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William P. Galloway v. Timothy A. Swanson

November 18, 2011

WILLIAM P. GALLOWAY
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
TIMOTHY A. SWANSON, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge John R. Adams

MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER

[Resolving Docs. 118, 160]

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Dr. Jeffery Duffey's motion for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(c) and 12(d), as well as his motion for summary judgment under Rule 56. Docs. 118, 160. The Court has reviewed the motions, responses, pleadings, and applicable law. For the reasons stated herein, the Court GRANTS Dr. Duffey's motion for judgment on the pleadings and his motion for summary judgment. Accordingly, the Court dismisses all five claims against Dr. Duffey.

I. BACKGROUND

Decedent Steven Galloway was a military veteran diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, a mental disorder that led to his discharge from the military and contributed to minor scrapes with the law. Doc. 179 at 5. On Sunday, June 1, 2008, the Canton Police Department arrested Mr. Galloway at 3:30 p.m. for criminal trespass and resisting arrest. Doc. 178-14 at 14. Following his arrest, the police took Mr. Galloway to the Stark County Jail. Id. at 9. Before his arrest, Mr. Galloway had served two brief periods of incarceration in the Stark County Jail, one in 1999 and one from 2000-2001. Doc. 179 at 5.

According to written medical and mental health agreements between Stark County and Correctional Health Care Group, Inc. ("CHCG"), it is the responsibility of CHCG nurses to decide whether an individual is capable of admittance into the Jail or is in need of outside medical treatment. Doc. 98-2 at 21, 103. Upon Mr. Galloway's arrival at the Jail, CHCG Nurse Rick Blackwell performed a mandated medical and mental health screening on him. Id. at 103. Notwithstanding the fact that he considered Mr. Galloway's behavior during the screening to be "delusional," Nurse Blackwell admitted Mr. Galloway to the jail. Doc. 169 at 41. Mr. Galloway's delusional behavior included arguing with his own right hand and "accus[ing] [Nurse Blackwell] of working for somebody that he thought was after him." Id. at 50, 59. Mr. Galloway denied having thoughts of hurting himself or committing suicide, but when Nurse Blackwell asked him about a large blister on the index finger of his right hand, Mr. Galloway told Nurse Blackwell "it needed punishment and I handled it." Id. at 59-60.

No member of CHCG's mental health staff was at the Jail during Mr. Galloway's screening. See Doc. 169 at 28. As such, Nurse Blackwell himself placed Mr. Galloway on psychiatric seclusion precautions with observations every fifteen minutes for self-harm. Id. at 28, 60; Doc. 178-6 at 13. Nurse Blackwell also ordered the corrections officers to give Mr. Galloway a suicide precaution blanket and a precaution mattress. Doc. 178-17 at 1. Nurse Blackwell claims that he placed Mr. Galloway on self-harm observations because he believed Mr. Galloway to be bipolar and experiencing a mania phase. Doc. 169 at 68. On June 2, 2008, at approximately 2:00 a.m., corrections officers placed Mr. Galloway in the Jail's mental health unit ("D Section"). Doc. 178-17 at 1. Dr. Thomas Anuszkiewicz, the Jail's psychologist and clinical director, Doc. 98-1 at 10, approved Nurse Blackwell's orders via telephone around 6:00 a.m. that morning, Doc. 178-6 at 13. Pursuant to a standing order of Defendant Jeffery Duffey, the Jail's medical director and a subcontractor of CHCG, Nurse Blackwell also placed Mr. Galloway on respiratory isolation for refusing a tuberculosis test during his screening. Doc. 98-2 at 131; Doc. 178-6 at 13; Doc. 169 at 52.

On June 2, 2008, at 10:50 a.m., Dr. Anuszkiewicz declined to continue psychiatric seclusion precautions and self-harm observations and placed Mr. Galloway on observations every fifteen minutes for odd behavior. Doc. 178-6 at 13. Mr. Galloway exhibited erratic behavior for the duration of his detention. See Doc. 171-3. For example, on the morning of June 3, 2008, Mr. Galloway caused a disruption when he masturbated in front of other male inmates and nurses. Id. at 6. At approximately 7:00 p.m. that same day, Mr. Galloway attempted to open a window, telling a corrections officer "I need to see who's out there." Doc. 178-16 at 3. When the officer ordered Mr. Galloway to return to his cell, Mr. Galloway "took an aggressive stance, began looking at his fingernails on his right hand, and breathing deeply." Id.

The housing log for D Section reflects that, contrary to their deposition testimony, Dr. Anuszkiewicz and Dr. Jitendra Cupala, the Jail's psychiatrist, did in fact visit Mr. Galloway, doing so at 9:53 a.m. on June 4, 2008. Doc. 178-15 at 20. The housing log reflects that during their visit Dr. Anuszkiewicz and Dr. Cupala ordered corrections officers to take two blankets and a sheet from Mr. Galloway and give him a suicide precautions blanket. Doc. 178-15 at 20. The housing log does not indicate that Dr. Duffey visited Mr. Galloway that day. See Doc. 178-15 at 20. Likewise, Dr. Duffey testified during his deposition that at no point did he see Mr. Galloway, provide him with medical treatment, or review his medical records. Doc. 118-2 at 133-34. There is no further testimony or documentation before the Court regarding the visit Dr. Anuszkiewicz and Dr. Cupala made to Mr. Galloway on June 4, 2008. According to Dr. Anuszkiewicz and Defendant Jonathan Stump, the CEO of CHCG and the Jail's medical records custodian, progress notes on Mr. Galloway from June 2, 3, and 4 are missing. Doc. 98-1 at 63; Doc. 98-2 at 60-61. Dr. Duffey testified that he does not retain medical records for individuals in the Jail. Doc. 118-2 at 17-18.

At 2:00 p.m. on June 4, 2008, Corrections Officer Jeff McCollister began a shift of the D Section. Doc. 178-15 at 22. At that time, corrections officers were to observe Mr. Galloway every fifteen minutes for odd behavior. Id. Mr. Galloway was the only inmate in the D Section on any form of precautions or observations. Id. The housing log reflects that sometime before Officer McCollister began a round in the D Section he let Mr. Galloway out of his cell to use a phone. Id. at 23. The housing log indicates that Officer McCollister observed Mr. Galloway on the phone twice between 5:33 p.m. and 6:05 p.m. Id. However, a review of the Jail's phone records indicated that Mr. Galloway never called anyone. Doc. 178-14 at 2. With Mr. Galloway still out of his cell, Officer McCollister began a medication round with Nurse Dawn Marshall at 6:20 p.m. Doc. 178-15 at 23. Shortly thereafter, Officer McCollister and Nurse Marshall found Mr. Galloway hanging from a 24-inch steel telephone cord in the rear of the D Section. Doc. 156 at 73. Emergency responders transported Mr. Galloway to Mercy Medical Center in Canton where he died on June 21, 2008, from a "near hanging." See Doc. 178-18.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On December 5, 2009, Plaintiff William Galloway (hereinafter "Plaintiff"), Mr. Galloway's brother, filed a complaint containing nine federal and state law claims against fifteen individually named defendants, as well as a designation of "JOHN AND JANE DOES 1-15." Doc. 1. Dr. Duffey was not a named defendant. On March 25, 2010, the Court ordered the parties to join additional parties and amend the pleadings by May 10, 2010. Doc. 49. On May 10, 2010, Plaintiff moved for an extension of time to file an amended complaint. Doc. 57. On May 20, 2010, the Court granted this motion, giving Plaintiff until May 24, 2010, to file an amended complaint. Doc. 58. On May 24, 2010, Plaintiff attempted to file an amended complaint, Doc. 61. However, on May 25, 2010, the Court struck the amended complaint for failure to seek leave or written consent of the defendants as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2). Doc. 63. The Court then gave Plaintiff until June 1, 2010, to file a motion for leave to file an amended complaint. Id.

On June 1, 2010, Plaintiff moved for leave to file an amended complaint instanter. Doc. 65. The Court granted the motion on July 7, 2010, but ordered Mr. Galloway to file an amended complaint reflecting the Court's termination of all claims against seven named defendants and the dismissal of a medical malpractice claim against Nurse Blackwell. Doc. 68. at 1. On July 9, 2010, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint complying with the Court's order, and, for the first time, named Dr. Duffey as a defendant. Doc. 69.

Plaintiff's amended complaint states five claims against Dr. Duffey: (1) 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (2) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 -- Monell/failure to train and supervise; (3) wrongful death; (4) survivorship; and (5) spoliation. See id. On September 7, 2010, Dr. Duffey answered and raised several affirmative defenses, including failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Doc. 99.

On November 3, 2010, Dr. Duffey moved for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(c) and 12(d), attaching as an exhibit a certified copy of Dr. Duffey's deposition transcript. Doc. 118. In support of this motion, Dr. Duffey argues that the first four claims against him were filed in violation of the applicable statute of limitations and do not relate back to the original complaint. Doc. 118-1 at 5. Dr. Duffey argues that the spoliation claim must fail because the complaint failed to plead sufficient facts and there is uncontroverted evidence that he never had any contact or responsibility for Mr. Galloway's records. Id. at 13. In opposition to this motion, Plaintiff argues that the Court should consider June 1, 2010, the date he sought leave to amend his complaint instanter, as the date he filed his amended complaint. Doc. 127 at 5. In the alternative, Plaintiff argues he is entitled to equitable tolling. Id. at 2.

On April 4, 2011, Dr. Duffey moved for summary judgment. Doc. 160. In support of this motion, Dr. Duffey argues that Plaintiff has failed to provide any evidence to support any of the five claims against him. See id. Plaintiff opposed Dr. Duffey's motion for summary judgment and argued that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether Dr. Duffey was deliberately indifferent to Mr. Galloway's medical condition during Mr. Galloway's detention in the Stark County Jail. Doc. 179 at 41. Plaintiff's opposition does not discuss the spoliation ...


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