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Dale A. Neason v. Captain Bienko

October 5, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Michael A. Telesca United States District Judge


I. Introduction

In this action commenced pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, pro se plaintiff Dale A. Neason ("Neason" or "Plaintiff") alleges that while he was incarcerated at the Erie County Holding Center ("ECHC") and the Erie County Correctional Facility ("ECCF"), defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs and his safety in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Plaintiff was released to parole subsequent to the filing of this action.

Defendants have moved for summary judgment dismissing the Second Amended Complaint, the operative pleading in this case. The matter was transferred to the undersigned on October 3, 2012. For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' First Motion for Summary Judgment is granted, and the Second Amended Complaint is dismissed.

II. Factual Background

Unless otherwise noted, the following facts are undisputed, and are derived from the parties' statements pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 56.1, affidavits and declarations, and other submissions.

A. The Parties

Plaintiff was an inmate at ECHC and ECCF during all times relevant to this lawsuit. Defendant Superintendent Livingston was, at all relevant times, the First Deputy Superintendent of the Erie County Sheriff's Office, Jail Management Division ("JMD"), responsible for the day-to-day operations of ECCF. Defendant Captain Bienko ("Bienko") was and is a Captain with the Erie County Sheriff's Office JMD and, at all relevant times, was assigned to ECCF. Defendants Lieutenant Pyjas and Sergeant Green were at all relevant times, officers with the JMD. The Jane Doe defendants have not been identified by Plaintiff.

B. Plaintiff's Mental Health Treatment

Neason entered ECHC on February 21, 2009. On February 24, 2009, Coralyn Hunter, M.S. ("Hunter") performed an initial screening assessment and concluded that Neason was maintaining his competency and stability, and thus he was capable of living in general population at ECCF.

On March 5, 2009, Hunter and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Ellen Riley ("Riley") met with Neason, who was complaining of having difficulty sleeping and anxiety. Riley prescribed Trazodone (50 mg) to address the sleep issues and Lexapro (10 mg) to address the anxiety symptoms. On March 19, 2009, Neason returned for his follow-up appointment, complaining of continued sleeping impairments and a general depressed mood. Riley increased Neason's dosage of Lexapro to 20 mg and increased his dosage of Trazodone to 100 mg.

On April 2, 2009, Neason returned for his follow-up appointment, at which time he offered no complaints and indicated his sleeping and mood had improved and he was feeling calmer. Neason's medications were continued unchanged, and he was scheduled for a follow-up visit in four weeks. On April 30, 2009, Neason stated to Riley and Hunter that he was doing "a lot better" but had begun perspiring excessively at night. Riley discontinued the Trazodone and started him on Remeron (15 mg).

At his follow-up appointment on May 21, 2009, Neason reported that his sleeping had been uninterrupted and his perspiration had decreased since discontinuing the Trazodone. Riley increased the dosage of Remeron to 30 mg and maintained the dosage of Lexapro. Hunter scheduled Neason for a follow-up visit in approximately three weeks.

On May 24, 2009, Neason was transferred to ECCF. On May 27, 2009, Bonnie McLaughlin, M.S., L.M.H.C. ("McLaughlin"), performed an initial screening assessment. When Neason saw McLaughlin and psychiatrist Evelyn Coggins, M.D. ("Dr. Coggins"), he indicated that he was having continued difficulty sleeping. Dr. Coggins decreased the Lexapro dosage from 20 mg to 10 mg and left his Remeron dosage unchanged.

At his follow-up appointment on July 14, 2009, with Dr. Coggins, Neason indicated he was still having difficulty sleeping. Dr. Coggins discontinued the Lexapro and increased the Remeron dosage to 45 mg. Neason returned to see Dr. Coggins on August 17, 2009, at which time he reported feeling "unbalanced" and "down" with low energy. Dr. Coggins decreased the Remeron to 30 mg and prescribed Pristiq at 50 mg to address his symptoms of depression.

At his follow-up appointment on September 3, 2009, Neason reported continued trouble sleeping and concern related to his criminal charges. Dr. Coggins increased the Pristiq from 50 mg to 100 mg and decreased the Remeron from 30 mg to 15 mg. Dr. Coggins scheduled Neason to return for a follow-up appointment in approximately four weeks.

Following a threatened attempt to escape, Neason was reclassified as a security risk and accordingly was transferred from ECCF, a medium security facility, back to ECHC, a maximum security facility. After he returned to ECHC, Hunter and Riley resumed treatment of Neason until his transfer to the custody of New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision on February 18, 2010. During this period, Neason's dosage of Pristiq was decreased from 100 mg to 50 mg and ultimately discontinued at Neason's request on February 4, 2010.

C. Medical Treatment

Upon admission to ECCF, Neason was examined by a nurse from the medical department who noted that Neason had been diagnosed with glaucoma for which he applied eye drops in the morning. Neason was currently receiving various medications including Norvasc (amlodipine) (10 mg), which is used to treat high blood pressure. At the conclusion of her examination, ...

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