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Meyer v. Corizon Medical Services

United States District Court, D. Idaho

November 14, 2017

BRANDON M. MEYER, Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON MEDICAL SERVICES et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          David C. Nye, U.S. District Court Judge

         I. OVERVIEW

         Plaintiff Brandon Meyer complains that Defendants provided him with inadequate mental health treatment, in violation of the Eight Amendment to the Constitution, while the Idaho Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) housed him as an inmate at the Idaho State Correctional Institution (“ISCI”) outside of Kuna, Idaho. Defendant Corizon, LLC (“Corizon”) is a company that provides medical services to inmates at ISCI. Defendant Dr. Scott Eliason is a Corizon employee and one of Meyer's treating psychologists at ISCI. Defendant Keith Yordy is the warden at ISCI.

         This matter comes before the Court on three motions for summary judgment: one filed jointly by Corizon and Eliason, one filed by Yordy, and one filed by Meyer. Dkts. 39, 40, 43. Having reviewed the record and briefs, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, the Court will decide the pending motions without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1(d)(2)(ii). For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS the Defendants' motions and DENIES Meyer's motion.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         In October of 2014, Meyer was transferred to ISCI. Meyer has a history of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, suicidal ideations, and drug and alcohol abuse. Eliason “treated [Meyer] in the outside community before his incarceration and was well aware of his medical records, substance abuse history, and mental health history upon his arrival at ISCI.” Dkt. 27-1, at 4. When Meyer arrived at ISCI on October 2, 2014, he filled out a “medical history and screening form.” Dkt. 27-2, at 2-7. On that form, Meyer indicated that he was taking Zyprexa, Clonazepam, Effexor, and Prilosec and indicated that he had been hospitalized several times for suicidal ideations. Id. at 4-6. That day, a licensed nurse practitioner named Effie Reed screened the form, cleared Meyer for general housing, and referred Meyer to “mental health” for a follow up evaluation within 24 hours. Id. On October 3, a licensed professional counselor named C. Bennett evaluated Meyer. Id. at 6. The counselor determined that Meyer was exhibiting some depression, but that his risk of self-harm was low. Id. The counselor also scheduled Meyer for another mental health assessment within fourteen days. Id.

         On October 7, a licensed master of social work named B. Lewis performed a “secondary mental health assessment/evaluation” of Meyer. Id. at 7. During this evaluation, Meyer reported four previous suicide attempts and stated that he had previously been prescribed Haldol, Effexor, “lithium, Geodon, Zyprexa, Buspar, ‘everything.'” Id. at 7-8. Meyer also reported that he was concerned about bipolar disorder and that he had experienced auditory and visual hallucinations, PTSD, and had a history of alcohol abuse. Id. at 12. The social worker formulated an initial treatment plan, on which Meyer signed off, and recommended that Meyer be referred to ISCI's “specialized Mental Health unit.” Id. at 13-14.

         On October 9, 2014, Eliason “assessed and evaluated [Meyer] in person.” Dkt. 27-1, at 6. Meyer reported increased anxiety “since he was taken off [K]lonopin recently.” Id. Eliason noted that at that time Meyer was taking Zyprexa, Effexor, and Cogentin. Dkt. 27-2, at 15. Eliason determined that the Cogentin was unnecessary and discontinued Meyer's Cogentin prescription. Id.; Dkt. 27-1, at 6. Finally, Eliason diagnosed Meyer with alcohol and cannabis use disorder, bipolar disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Dkt. 27-1, at 6.

         On October 21, 2014, a licensed master of social work from the Behavioral Health Unit named T. Ruth assessed Meyer, this time to develop a longer-term treatment plan. Id.; Dkt. 27-2, at 17. Among other things, Meyer reported his Effexor prescription had been discontinued after he had stopped taking it three days prior and that he wanted to have it restarted. Dkt. 27-2, at 17. The social worker recommended that IDOC house Meyer in the Behavioral Health Unit for a 30-day assessment period. Id. The social worker also drafted a treatment plan, on which Meyer signed off. Id. at 17.

         Through 2014 and 2015, Eliason and T. Ruth continued to meet with Meyer to assess his mental health and treatment plan about once a month. Both encouraged Meyer to enroll in anxiety and depression groups and to engage in “behavioral activation, ” such as group therapy, taking classes, or exercising, to improve his mood. In 2014, T. Ruth met with and evaluated Meyer on November 13 and December 17. In 2015, T. Ruth met with Meyer on at least all of the following dates: January 14, February 18, March 4, April 8, April 22, June 23, August 3, October 5, October 22, October 28, and November 26. During 2015, several other mental health professionals met with and evaluated Meyer on occasion. T. Ruth and these other mental health professionals created, implemented, and adjusted several individualized treatment plans for Meyer.

         Eliason continually monitored and adjusted Meyer's medication to find a formula that worked for him, based on objective observations and Meyer's subjective reports. In 2014, Eliason saw Meyer on November 26 and December 17. At the November 26 examination, Eliason increased Meyer's dosage of Effexor. During the December 17 examination, Eliason discontinued Meyer's Zyprexa prescription and replaced it with Depakote. In 2015, Eliason saw Meyer (and adjusted his medications) on the following dates: February 18 (increased Effexor), April 1 (increased Depakote), May 27, June 10 (added Abilify), July 8 (added Buspar), August 26 (added Inderal), September 23 (stopped Inderal, increased Abilify), September 30 (increased Abilify), November 18 (started Zyprexa), and December 15 (discontinued Zyprexa, started Vistaril, increased Burspar). Eliason was always informed if Meyer refused his medication on three consecutive occasions. This pattern of refusal occurred at least twice during 2014 and 2015.

         During the spring of 2015, Meyer twice filed medical grievances. On March 31, 2015, Meyer filed Grievance No. II 150000349, in which he complained about Eliason's medical decision to change Meyer's prescription mental health medications. On initial review, Corizon employees advised Meyer that he could raise his medication concerns with Eliason during his scheduled appointments. Meyer appealed this response. In April of 2015, Rona Siegert, IDOC's Health Services Director, reviewed the grievance on appeal and Meyer's medical files. Siegert did not find any indifference to Meyer's medical needs in her review. She concluded that Eliason had evaluated and diagnosed Meyer before determining, in his professional judgment and opinion, what medications he felt were best to treat his mental health condition. She issued a written decision on the grievance and directed Meyer to discuss any concerns he had with Eliason directly.

         On May 19, 2015, Meyer filed Grievance No. II 150000550, in which he complained that Eliason had not written a diagnosis of Meyer's health conditions in completing the reply section of a concern form. Upon initial review, Corizon employees advised Meyer that he could see Eliason or his clinician to review his diagnosis and treatment plan. Meyer again appealed. Seigert reviewed the grievance on appeal in June of 2015. She answered the grievance by ...


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