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Collins v. Callister

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

May 15, 2017

MAURICE COLLINS, Plaintiff,
v.
TODD CALLISTER, BONNIE HALPER, and JEFFREY MANLOVE, Defendants.

          DECISION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT. NO. 14), GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT. NO. 21) AND DISMISSING CASE

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER United States District Judge.

         The plaintiff, who is representing himself, filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that the defendants HAD violated his constitutional rights. On September 19, 2016, the court allowed the plaintiff to proceed on his claim that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to the risk that he would overdose when they failed to grant his request for crushed medication. Dkt. No. 8. The plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment in the fall of 2016. Dkt. No. 14. The defendants filed their motion for summary judgment in March, 2017. Dkt. No. 43. Those motions are fully briefed. The court will deny the plaintiff's motion and grant the defendants' motion.

         I. RELEVANT FACTS[1]

         A. Parties

         At all relevant times, the plaintiff was an inmate in the custody of Wisconsin Department of Corrections, housed at the Waupun Correctional Institution. Dkt. No. 31, ¶1. Defendant Jeffrey Manlove was employed in the Health Services Unit (HSU) as a physician; defendant Todd Callister was employed in HSU as a psychiatrist; and defendant Bonnie Halper was employed in the Psychological Services Unit (PSU) as a Psychological Associate and Licensed Professional Counselor. Id. at ¶2-4.

         On December 28, 2015, Callister consulted with the plaintiff about his medication management. Id. at ¶15. At the consultation, the plaintiff informed Callister that he was doing better: Mirtazapine was helping his sleep, and he had been eating regularly and exercising to relieve stress. Id. at ¶16. The plaintiff stated that he would like to stop taking Sertraline and try something else to boost his mood; he was still experiencing periods of depression lasting for a day or two. Id.

         The plaintiff denied thoughts of wanting to harm himself, but expressed concern that, if his moods worsened, he would begin to have such thoughts. Id. at ¶17. The plaintiff did not ask to be placed on crushed medications, nor did he make any statements to Callister about having thoughts about overdosing. Id. Callister did not have any other contact with the plaintiff until three months later (March 22, 2016), when he had another appointment with the plaintiff about his medication management. Id. at ¶20. Despite the plaintiff's assertion that he sent a letter to Callister asking to be placed on crushed medications, [2]dkt. no. 24, ¶5, Callister states that he never received any letters from the plaintiff on that topic, dkt. no. 31, ¶66.

         On January 14, 2016, Nurse Gwendolyn Vick (who is not named as a defendant) forwarded a Health Services Request (HSR) form from the plaintiff to defendant Manlove. Id. at ¶21. In the HSR, the plaintiff asked that his medication be crushed because he was having thoughts of overdosing.[3] Id. at ¶22. That same day, Manlove ordered that the plaintiff's prescriptions for Naproxen, Mirtazapine, and Sertraline be crushed. Id. at ¶26. Neither Callister nor Halper received or reviewed the HSR, and neither of them participated in Manlove's decision to order crushed medication. Id. at ¶28, 29.

         On January 29, 2016, nursing staff informed Manlove that the plaintiff was engaging in inappropriate behavior when nurses delivered the crushed medication to his cell. Id. at ¶30. Specifically, nursing staff told Manlove that the plaintiff was exposing his genitals and masturbating in front of them. Id.

         Due to the plaintiff's behavior, Manlove decided to discontinue his order for crushed medication; however, he first asked that Nurse Gail Waltz (who is not named as a defendant) to contact PSU to make sure the plaintiff was mentally stable, and that discontinuing the crushed mediation order would not pose a risk to the plaintiff. Id. at ¶32-34.

         Waltz contacted Halper in PSU that same day, and informed her of the plaintiff's behavior. Id. at ¶34. Halper told Waltz that she would talk to the plaintiff and tell him that his medication would no longer be crushed. Id. at ¶35. Manlove understood that PSU agreed that discontinuing his crushed medication order was acceptable and appropriate. Id. Manlove discontinued his order later that day. Id. at ¶36. Callister had no involvement in the decision to discontinue the order. Id. at ¶38.

         A week or so later (on February 5, 2016), Manlove met with the plaintiff about the plaintiff's complaints of lower back pain and athlete's foot. Id. at ¶39. The plaintiff did not ask that Manlove place him back on crushed medication, nor did he make any statements to Manlove about having thoughts of overdosing. Id. The plaintiff asserts that he wrote Manlove to ask why he was taken off crushed medication, id. at ¶40, dtk. no. 24, ¶6; however, the plaintiff does not indicate when he wrote Manlove, nor does he attach a copy of the letter. Further, there is no record of the letter in the plaintiff's certified medical records, and Manlove disputes that he ever received such a letter from the plaintiff. Dkt. No. 31, ¶65. After the February 5, 2016 appointment, Manlove did not have any other contact with the plaintiff prior to the plaintiff's attempted overdose on February 25, 2016. Id. at ¶42, 65.

         A little over two weeks later (on Tuesday, February 23, 2016), HSU received two HSRs from the plaintiff, dated on the prior two days (February 21, 2016 and February 22, 2016). Id. at ¶43. In both requests, the plaintiff asked for an order placing him back on crushed medication. Id. Nurse Gunderson (not a defendant) reviewed and responded to the HSRs. Id. at ¶44. Gunderson marked the first as “noted” and referred the second to PSU. Id. at ¶45-46. Gunderson took no further action, nor did she forward the HSRs to Manlove or Callister. Id. at ¶47.

         That same day, PSU received two Psychological Service Request (PSR) forms from the plaintiff, dated February 21, 2016 and February 22, 2016. Id. at ¶48. In both PSRs, the plaintiff asked to be placed back on crushed medication. Id. Halper received and reviewed the plaintiff's requests on February 23, and met with him that same day. Id. at ¶49.

         At the meeting, the plaintiff was alert and engaged, but said he was really struggling and asked about a transfer to the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility (WSPF); he stated that he had been in segregation too long. Id. at ¶50. The plaintiff asserts that he again asked to be placed back on crushed medication. Id. at ¶60.

         Halper states that she showed the plaintiff empathy and compassion; she explained to him that she understood that he was struggling, and told him that anyone in the same circumstances also would struggle with the environment. Id. at ¶51. Halper noted that the plaintiff smiled, and appeared to experience positive emotions even though he was struggling. Id. at ¶52. She also stated that his thoughts seemed logical and goal-directed; the two discussed a referral to WSPF, and Halper told the plaintiff that he could not get any more conduct reports and he had to maintain a safe behavior before she could recommend that he go to WSPF. Id. at ¶52-53. Unit staff informed Halper that the plaintiff would be released from segregation in April, as long as he did not receive any more conduct reports. Id. at ¶58.

         The February 23, 2016 meeting was conducted cell-side, which is a public environment. Id. at ¶54. Halper asked the plaintiff if he could wait three days, until February 26, 2016, to discuss his concerns further in a more private setting. Id. at ¶54. The plaintiff agreed, and assured Halper that he was not having thoughts of self-harm; Halper states that this led her to believe that the plaintiff could maintain safe behaviors until their scheduled meeting. Id. at ¶55, 57.

         Based on her discussions with the plaintiff, Halper decided that the plaintiff did not need to receive crushed medication. Id. at ΒΆ59. She determined that: (1) he was capable of logical and organized thoughts; (2) he had no thoughts, intent or plan to ...


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