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Williams v. Magee

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

September 18, 2019

ERIC R. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff
v.
MICHELLE MAGEE, et al., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          Sylvia H. Rambo United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court pursuant to the motion to dismiss (Doc. No. 19) filed by Defendants Platt, Shiptoski, and Newton, seeking to dismiss pro se Plaintiff Eric R. Williams (“Plaintiff”)’s complaint (Doc. No. 1). Despite receiving an extension of time to do so (Doc. Nos. 25, 26), Plaintiff has not filed a response to the motion. Accordingly, because the time to respond has expired, the motion to dismiss is ripe for disposition. For the following reasons, the Court will grant the motion to dismiss but allow Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff initiated the above-captioned action on April 24, 2019 by filing a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Michelle Magee (“Magee”), Dr. Platt (“Platt”),[1] Brian Shiptoski (“Shiptoski”), Jason Kowalski (“Kowalski”), Dr. Andrew Newton (“Newton”), and Correct Care Solutions, LLC (“CCS”). (Doc. No. 1.) He also filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 2.) By Order dated May 1, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis and directed service of his complaint upon the Defendants. CCS filed a motion to dismiss on July 1, 2019. (Doc. No. 16.) Defendants Magee and Kowalski filed an answer to the complaint on July 3, 2019. (Doc. No. 18.) Defendants Newton, Platt, and Shiptoski filed their motion to dismiss on July 8, 2019. (Doc. No. 19.) In a Memorandum and Order entered on July 24, 2019, the Court granted CCS’s motion to dismiss. (Doc. Nos. 22, 23.)

         Plaintiff is a former Pennsylvania state inmate. (Doc. No. 1 ¶ 1.) He maintains that he had no history of mental illness before his incarceration. (Id. ¶ 10.) On December 5, 2014, Plaintiff went through intake at SCI Graterford. (Id. ¶ 11.) That month, he met with a mental health professional and “explained that he was worried about his wife and he had not been able to sleep for several nights.” (Id. ¶¶ 12-13.) He was prescribed Rymron, but eventually stopped taking the medication because it made him experience “near sedation.” (Id. ¶¶ 14-15, 17.) Plaintiff was transferred to SCI Camp Hill in February of 2015. (Id. ¶ 18.) He maintains that he never had a “PRT meeting” at SCI Graterford and SCI Camp Hill. (Id. ¶ 19.)

         Plaintiff was transferred to SCI Mahanoy in May of 2015. (Id. ¶ 21.) By January of 2016, his “marriage had become strained to the point that he and his wife started discussing divorce.” (Id. ¶ 22.) Plaintiff began to lose sleep and his appetite, and on February 15, 2016, received a misconduct “for unauthorized use of telephone privileges while trying to save his marriage.” (Id ¶¶ 24-25.) When Unit Manager Holly served Plaintiff with the misconduct, Plaintiff asked to see Defendant Magee in the psychology department. (Id. ¶ 26.)

         When Plaintiff saw Defendant Magee, he told her that he was facing a potential divorce, was experiencing loss of appetite, and sleep, and had been “battling depression for approximately one and one half months.” (Id. ¶¶ 27-28.) Defendant Magee referred him to Defendant Platt. (Id. ¶ 30.) One week later, Defendant Platt met with Plaintiff and asked him about his mental health history and his family’s mental health history. (Id. ¶¶ 31-37.) Defendant Platt informed Plaintiff that he “was genetically predisposed to depression due to his father’s history of mental illness.” (Id. ¶ 38.) Defendant Platt prescribed Plaintiff Depakote and instructed him to take 300 milligrams twice a day. (Id. ¶ 39.)

         Plaintiff began taking Depakote and “immediately began to have complications.” (Id. ¶¶ 40-41.) In March of 2016, he told Defendant Platt that he “would be in a drug induced stupor throughout most of the day while still feeling depressed.” (Id. ¶ 42.) Defendant Platt told him that he needed to get used to the medication. (Id. ¶ 43.) Plaintiff continued to take Depakote, but at a follow-up visit in April of 2016, he told Defendant Platt he had not taken the medication in three (3) weeks “because 300 milligrams twice daily was still to[o] much for him.” (Id. ¶ 44.) Defendant Platt decided to switch Plaintiff’s prescription to 150 milligrams of Lithium twice daily. (Id. ¶ 47.)

         In July of 2016, Plaintiff saw Defendant Shiptoski for a follow-up appointment. (Id. ¶ 49.) Plaintiff stated that he no longer felt depressed but that the Lithium was causing complications such as dry mouth, fatigue, stomach cramps, headaches, and muscle aches. (Id. ¶¶ 49-50.) Plaintiff also noted he “became withdrawn, easily annoyed and extremely agitated.” (Id. ¶ 51.) Defendant Shiptoski noted that Plaintiff could have toxic levels of Lithium in his blood and ordered a blood draw. (Id. ¶ 52.) Plaintiff last took Lithium during the first week of August of 2016 but continued to have blood draws through December of 2016. (Id. ¶¶ 53-54.) From August of 2016 through December of 2017, his medication order remained in place and no one mentioned Plaintiff’s non-compliance. (Id. ¶ 55.) Defendants Shiptoski and Magee met with Plaintiff every sixty (60) to ninety (90) days, and Plaintiff “regularly expressed that he no longer felt depressed and that he was cop[]ing with prison life relatively well.” (Id.)

         On December 5, 2017, Plaintiff had an annual review conducted by Unit Counselor Boltz. (Id. ¶ 56.) After giving Boltz his name and institution number, Boltz asked Plaintiff “why he was listed as D-stability with a Z-Code.” (Id. ¶¶ 58-59.) Boltz explained that “D-stability with a Z-Code means he has extreme mental illness.” (Id. ¶ 61.) Plaintiff asked to see Defendant Magee. (Id. ¶ 62.) When Defendant Magee arrived, Plaintiff asked her why he was listed as D-stability with a Z-Code. (Id. ¶ 63.) Defendant Magee stated that she did not know but that Plaintiff could speak to Defendant Shiptoski on December 21, 2017. (Id. ¶ 64.)

         On December 21, 2017, Defendant Shiptoski told Plaintiff that he was not the one who diagnosed him as D-stability with a Z-Code. (Id. ¶¶ 65-66.) He advised Plaintiff “to seek the opinion of an outside physician.” (Id. ¶ 68.) Plaintiff told Defendant Shiptoski that Defendant Magee had told him that he would not be granted parole if he continued to be non-compliant with his medication. (Id. ¶ 69.) He stated that “he no longer felt depressed and did not have a need to take medication.” (Id. ¶ 70.) Defendant Shiptoski stated that he had not diagnosed Plaintiff and had not prescribed medication, and Plaintiff responded that he did not want to take medication but would do so anyway. (Id. ¶¶ 71-72.)

         On January 3, 2018, Plaintiff had a PRT meeting with Defendants Magee, Shiptoski, and Kowalski. (Id. ¶ 75.) Plaintiff asked Defendant Magee if she agreed with his diagnosis, and she answered affirmatively. (Id. ¶¶ 79-80.) When Plaintiff asked Defendant Shiptoski the same question, he refused to answer. (Id. ¶¶ 81-82.) Defendant Kowalski “chimed in and stated that Plaintiff ha[s] Bipolar Disorder which is why he ha[s] uncontrolled aggression.” (Id. ¶ 83.) Plaintiff responded “that his actions and interactions with staff and inmates alike contradict[ed] this diagnosis” and that “he reported that he was depressed due to being faced with a potential divorce back in 2016.” (Id. ¶ 84.) Defendant Magee reiterated that Plaintiff would not be granted parole if he refused to take medication. (Id. ¶ 86.) Plaintiff responded that he would take medication but would not take Lithium anymore. (Id. ¶ 87.) Defendant Magee told Plaintiff that she would submit a referral (id. ¶ 88), and Defendant Kowalski stated that he would prescribe medication and that Plaintiff should take every dose until he was reviewed by the parole board (id. ¶ 89).

         On January 19, 2018, Plaintiff met with Defendant Newton. (Id. ¶ 92.) Defendant Newton stated that “Plaintiff did not need to take medication.” (Id. ¶ 93.) He told Plaintiff that he did not believe that Plaintiff has Bipolar Disorder and noted that he would remove Plaintiff’s name from the Department of Corrections (“DOC”)’ mental health roster. (Id. ¶ 95.) Plaintiff, however, had to sign a consent form to do so, which he did. (Id. ¶¶ 95-96.)

         On February 19, 2018, Plaintiff saw Defendant Magee, who told him that Defendant Newton had diagnosed him with Antisocial Personality Disorder, stating that “this disorder was no big deal because he does not have to take medication to treat this disorder.” (Id. ¶ 97.) Plaintiff told Defendant Magee that Defendant Newton had stated that Plaintiff’s name would be removed from the DOC’s mental health roster. (Id. ¶ 98.) Defendant Magee indicated that “she was unaware as ...


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