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DOE v. HARRIS

June 30, 1980

John DOE, Plaintiff,
v.
Patricia R. HARRIS, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CANNELLA

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Motion by plaintiff, for judgment on the pleadings, is granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c).

 Motion by defendant, for judgment on the pleadings, is denied. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c).

 This matter is remanded to the Secretary for further proceedings in accordance with this Memorandum and Order. 42 U.S.C. ยง 405(g).

 Jurisdiction is based upon the Social Security Act. Id.

 FACTS

 There is no dispute about the facts leading up to claimant's current psychiatric condition. Claimant began working as a New York City Police Officer in 1968, when he was twenty-eight years old. Approximately two-and-a-half years later, he started to display symptoms of psychiatric disorder. Because of his fears that "others were following him, that the Mafia were plotting against him, and that there (was) a plot to murder him and make it look like an accident," he was admitted to Bellevue Hospital Psychiatric Division in January 1971, and diagnosed as suffering from "schizophrenia, paranoid type." *fn1" He stated at one point that he had tried to assist a woman who was having trouble with her car in a parking lot, but that she had attempted to run him over. He then concluded that the FBI had hired her to kill him. *fn2" After approximately one week at Bellevue, he was transferred to a different hospital, where he remained for about another month. *fn3" While at Bellevue, the claimant received 300 milligrams of Thorazine daily. *fn4"

 After his discharge in early March, plaintiff continued to see a psychiatrist and receive medication as an outpatient, *fn5" until his psychiatrist discontinued his medication and advised him to return to duty as a police officer. The record, unfortunately, does not specify when this occurred. By later October 1971, however, he had resurrected his fear that the FBI was after him, and that "someone was going to kill him," and consequently was re-admitted to Bellevue. *fn6" Hospital psychiatrists again diagnosed his problem as paranoid-type schizophrenia, and resumed medication. According to one of the attending physicians, claimant suffered from "persecutory and grandiose delusions," and "(h)is affect was flat and his insight and judgment were markedly impaired." *fn7"

 After approximately a month, claimant was transferred to Rockland State Hospital, which recorded the following: "During the first weeks he appeared to be psychotic, delusional, thinking that people from the FBI were after him in order to kill him. He was at times depressed, very scared and even sobbing." *fn8" Claimant's overt symptoms eventually subsided, however. A notation into his record dated January 4, 1972, states: "At the present time he doesn't appear to be overtly psychotic. He appears to be pleasant, polite and cooperative. Sensorium is clear. He has more insight into his problem and better judgment. He appears to be in good physical condition." *fn9" The following day he was transferred to a Veterans Administration Hospital, where he remained for another week.

 Unfortunately, the record below contains no evidence of what claimant did from the time he was discharged from the Veterans Administration Hospital to November 1972, when he submitted his resignation from the Police Department. *fn10" The circumstances of that resignation, however, suggest that his psychiatric illness had not, in fact, permanently abated. Claimant wrote the following letter to his commanding officer:

 
I . . . want to make it clear that my life is in danger. Certain people (namely the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. or other agents or informers) are planning to murder me. They are going to make it look like an accident, a set up or planned accident, to wipe me out. *fn11"

 The letter then named certain people who claimant believed were members of the conspiracy against him.

 In January 1973, the Police Commissioner accepted claimant's resignation. Thereafter, claimant's attorney commenced a special proceeding in the New York State Supreme Court to set aside his resignation and reinstate him so as to enable him to receive a disability pension. On the basis of claimant's past psychiatric history and the content of his resignation letter, the Supreme Court found claimant to have been of unsound mind when he resigned, and therefore declared his resignation a nullity. The court ordered the Commissioner to reinstate him for the purpose of his applying for a disability pension. *fn12"

 The record also contains little indication of what plaintiff did from the time of his resignation to approximately November 1974, when he began receiving his disability pension from the Police Department. After he started receiving the pension, he tried to work at two different jobs. For three months, he worked as a "helper" for a furniture mover, and thereafter he drove a taxi until he killed a passenger on May 5, 1975.

 The record is unfortunately sparse in details about this incident. It appears that while plaintiff was driving his taxi, an altercation developed with an eighty-year-old passenger. After the passenger left the taxi, claimant ran him down and killed him. Claimant was arrested, indicted for second degree murder, and held in the Prison Hospital of the New York City House of Detention for Men at Riker's Island awaiting trial. *fn13" Two psychiatrists who examined the claimant shortly after his arrest found him unfit to stand trial and in need of hospitalization. *fn14" One ...


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