff indicates he also asked for something to treat anxiety. Plaintiff complained of excessive sleepiness and fatigue as a result of taking Latuda in the morning. Because of the jail's routine, Plaintiff was not able to lay down after having taken the medication. Plff's Ex. 1 at 14. Plaintiff testified that Nurse Madewell had suggested he discontinue the Latuda.

         Plaintiff was started on Buspar. Defts' Ex. 2 at ¶ 12. Buspar is an anti-anxiety medication. Id. at ¶ 13. Plaintiff was also prescribed Gabapentin 300 mg. twice a day for back pain. Id. at ¶ 26. Gabapentin is used, among other things, to treat pain. Id. at ¶ 24.

         Plaintiff testified that he explained to Dr. Saez that he had already been on Buspar and it did not work. According to Plaintiff, Dr. Saez told him to take the Buspar for a week or two and let it build up in his system.

         Plaintiff testified that he believed he was having problems with his blood pressure when he began to feel dizzy and hot. He stated he knew something was not right. On December 9, 2014, Plaintiff said he needed to talk to the doctor because he was having blood pressure issues. Plaintiff testified he also tried to get detention center personnel to call the nurse. Plaintiff testified that he and Nurse Bradley had problems.

         On December 9, 2014, Dr. Saez prescribed Motrin 400 mg for seven days for Plaintiff's back pain. Defts Ex. 2 at ¶ 27. Plaintiff asked that his Gabapentin be increased. Id. at ¶ 28. On December 19, 2014, Dr. Saez ordered Plaintiff's dose of Gabapentin be increased to 600 mg twice a day for back pain. Id. at ¶ 29.

         Plaintiff testified that on December 14, 2014, he asked what he needed to do to get his blood pressure checked. Nurse Bradley responded that she would take it when she had time. On December 15, 2014, Plaintiff submitted a grievance about his blood pressure and also stated that he had no choice but to file a § 1983 lawsuit. Doc. 88-4 at 8.

         Plaintiff testified that on December 16, 2014, Nurse Bradley said she would check his blood pressure for seven days and then he could see the doctor. Plaintiff stated that Nurse Bradley did not take his blood pressure for seven days. Instead, she took it on December 16th, 20th, 21st, and 26th. Defts' Ex. 1-n.

         Plaintiff testified that his blood pressure medication was decreased but he continued having problems with his blood pressure for several months. Plaintiff noted that he told Defendants on several occasions that he was having blood pressure problems. See Plff's Ex. 2. Plaintiff testified that when he asked ...

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