United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Jackson L. Kiser Senior United States District Judge
Davis, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed a civil
rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Davis
names Steve Clear, the Superintendent of the Southwest
Virginia Regional Jail ("Jail"), and Mandi Smith, a
licensed professional counselor and qualified mental health
professional ("QMHP") at the Jail, as defendants.
Davis argues that the lack of mental health counseling and
the delays in meeting with psychiatrists at the Jail between
December 2014 and July 2015 constitutes cruel and unusual
punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United
reviewing the record, I find that I must grant QMHP
Smith's motion for summary judgment and Superintendent
Clear's motion to dismiss. Even though Davis is
dissatisfied with the speed and type of treatments provided
at the Jail, he does not establish that QMHP Smith was
deliberately indifferent to a serious medical need or that
Superintendent Clear is liable in this case for an alleged
Jail policy prohibiting mental health counseling.
was incarcerated at the Jail in 2012, 2013, and 2014 before
his more recent incarceration there between December 2014 and
July 2015, which is the time at issue in this case.
Davis' medical records from his prior stays detail his
frequent need for mental health treatment. As early as
August 2012, psychiatrists associated with the Jail had
prescribed him Vistaril, Remeron, Risperdal, Neurontin, and
Seroquel to treat Antisocial Personality Disorder, Major
Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, and opiate and
appointment on April 16, 2013, a psychiatrist associated with
the Jail noted in the medical chart:
Inmate today reported that h[e] is depressed w/ crying
episodes w/ anxiety. He also notes feeling increased feeling
of dispar [sic] and hopelessness in [the morning] and
passively suicidal with no intent of self harm. He endorses
difficulty sleeping w/ nightmares. He denied any homicidal
ideation, plans or intentions ....
the psychiatrist ordered changes to prescriptions,
the psychiatrist only recommended that Davis join an
anger management course. Davis again reported being
"passively suicidal" with no intent of self harm
nearly a year later in March 2014. At some point thereafter,
Davis left the Jail and received out-patient medication
management services from a private provider.
returned to the Jail in December 2014. During his intake
examination by a Jail nurse on December 2, 2014, Davis
discussed his mental health diagnoses, treatment at the
private provider, and prescriptions for Remeron and Vistaril.
Davis denied thinking of suicide or ever attempting suicide.
The nurse noted these statements in his medical records and
referred Davis to the Jail's mental health providers for
follow-up. Jail staff administered the same prescriptions -
Remeron and Vistaril - at different dosages after receiving a
"complete copy of all records" from the private
provider on December 15, 2014.
December 26, 2014, Davis filed a sick call request asking to
see a psychiatrist due to his desire to receive different
medications and his "violent, " "real bad
dreams." Davis explains that his dreams involved him
killing his wife and brother, but this information was not
disclosed in the sick call request.
weeks later, one of the Jail's QMHPs met with Davis on
January 12, 2015, and "educated [Davis] on coping with
agitation and anger in a correctional setting." A
psychiatrist examined Davis that same day, noting the
following information in Davis' medical chart:
P[atient] is a 36 [year old] [African American male] with
[history] of Mood [Disorder] [Not otherwise Specified],
[Personality Disorder] [Not Otherwise Specified],
polysubstantce use, [history] of suic[ide] attempts, who
presents for return follow up. P[atient] has lengthy
[history] of opiate, cocaine, THC use, as well as alcohol.
C[u]rrently taking Remeron . . . and [V]istaril.... He
reports the Remeron seems to help but overall he reports
difficulty with mood regulation. Endorses feelings of
frustration and irritability but does not seem able to
expound more than that. Reports he has many stressors:
mother, grandmother, [and] uncle have all died recently and
his wife ran off with his brother and kids. P[atient] has
been sentenced to 3.5 years which he was not expecting.
P[atient] denies S[uicidal] I[deation]/H[omicidal]
psychiatrist ordered that a follow-up appointment be
scheduled three months later in April 2015.
three weeks later on January 31st, Davis filed a request for
mental health treatment, writing, "I'm requesting to
speak or set an appointment with the psych Dr. ASAP ...
It's very urgent[.] Please help. Thank you very
much." A week later on February 8th, Davis filed another
request for mental health treatment, stating, "I'm
starting to feel closed in and it hard [sic] tobreath[e].
It's too small. This place is not condu[c]ive to my
mental state. Help please." QMHP Smith replied to these
two requests on February 16th, stating, "I'll see
you very soon. Sorry to hear you are feeling that way, "
and "You are scheduled for a follow up visit with the
psychiatrist in April. I will work you into the schedule to
see him sooner than April, and I will meet with you prior to
the appointment." Davis filed an inmate request on
February 25th, asking "to be evaluated and to speak to a
counselor" about "very terrible bad dreams ...