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Wesley v. Armor Correctional Health Services, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

November 22, 2019

OMAR WESLEY, by next friend BRENDA WESLEY Plaintiff,



         Omar Wesley, by his next friend Brenda Wesley, filed a complaint alleging that employees and officials of the Milwaukee Criminal Justice Facility (“CJF”), its contracted medical service provider, and related community service providers, all failed to provide him with a needed antipsychotic drug during a period when they were responsible for his care, thus violating federal and state law. Among the claims asserted in the complaint are a Monell claim against Armor Correctional Health Services (“Armor”), a medical service provider contracted to provide mental health services at CJF, see Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Svcs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978), and individual capacity claims against Armor's employee, defendant Dr .Maureen White (“Dr. White”), who was director of mental health services at CJF during Wesley's confinement there. Wesley also asserts claims against Armor under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”). Armor and Dr. White have moved for dismissal of each of these claims under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The relevant allegations of Wesley's complaint are as follows.

         From June 2015 to February 2016, Wesley was confined at the Mental Health Complex in Milwaukee County. Wesley was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and cocaine abuse. In December, 2015, while confined at the Mental Health Complex, Wesley began taking the drug clozapine for his schizophrenia. Clozapine is generally prescribed as a last resort, after all other available medication regimens have failed-and, indeed, it was prescribed for Wesley because other drugs had failed to work. Medical professionals understand that once treatment with clozapine has started, it is important not to abruptly stop treatment, because abrupt cessation of clozapine treatment can cause rapid decompensation.

         Wesley's condition improved with the clozapine treatment, and in February 2016 it was determined he was competent and could be moved from the Mental Health Complex. He was first moved to the Milwaukee House of Corrections, and then, in April 2016, to CJF, where Armor was responsible for providing his medical care. The Milwaukee Country Circuit Court then entered an order that Wesley should be assessed to determine whether he could be released to community supervision. Wisconsin Community Services, Inc. (“WCS”) contracts with the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services to provide supervision services for persons who are out of confinement and in the community. WCS assessed Wesley. On June 6, 2016, the circuit court determined that Wesley should be supervised in the community.

         Armor and WCS began planning for Wesley's release. On June 17, 2016, Armor faxed WCS a list of Wesley's medications and prescriptions, including clozapine. The list showed that Wesley's prescription for clozapine would end on June 24, 2016. Armor failed to obtain a prescription for clozapine for Wesley after June 24, 2016.

         Wesley was released to WCS on June 28, 2016. He had not taken clozapine since June 24. By June 29, WCS employee Tewana Marshall and others responsible for Wesley's supervision noticed increased symptoms of mental illness and delusional thinking. By June 29, Marshall spoke with Armor employee and CJF mental health director Dr. White about the wrongful discontinuation of Wesley's clozapine prescription. Dr. White told Marshall that Armor's failure to enter information on a website caused the prescription for clozapine to lapse.

         Though WCS was aware that Wesley was decompensating without clozapine, a prescription for clozapine for Wesley was not filled until July 8, 2016. Wesley took the medication and became severely ill. On July 9, Wesley did not take the medication because he was severely ill as a result of the cessation and reintroduction of clozapine. On July 10, 11, 12 and 13, he agreed to take clozapine.

         On July 13, Wesley was arrested and taken back to CJF for missing doses of clozapine. When Wesley arrived at CJF, he had clozapine with him. However, unidentified Armor employees prohibited Wesley from keeping and taking his required clozapine.

         On July 13, a nurse practitioner employed by Armor ordered clozapine for Wesley. The clozapine was available and could have been provided to Wesley beginning July 14. However, Armor and its employees failed to provide clozapine to Wesley from July 14 to July 20 of 2016. Instead, during that time, Wesley was placed in disciplinary confinement because of his mental health symptoms resulting from the abrupt discontinuation of clozapine. The complaint alleges that CJF has a policy and practice of confining inmates suffering from acute mental disorders to disciplinary cells, and that CJF also has a policy and practice of not providing medication to inmates suffering from acute mental disorders in disciplinary cells.

         The complaint alleges that Wesley was injured as a result of the abrupt cessation and reintroduction of clozapine and as a result of his confinement in a disciplinary cell.

         II. 12(b)6 STANDARD

         To avoid dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The complaint must, at a minimum, “give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. In construing a plaintiff's complaint, I assume that all factual allegations are true but disregard statements that are conclusory. Iqbal, ...

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