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Fuller v. Ranney

February 17, 2010

STACY FULLER, 06-B-2675, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL RANNEY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties have consented to the assignment of this case to the undersigned to conduct all proceedings in this case, including the entry of final judgment. Dkt. #38.

Currently before the Court are the following motions:

(1) Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. #47);

(2) Plaintiff's "Motion to Grant Summary Judgment Due to Lack of Opposition Thereto" (Dkt. #60);

(3) Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. #77); and

(4) Plaintiff's "2nd Notice of Motion" requesting the Court treat Plaintiff's Response (Dkt. ##82-85) to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as a Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. #86).

Plaintiff commenced this pro se action on or about January 17, 2006 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Dkt. #1. Thereafter, plaintiff filed two amended complaints (Dkt. ##3 and 15). At all times relevant to the allegations in plaintiff's amended complaint, plaintiff was incarcerated at the Erie County Holding Center. Specifically, plaintiff was incarcerated at the Erie County Holding Center from on or about September 14, 2005 to October 4, 2006 when he was transferred to the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services. Plaintiff is currently in the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services and is being housed at the Eastern Correctional Facility. Plaintiff alleges that while he was incarcerated at the Erie County Holding Center, he was denied adequate psychiatric and psychological treatment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Dkt. #15.

Plaintiff's "2nd Notice of Motion" (Dkt. #86) requesting the Court treat Plaintiff's Response to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. ##82-85) as a Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment is granted. The Court notes that it has fully considered each and every motion and opposition thereto filed by the parties. For the following reasons, plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. #47), plaintiff's "Motion to Grant Summary Judgment Due to Lack of Opposition Thereto" (Dkt. #60), and plaintiff's response to defendants' motion for summary judgment (Dkt. ##82-85) (cross motion for summary judgment (Dkt. #86)) are denied and defendants' motion for summary judgment (Dkt. #77) is granted.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, commenced this action on or about January 16, 2006 against "Michael Ranney, Forensic Director, Dr. Joseph, and July, Forensic Counselor." Dkt. #1. Thereafter, plaintiff amended his complaint once as of right (Dkt. #3) on July 24, 2006 and defendants filed their answer on October 31, 2006 (Dkt. #9).

What purports to be a second amended complaint was filed on January 22, 2007 (Dkt. #15), however, the Court notes that the document filed is neither a motion to amend the complaint nor was the plaintiff ever granted permission from this Court to amend his complaint. Moreover, the Court further notes that it has carefully compared the amended complaint (Dkt. #3) and the purported second amended complaint (Dkt. #15) and has concluded that there were no changes to the substantive factual allegations presented in the amended complaint (Dkt. #3). Compare Dkt. ## 3 and 15. Accordingly, this Court concludes that although a purported second amended complaint was filed by the Clerk's Office, it is not an operational document insofar as plaintiff neither sought nor received permission from this Court to file a second amended complaint. The Court further notes, however, that for purposes of deciding the pending motions, the Court has fully considered the allegations in the purported second amended complaint (Dkt. #15).

On or about September 15, 2005, plaintiff was admitted to the Erie County Holding Center. Dkt. #55, ¶ 1. In his amended complaint, however, plaintiff alleges that he was arrested and brought to the Erie County Holding Center on or about September 14, 2005 and was immediately housed in a "Constant Observation Unit." Dkt. #3, p.3. On September 16, 2005, plaintiff was evaluated by defendant Juli Van Woert*fn1 in the Erie County Holding center's constant observation unit. Dkt. #55, ¶ 2. In her affidavit, defendant Van Woert explained that plaintiff was initially housed in the constant observation unit by the deputies involved in his booking because plaintiff was threatening to hurt himself. Dkt. #79-8, ¶ 6. Defendant Van Woert further noted in her affidavit that prior to her evaluation of plaintiff, plaintiff was evaluated by Dr. Ronald Moscati of the Erie County Holding Center's medical department and plaintiff was prescribed drug withdrawal controlling medication. Id. Defendant Van Woert completed a three-page Screening and Admission Summary following her evaluation of plaintiff. Id. On the Screening and Admission Summary, defendant Van Woert noted that plaintiff reported a history of depression, drug and alcohol abuse, drug and alcohol withdrawal and lifestyle and other problems. Id. In addition, defendant Van Woert checked the line for "Forensic Housing" and placed a question mark next to "Psychiatric Assessment/Med Assessment." Id. Defendant Van Woert discontinued constant observation for plaintiff and approved him to be moved to either the Delta Long or Delta Short housing unit with routine supervision. Dkt. #79-8, ¶ 7. In his amended complaint, plaintiff alleges that "on or about September 16, 2005, the Plaintiff was transferred from "Constant Observation" ... to a forensic block ..." Dkt. #3, p.3.

On September 23, 2005, plaintiff was again seen by defendant Van Woert, as well as Dr. Brian Joseph.*fn2 Dkt. #79-8, ¶ 3; Dkt. #79-10, ¶ 6. At that time, defendant Van Woert completed a Forensic Mental Health Service Medication/Psychiatric Consultation Form. Dkt. #55, ¶ 3. On the form, defendant Van Woert noted that the reason for the consultation was "eval for depression, meds [questionable hx psychosis]". In the section titled Counselor Comments & Observations, defendant Van Woert stated "c/o 8 depression and ... states recent meds of Celexa Depakote and Seroquel Heavy ETOH, cocaine marijuana to 9/14/05 multiple X hospital locally and in NYC per client." Dkt. #55, ¶ 3; Dkt. #59, p.24. On the same form, defendant Van Woert completed the section "Psychiatric Response" with extensive notes reflecting her evaluation of plaintiff. Dkt. #55, ¶ 4; Dkt. #59, p.24. In her affidavit, defendant Van Woert noted that plaintiff had advised her that he was receiving mental health treatment in Chautauqua County and had been taking Celexa, Depakote and Seroquel until three weeks prior to his incarceration. Dkt. #79-8, ¶ 7. However, plaintiff was unable to provide defendant Van Woert with any further information concerning the dosage of the medication or pharmacy information. Id.

In his affidavit submitted in support of his motion for summary judgment, defendant Brian Joseph described his September 23, 2005 interaction with plaintiff as follows:

I became involved in Mr. Fuller's care on September 23, 2006 [sic] pursuant to a referral made at the plaintiff's request to be evaluated by a Psychiatrist. Mr. Fuller was evasive during our interview. He advised me about what medications he allegedly had been taking before his incarceration, but did not provide me with specific information regarding dosages or medical providers. He informed me of a long history of mental illness, but was vague about where he had received treatment, only saying that he had been a patient at the Erie County Medical Center on numerous occasions years ago. With regard to illegal drug use, Mr. Fuller advised that he uses "everything", but refused to tell me what his source of money was. We discussed the charges against him also. During our interaction, Mr. Fuller appeared calm and appropriate. One of the inconsistent findings that I noted was that Mr. Fuller's speech was slowed; however, his overall body movement was normal. Also, he frequently stated that he did not know the answers to questions that he really could have answered. In addition to his evasiveness, Mr. Fuller was manipulative. My ...


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