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Jones v. Caskey

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

March 27, 2014

JAMES C. JONES, 334803, Plaintiff,
v.
DALE CASKEY, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

LINDA R. ANDERSON, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff James C. Jones was an inmate at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility [EMCF] in October 2007 through February 2008, and is now incarcerated in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections [MDOC] in Parchman, Mississippi. He filed this ยง 1983 action alleging that Defendants injected him with Haldol against his will, violating his Due Process liberty rights. Presently before the Court are the motions of Defendants for summary judgment [56 & 62]. This Court conducted an omnibus hearing on November 10, 2011, and a pretrial/settlement conference on February 6, 2014, and Plaintiff was allowed to testify under oath regarding his claims against these Defendants. Having considered the motion [62] and the competent summary judgment evidence, the Court concludes that the motion should be granted.

Facts

Plaintiff contends that he was transferred from the Delta Correctional Institution to EMCF on April 24, 2007. He has been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia and personality disorder with explosive outbursts, as well as Bipolar I, with psychosis. In October 2007, he was forcibly injected with Haldol. According to Jones, he was "totally deprived of his life, liberty, and interest..." [Complaint #1, p. 16]. Jones challenges whether he was given due process and whether the administration used the proper procedures. He also questions whether the medical personnel possessed the requisite knowledge and expertise to make the decision to administer the drug. Jones testified that he received four injections, from November 2007 through January 2008. According to Jones, the medication altered his walking ability, causing him to be unable to exercise much or play basketball; his physical abilities "had left" him. His voice changed, and his speech started to slur. He could not wash his clothes regularly, as it took him longer to wash his clothes with his hands. He lost his appetite, and it took him longer to chew his food. His sleep patterns changed-he could not sleep at night but would sleep long periods during the day. He lost interest in activities, such as relitigating his case. He had problems dressing. He lost excessive weight.

Jones sued 14 persons, some of whom were medical personnel at EMCF and some were security officials at EMCF. Only Defendants Patricia Hart, Teresa Shepherd, Marshall Powe, Dr. Ricardo Gillespie and Dr. Dennis Huggins were properly served and answered the Complaint.

In support of their motion, Defendants attached the omnibus hearing transcript [62-1] and the Affidavit of Sandra Atwood, R.N., with Jones's medical records [62-2]. Dr. Atwood was the Health Services Administrator for EMCF, managed the Medical Department, and was the custodian of the medical records during the applicable period.

Summary Judgment Standard

Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure sets forth the requirements for summary judgment. Rule 56, in relevant part, provides that summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. R. 56(c). To determine if there is a genuine issue of material fact, the Court must decide "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986). The United States Supreme Court has held that entry of summary judgment is appropriate only "after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a sufficient showing to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The plaintiff's burden of proof is established by the elements of the substantive law, and only facts relevant to those elements will be considered for summary judgment. Id. at 322.

Legal Analysis

It is established under the law that a prisoner "possesses a significant liberty interest in avoiding the unwanted administration of anti-psychotic drugs under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment." Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210, 221-22 (1990). However, the necessity of security and safety in prisons is also wellestablished, even if the prisoner's right is fundamental. Id. at 223 (citations omitted). Because of this, the Due Process Clause permits the government to forcibly medicate a prison inmate with a serious mental illness "if the inmate is dangerous to himself or others and the treatment is in the inmate's medical interest." Id. at 227.

The Court in Harper found that due process principles were satisfied if the following occurred before an inmate was made to take psychotropic drugs involuntarily:

1. A psychiatrist analyzed him and recommended drug treatment;
2. A hearing was held before an independent group of doctors and ...

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