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Bays v. Montmorency County

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

October 20, 2017

Barbara Bays and Jeffrey Bays, as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Shane Bays, Deceased, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
Montmorency County, Mich., et al., Defendants, Donna Sigler, R.N., Defendant-Appellant. Barbara Bays and Jeffrey Bays, as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Shane Bays, Deceased, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Montmorency County, Mich., et al., Defendants-Appellees.

          Argued: October 3, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit. No. 2:15-cv-10534-Robert H. Cleland, District Judge.

         ARGUED:

          Douglas J. Curlew, CUMMINGS, MCCLOREY, DAVIS & ACHO, P.L.C., Livonia, Michigan, for Appellant in 16-2761 and Appellees in 17-1215.

          Matt L. Turner, SOMMERS SCHWARTZ, P.C., Southfield, Michigan, for Appellees in 16-2761 and Appellants in 17-1215.

         ON BRIEF:

          Douglas J. Curlew, CUMMINGS, MCCLOREY, DAVIS & ACHO, P.L.C., Livonia, Michigan, for Appellant in 16-2761 and Appellees in 17-1215.

          Matt L. Turner, Ramona C. Howard, SOMMERS SCHWARTZ, P.C., Southfield, Michigan, for Appellees in 16-2761 and Appellants in 17-1215.

          Before: CLAY, ROGERS, and SUTTON, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          SUTTON, Circuit Judge.

         In the spring of 2013, Shane Bays walked into the Montmorency County Jail to await trial for driving a car with a suspended license. While there, he described symptoms of a mental illness to Donna Sigler, the jail nurse. Several weeks after arriving, he killed himself. In response, Shane's parents filed this § 1983 action against Sigler and Montmorency County. The district court denied summary judgment to Sigler but granted it to the County. Sigler appealed and the Bays cross-appealed. Because a triable issue of fact remains over whether Sigler violated Shane's clearly established Fourteenth Amendment right to sufficient treatment for a serious medical problem, we affirm the district court's qualified-immunity ruling. Because the Bays' cross-appeal of the summary judgment decision in favor of the County is not inextricably intertwined with Sigler's appeal, we dismiss it.

         I.

         As this case comes to us, the government defendants are required to accept these facts as true. On March 28, 2013, the Montmorency County Sheriff's Department arrested Bays, then 28 years old, for driving with a suspended license. He was placed in the Montmorency County Jail. On April 9, jail nurse Donna Sigler interviewed Shane as part of the jail's inmate health screening policy. During his interview, Shane complained of a host of psychological ailments. He reported that he was "bipolar, " "paranoid, " "angry, " and that he suffered from "panic attack[s]" and had a history of substance abuse. Sigler wrote that she needed to follow up with a mental health evaluation. On the portion of the form asking whether Shane needed a referral for "emergency treatment, which may include Mental Health, " she circled "YES" and wrote "on discharge." She returned Shane to the general prison population.

         Later that day, Shane requested another meeting because he was "becoming a personal disaster." Sigler interviewed him again. She wrote that Shane described himself as anxious, paranoid, tense, unable to sleep, and experiencing "severe rage." They discussed his mental health and his request for treatment at a mental health center.

         At some point that day, Sigler telephoned Amy Pilarski, a registered nurse specializing in mental health issues who worked with several Michigan jails. Sigler mentioned that Shane was "having some issues with anxiety." ...


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