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Boggs v. Hembree

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

November 14, 2018

JEREMY MICHAEL BOGGS, Plaintiff,
v.
MAJOR GEORGE HEMBREE, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Hon. Pamela Meade Sargent United States Magistrate Judge

         Jeremy Michael Boggs, (“Boggs”), an inmate previously housed in the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail, (“SWVRJ”), in Duffield, Virginia, filed this case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. By Amended Complaint, (Docket Item No. 34), Boggs sues SWVRJ employees Major George Hembree, Captain Brian Parks, Sergeant Justin Dockery, Sergeant Todd Elam and Officer Lawson. Boggs also sues Laura Summers and Mediko, Inc., [1] (“Mediko”).

         This matter is before the court on the Motion To Dismiss filed by the defendants Hembree and Parks, (Docket Item No. 39), the Motion To Dismiss filed by the defendants Dockery, Elam and Lawson, (Docket Item No. 51), Defendant Laura Summers, QMHP's Motion For Summary Judgment, (Docket Item No. 52), and Defendant Mediko, PC's Motion For Summary Judgment, (Docket Item No. 54) (collectively, “Motions”). The plaintiff has responded to the Motions, (Docket Item No. 57), and various defendants have filed replies, (Docket Item Nos. 59, 60). Therefore, the Motions are ripe for decision.

         I. Facts

         In his Amended Complaint, Boggs alleged that defendants Hembree and Parks kept him in segregation resulting in long-term psychological issues that continue to require treatment. Boggs also alleged that Hembree and Parks were deliberately indifferent toward him. Boggs alleged that defendants Dockery, Elam and Lawson sexually harassed him by calling him a “faggot” and a “white supremacist, ” making a “limp wristed Hitler salute” to him and cursing him. He also alleged that one of the defendants made a gesture by grabbing his own groin. He alleged that the the jail employees' actions attempted to intimidate him because of his sexual preference, causing him mental and emotional anxiety. Boggs further alleged that defendants Summers and Mediko denied him mental health treatment and even instructed him to stop writing them with requests for help. Boggs seeks monetary damages.

         Summers has filed an affidavit in support of her motion for summary judgment. (Affidavit of Laura Summers, MA, QMHP, (Docket Item No. 53-1) (“Summers Affidavit”)). In this affidavit, Summers stated that she has a master's degree in human services and is a Qualified Mental Health Professional, (“QMHP”). (Summers Affidavit at 1.) Summers stated that she has worked with the Virginia Department of Corrections, (“VDOC”), as an independent contractor providing mental health care and treatment to inmates housed at SWVRJ since April 18, 2016. (Summers Affidavit at 1.) Summers stated that, to make a request to be seen by mental health staff at SWVRJ, an inmate submits a request through a kiosk in his room. (Summers Affidavit at 2.) Summers said that these requests are then processed and answered by members of the medical staff. (Summers Affidavit at 2.)

         Summers stated that Boggs was incarcerated at SWVRJ beginning on May 21, 2016. (Summers Affidavit at 2.) She said that Boggs submitted his first request for a mental health evaluation on January 3, 2017, and she answered Boggs's request within 24 hours and informed him that he had been placed on the list to be seen by the coordinator. (Summers Affidavit at 2.) Summers said that Boggs sent a second request on January 8, 2017, asking if he was on the list to be seen, and she responded the following day, advising him that he would first be seen by the coordinator. (Summers Affidavit at 2.) Boggs submitted a third request on January 12, 2017, Summer said, and, within an hour of his request, she asked him about his specific complaints. (Summers Affidavit at 2.) Summers said that Boggs responded five days later on January 17, 2017, that he “need[ed] someone to talk to.” (Summers Affidavit at 2.)

         Summers said that she, subsequently, visited Boggs later in the day on January 17, and he told her that he was being transferred to a different correctional facility and that he did not wish to see the psychiatrist at SWVRJ. (Summers Affidavit at 2.) Summers said that she told Boggs that he could request to be seen again in the future if he returned to SWVRJ. (Summers Affidavit at 2.) A Mental Health Sick Call record dated January 17, 2017, and attached to Summers's affidavit documented this interaction. (Summers Affidavit at 44.) On February 28, 2017, Boggs filed another request stating that he had requested help on January 17, 2017, and that he had not been seen and his post-traumatic stress disorder was getting worse. (Summers Affidavit at 2.) Summers said that she replied to Boggs on March 2, 2017, telling him that he needed to renew his request to be seen by the psychiatrist. (Summers Affidavit at 2.) She said that Boggs submitted this request on March 4, 2017, and she informed him that he would be placed on the list. (Summers Affidavit at 2.) She said Boggs submitted another similar request later on the same day, and she, again, informed him that he was on the list to be seen. (Summers Affidavit at 3.)

         Summers stated she requested Boggs to come to mental health for an assessment on April 10, 2017. (Summers Affidavit at 3.) She said that Boggs refused and wrote “problem solved” on his refusal form. (Summers Affidavit at 3.) Summers said Boggs escaped while he was on work release during the summer of 2017. (Summers Affidavit at 3.) She said that he eventually was found and re-booked into SWVRJ. (Summers Affidavit at 3.) Boggs submitted two duplicate requests for a mental health consult on July 14, 2017, she said. (Summers Affidavit at 3.) Summers said that she placed Boggs on the list to be seen and assured him that he would be seen as soon as possible. (Summers Affidavit at 3.) She said Boggs filed this lawsuit against her on July 29, 2017.[2]

         Summers said that she saw Boggs on August 7, 2017, and he complained of depression, poor sleep, nightmares and panic. (Summers Affidavit at 3.) Summers said she recommended that Boggs be prescribed medication for depression and submitted a referral for him to see the psychiatrist. (Summers Affidavit at 3.) As a QMHP, Summers said, she cannot prescribe medications, but, instead, makes recommendations to the psychiatrist based upon her assessments. (Summers Affidavit at 3.) Summers said that, after the August 7 appointment with Boggs, he submitted four additional requests about needing to see the psychiatrist and she responded to each request with an “assurance” that he was on the list to be seen. (Summers Affidavit at 3.)

         Summers said the psychiatrist evaluated Boggs on October 24, 2017. (Summers Affidavit at 3.) Since his initial meeting with the psychiatrist, Summers said, Boggs had submitted six kiosk requests, to each of which she had timely responded. (Summers Affidavit at 3.) She said that SWVRJ inmates were scheduled to be seen for follow-up appointments with the psychiatrist every 90 days. (Summers Affidavit at 3.) Summers stated that Boggs was scheduled to be seen for his follow-up appointment in mid-January 2018. (Summers Affidavit at 3.)

         Summers said she personally visited and assessed Boggs on January 17, 2017, and, again, on August 8, 2017. (Summers Affidavit at 4.) She said that Boggs refused her assessments on two other occasions. (Summers Affidavit at 4.) Summers said that Boggs visited the psychiatrist on October 24, 2017, and that, since that date, he continued to submit requests via the kiosk, to which she responded. (Summers Affidavit at 4.) She stated that she was never deliberately indifferent to any of Bogg's medical needs. (Summers Affidavit at 4.)

         Summers attached Boggs's mental health records to her affidavit. (Summers Affidavit at 5-109.) These records contain a May 23, 2016, Admission Medical History and Physical, which stated that Boggs was not then taking any psychotropic medication. (Summers Affidavit at 5.) This report also noted that Boggs denied any thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts in the past. (Summers Affidavit at 7.) It also noted that Boggs denied ever being treated for any mental health problems. (Summers Affidavit at 7.) These records also contain a July 6, 2017, Receiving Screening, on which Boggs indicated that he was then experiencing depression. (Summers Affidavit at 16.)

         A Brief Jail Mental Health Screen form dated July 6, 2017, noted that Boggs made no mental health complaints. (Summers Affidavit at 52.) It also stated that Boggs denied ever being in a hospital for emotional or mental health problem. (Summers Affidavit at 52.)

         These records also contain an August 1, 2017, Mental Health Sick Call note stating that Boggs had written Summers telling her to “do her job.” (Summers Affidavit at 44.) Summers noted that she spoke with Boggs, who was aggravated and angry, and she explained the mental health waiting list process to him. (Summers Affidavit at 44.) She noted that Boggs said he had sent messages to mental health each month that were ignored. (Summers Affidavit at 44.) Summers noted that she reviewed the messages she had received from Boggs, and she found she had responded to each message; she also stated that Boggs had not submitted any requests from March to July 11, 2017. (Summers Affidavit at 44.) Summers also noted that she had requested Boggs to come to mental health to see her on April 10, 2017, but Boggs signed a refusal form, stating “problem solved.” (Summers Affidavit at 44.)

         A Mental Health Sick Call note dated August 7, 2017, stated that Summers evaluated Boggs on that date and assessed him with an adjustment disorder. (Summers Affidavit at 43.) Summers noted that she scheduled Boggs to see the psychiatrist. (Summers Affidavit at 43.) The Mental Health Appraisal form from this date stated that Boggs complained of being very depressed, difficulty getting out of bed, not sleeping well, nightmares, anxiety, panic attacks and feeling claustrophobic. (Summers Affidavit at 46.) Boggs denied having any suicidal or homicidal ideations or hallucinations. (Summers Affidavit at 46.) Boggs stated that he also experienced loss of interest, racing thoughts, restlessness and apprehension. (Summers Affidavit at 47.)

         Boggs reported being diagnosed previously with bipolar disorder. (Summers Affidavit at 46.) On this occasion, Boggs stated that he previously had received both inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment and medication. (Summers Affidavit at 48.) He stated that he had been treated at The Laurels, in Lebanon, Virginia, the previous year and was prescribed Suboxone and something for anxiety. (Summers Affidavit at 48.) On this occasion, Boggs stated that he had a history of abusing methamphetamine and cocaine. (Summers Affidavit at 48.)

         Summers noted that Boggs's appearance, behavior, speech, mood, thought processes, perceptions and cognitive functioning were all within normal limits. (Summers Affidavit at 49-50.) She noted that Boggs had fair judgment/insight, and she diagnosed Boggs as suffering from an adjustment disorder. (Summers Affidavit at 50.) She scheduled a consult for Boggs with the psychiatrist. (Summers Affidavit at 50.)

         A Psychiatry Progress Note dated October 24, 2017, documented that Dr. Bruce Stevens, M.D., evaluated Boggs on that date. (Summers Affidavit at 53-55.) Dr. Stevens noted that this was Boggs's initial psychiatric evaluation. (Summers Affidavit at 53.) He stated that Boggs was serving a sentence for felony eluding when he became high on methamphetamine while on work release and escaped. (Summers Affidavit at 53.) Dr. Stevens noted that Boggs provided a history of polysubstance dependence, including benzodiazepines, cocaine, methamphetamine and stimulants and a previous diagnosis of bipolar disorder. (Summers Affidavit at 53.) Dr. Stevens noted that he reviewed Boggs's medical, social and family history with the QMHP. (Summers Affidavit at 53.) Dr. Stevens also noted that Boggs was alert, well-groomed, cooperative, with appropriate behavior, normal rate, quantity and quality of speech, depressed and anxious mood, euthymic and constricted affect, logical/linear, goal-directed thought processes and no delusional thought content or hallucinations. (Summers Affidavit at 53-54.) Dr. Stevens diagnosed polysubstance dependence, ...


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