United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. Nye U.S. District Court Judge.
before the Court is Defendant Rona Siegert's Motion for
Summary Judgment (Dkt. 39) and Defendants Corizon Medical
Services, P.A. Karen Barrett, and N.P. Jane Seys
(collectively “Corizon Defendants”) Motion for
Summary Judgment (Dkt. 40). Also pending is Plaintiff Dennis
Mintun's Renewed Motion for Appointment of Counsel. Dkt.
Motions are fully briefed and ripe for the Court's
review. Having fully reviewed the record herein, the Court
finds the parties have adequately presented the facts and
legal arguments in the briefs and record. 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 decides the Motions without
oral argument. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
GRANTS both Summary Judgment Motions and DENIES Mintun's
Motion for Appointment of Counsel.
Dennis Mintun is an inmate incarcerated by the Idaho
Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) at the Idaho
State Correctional Institution (“ISCI”) in Kuna,
Medical Services is a private corporation under contract to
provide medical and mental health care to inmates at IDOC
Barrett and Jane Seys are mental health care providers
employed by Corizon. Barrett is a Physician Assistant and
Seys is a Registered Nurse. Dkt 40-2.
Siegert is IDOC's Health Services Director at ISCI and
oversees Corizon's provision of medical services to
prisoners at IDOC facilities. Dkt. 39-5.
February 28, 2011, Mintun visited P.A. Barrett and complained
about “becoming forgetful” and “being
uncomfortable around people he does not know, ” while
also reporting that he was “happy and fine”
around people he does know. Dkt 40-2. According to Mintun,
these feelings had only surfaced within the previous two
weeks. Id. Barrett undertook an evaluation of Mintun
and noted that he had previously reported stress, anxiety,
fear of other inmates, difficulties sleeping, and concerns
that he might have PTSD. Id. Mintun was
participating in counseling with IDOC clinicians and IDOC
employees who are Licensed Professional Counselors that
assist inmates in developing coping strategies for dealing
with the stresses of prison. Id. Mintun had also
been prescribed anti-depressants, but for some reason had
stopped taking them. Id.
also noted that Mintun had previously made complaints
regarding his unit placement at ISCI, and that he reported
that his mental health symptoms had improved significantly
after being moved to a unit that he preferred. Id.
Upon review of his file, Barrett directed Mintun to see a
medical health care provider to rule out a physiological
basis for his memory loss, to continue seeing clinicians for
counselling, and to return in three months. Id.
Mintun continued to receive counseling as directed.
March 9, 2011, in one of his counseling sessions, Mintun
expressed, apparently for the first time, a concern that he
thought he might be “mildly autistic.”
Id. In an attempt to alleviate Mintun's
concerns, the clinician gave Mintun a pamphlet on
Asperger's Syndrome. Id. Mintun later told a
counselor that he was “born with Asperger's
Syndrome, ” and claimed that his mother had confirmed
as much in a telephone conversation. Id.
next saw Barrett on November 19, 2011, because he had been
“reading up on” Asperger's Syndrome and
wanted Barrett to diagnose him. Id. After evaluating
Mintun and his symptoms, Barrett concluded that he did not
meet the diagnostic criteria for Asperger's Syndrome and
that his symptoms were entirely consistent with the stress
and anxiety associated with the correctional context.
Id. In particular, Barrett noted that Plaintiff was
pleasant, had a normal affect, made good eye contact, and did
not report other symptoms associated with Asperger's
Syndrome. Id. She also noted that clinicians
regularly reported Plaintiff as being pleasant and having a
normal affect. Id.
Barrett determined that there was no need for an independent
evaluation of Mintun and that the treatment he was receiving,
including counselling, was appropriate in light of
Plaintiff's refusal to continue taking medications.
subsequent visits with clinicians, Mintun stated that he was
“doing well” and “ha[d] no concerns,
” but continued to state that he wanted to be tested
for Asperger's Syndrome. Id. He also continued
to complain about his placement in the correctional
February 13, 2012, Mintun filed the first of three grievances
requesting that Siegert review Barrett's determination
that an outside medical evaluation was unnecessary. Upon
review, Siegert deferred to Barrett's professional
opinion and recommended that Mintun continue working with
August 27, 2012, Mintun filed a second grievance again
requesting that an outside psychologist examine him to verify
whether he had Asperger's Syndrome. Siegert determined
that she had already addressed this issue in Mintun's
previous appeal and noted that absent new information her
position would not change.
had his first visit with N.P. Seys on August 7, 2014, after
complaining that he was “stressed, tense, and
irritable.” Id. Mintun expressed to Seys his
idea that he might have Asperger's Syndrome. Id.
Like Barrett, upon review, Seys determined that Plaintiff did
not meet the diagnostic criteria for Asperger's Syndrome,
and that an independent evaluation was unnecessary.
Id. Seys did not observe any signs or symptoms of
Asperger's Syndrome or Autism, and Mintun did not report
any such symptoms. Id.
determined that Mintun's symptoms were consistent with
the stresses of the correctional context, and offered to
prescribe medications. Id. Mintun refused.
Id. In light of that refusal, Seys urged him to
continue seeing clinicians for counseling, which Mintun did.
September 2, 2014, Mintun filed his third grievance with
Siegert again requesting that “proper testing” be
performed to verify his Asperger's Syndrome. Siegert
again reviewed Mintun's file, and again deferred to
medical professionals who determined that Mintun did not meet
the criteria for Asperger's Syndrome or Autism. Siegert
encouraged Mintun to continue working with professionals to
reduce the stresses of prison life, and dismissed the appeal.
second and last visit with Seys occurred on April 21, 2016,
when he asked her to address an error he had noticed on his
medical chart. Id. A note on the chart incorrectly
stated that Mintun had a history of poly-substance abuse.
Id. After resolving that issue, Mintun asked some
follow-up questions about high-functioning Autism, which Seys
answered. Id. During the visit Seys did not observe
any signs or symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome or Autism.
Id. Seys maintained that Mintun did not meet the
diagnostic criteria for Asperger's Syndrome or Autism
Spectrum Disorder and that an independent evaluation of
Plaintiff was unnecessary. Seys encouraged Mintun to continue
seeing clinicians for counseling. Id.
filed a pro se Complaint on August 16, 2016, asserting a wide
variety of claims against twenty-seven defendants. Dkt. 2. In
an Initial Review Order dated November 29, 2016, Judge
Winmill, then presiding over this case, dismissed many of
those claims. Dkt. 9.
against the Corizon Defendants, Judge Winmill determined that
certain mental health treatment claims could proceed past the
pleading stage, including claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
for alleged violations of the Eighth Amendment through
deliberate indifference to a serious medical need and state
law claims for medical malpractice. Id. Judge
Winmill allowed the state law claims to proceed to the extent
Mintun had timely complied with the Idaho Tort Claims Act and
pre-litigation screening requirements. Id.
against Defendant Siegert, Judge Winmill allowed Mintun to
proceed on his Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate
indifference pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on the
allegation that Siegert was aware of a need for further
testing regarding Mintun's alleged Asperger's
Syndrome and disregarded that need, as well as Mintun's
state law claims of medical malpractice and
negligence. Id. As part of that Decision,
Judge Winmill also determined that Mintun was not entitled to
an attorney. Dkt. 9, 37-38. This case was then transferred to
the undersigned as part of a general reassignment of cases.
judgment is proper “if the movant shows that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). This Court's role at summary judgment is not
“to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the
matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for
trial.” Zetwick v. Cty. of Yolo, 850 F.3d 436,
441 (9th Cir. 2017) (citation omitted). In ...