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Kraton Mcgugan v. Linda L. Aldana-Bernier

April 30, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Tucker L. Melancon United States District Judge


Before the Court is defendants Dr. Rabbi Mahmudur, Femi Abioye, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, Dr. Shushan Hovanesian, and Dr. Lilian Aldana-Bernier's*fn1 Motions to Dismiss [Rec. Doc. 46, 53, 56]*fn2 , plaintiff Kraton McGugan's Memorandum in Opposition thereto [Rec. Doc. 49, 51, 54, 58]*fn3 , and defendants' Reply Memoranda [Rec. Doc. 50, 52, 55] in further support of the motions. For the reasons that follow, defendants' motions will be GRANTED.

Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint alleges that plaintiff was involuntarily taken from a New York airport to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center ("JHMC") by Gamaliel Bonilla, Kenneth Bogle, and Officer Angerhauser, and further alleges that defendants Linda Aldana-Bernier, M.D., Sushan Hovanesian, M.D., Rabbi Mahmuduer, M.D., and Remi Abioye, R.N. conducted inadequate examinations, leading to an improper involuntary hospitalization of plaintiff. Plaintiff brings federal claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 29 U.S.C § 794, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and New York state law claims for medical malpractice.

I. Background

This statement of facts is drawn from plaintiff's second amended complaint [Rec. Doc. 29], which the Court accepts as true for purposes of defendants' motions to dismiss.

a. Airplane Flight and Transport to JHMC

On July 23, 2008, plaintiff boarded a plane in San Francisco bound for New York City. During the flight, she requested a seat change because she began to cough uncontrollably, due to bronchitis, and she did not want to disturb passengers seated nearby. Initially, her request was denied, but later was granted after plaintiff used "stronger language." She moved to an empty row of seats and immediately fell asleep.

Upon awakening after the plane landed in New York, plaintiff found herself surrounded by three police officers. The officers handcuffed her and escorted her to an airport police station where she was questioned about her trip to New York. Plaintiff asserts that she answered the questions truthfully and in a non-hostile way. Shortly thereafter, plaintiff was transported to JHMC by Bogle, Bonilla and Officer Angerhauser. Plaintiff asserts that Bogle, Bonilla, or Officer Angerhauser administered an unknown medication by injection without her permission, which sedated her. Plaintiff further asserts that she was cooperative and did not engage in hostile behavior.

b. Initial Examination/Treatment

Plaintiff remained sedated through her arrival at the emergency room at JHMC. Dr. Bacares, now deceased and thus not a defendant in this action, wrote a medication order authorizing the forcible administration of medication. Plaintiff asserts that Dr. Bacares did not conduct an evaluation of plaintiff's mental status prior to authorizing the forcible administration of medication. Pursuant to Dr. Bacares medication order, defendant Abioye, a registered nurse, administered a combination of Haldol*fn4 , Benadryl, and Ativan by injection. Furthermore, defendant Dr. Mahmudur issued a medication order that authorized the nursing staff to forcibly administer Haldol, Benadryl, and Activan on a as-needed basis. Plaintiff further asserts that Dr. Mahmudur and other members of the hospital staff failed to seek or obtain a court order permitting the administration of medication to plaintiff over her objection.

c. Psychiatric Evaluation

On July 25, 2008, the plaintiff became frustrated and demanded to see a friend, Chris Tulipanov, using "curse words." Pursuant to Dr. Mahmudur's medication order, defendant Abioye administered medication over plaintiff's objection. Plaintiff asserts that she was not causing nor imminently likely to cause harm to herself or to others. Subsequently, hospital staff questioned plaintiff and she said she was in a romantic relationship with Chris Tulipanov. A staff member then attempted to contact Chris Tulipanov but mistakenly contacted Kris Dickman instead, plaintiff's ex-boyfriend. Mr. Dickman told the staff member that he was not in a relationship with plaintiff and described a dispute the two had in which plaintiff threw a metal object at him. Plaintiff asserts that hospital staff believed that she was suffering from delusions due to the fact that Mr. Dickman stated that he was no longer in a relationship with plaintiff.

Defendant Dr. Aldana-Bernier then conducted a psychiatric evaluation. Plaintiff asserts that she was heavily sedated during the evaluation and thus had difficulty talking to Dr. Aldana-Bernier.

Plaintiff further asserts that Dr. Aldana-Bernier stereotyped her as dangerous and failed to conduct a minimally competent assessment. On July 26, 2008, Dr. Aldana-Bernier concluded that plaintiff suffered from a mental illness and certified plaintiff's involuntary hospitalization to JHMC pursuant to New York Mental Hygiene Law § 9.39.

Later on the same day, defendant Dr. Hovanesian evaluated plaintiff and confirmed the need for involuntary hospitalization pursuant to Mental Hygiene Law ยง 9.39 on the ground that the plaintiff posed a danger to others. Plaintiff asserts that Dr. Hovanesian also performed a substandard ...

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