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Johnson v. Tinwalla

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division

November 8, 2017

TERRY C. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
ABDI TINWALLA, et al. Defendants.



         The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Court's grant of summary judgment in Defendant's favor and remanded the case. See Johnson v. Tinwalla, 855 F.3d 747 (2017). The Court subsequently appointed counsel for Plaintiff and reopened discovery to allow Plaintiff's counsel an opportunity to further investigate the claims in this case. The matter is before the Court for ruling on Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Liability. (Doc. 127). The motion is denied.


         Plaintiff filed a motion seeking to refile a corrected version of his reply to Defendant's response to his motion for summary judgment. The motion is granted. The Court will consider Plaintiff's corrected reply for purposes of this ruling.


         Summary judgment should be granted “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). All facts must be construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in his favor. Ogden v. Atterholt, 606 F.3d 355, 358 (7th Cir. 2010). The party moving for summary judgment must show the lack of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). In order to be a “genuine” issue, there must be more than “some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). “Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).


         Plaintiff is civilly committed at Rushville Treatment and Detention Facility (“Rushville” or “TDF”), a secure residential treatment center operated by the Illinois Department of Human Services (“IDHS”). UMF 1, 2. Defendant is a psychiatrist employed by Wexford Health Services, a private company contracted to provide health services at Rushville. UMF 3. In his capacity as a psychiatrist, Defendant sees patients and prescribes medication. UMF 5.

         On June 23, 2013, Plaintiff reported to Defendant an anger problem, feelings of hopelessness, and irritability. UMF 31, 32. Plaintiff also expressed a desire to assault a staff member. At that time, however, Defendant did not believe that Plaintiff would imminently hurt a staff member, or that Plaintiff was a danger to others. UMF 33, 34, 36. Defendant noted that Plaintiff was calm, alert and oriented, able to express himself well, and that Plaintiff's thought processes were logical with no racing thoughts or hallucinations. UMF 35. Defendant did not believe Plaintiff's situation was an emergency, or that Plaintiff was gravely disabled. UMF 37, 38.

         During the appointment, Defendant suggested a prescription for Risperdal, a psychotropic medication. UMF 39. Defendant informed Plaintiff of the side effects of the medication, including weight gain, increased body temperature, kidney failure, increased cholesterol, tremors, shakes, abnormal movements, upset stomach, constipation, nausea, and vomiting. UMF 40. Defendant also discussed the risks and benefits of Risperdal, alternative medications, and no treatment. UMF 41. Plaintiff initially signed the consent form for Risperdal, but crossed out his signature upon Defendant's mention of the possibility of forced medication. UMF 42-44. Defendant noted on the consent form that Plaintiff had “refused consent after signing.” UMF 46.

         Defendant testified in his deposition that, after Plaintiff scratched out his name, Defendant told Plaintiff he was “prescribing him the medication…and providing access to the medication so [Plaintiff] can take it if he wants to.” Tinwalla Dep. 96:24-97:6. Defendant testified further: “then after I ordered the prescription, I took the chart to the nurses. Of course, as common practice, after the order is written, I would take the chart to the nurses' station and let them know that I'm starting so and so on a medication. So the nurses are aware to take that order down, sign off on it and fax the prescription to the pharmacy.” Id. 139:4-12. Defendant did not follow the procedure outlined in the Illinois Administrative Code related to the forced administration of psychotropic medications prior to prescribing the medication.

         Plaintiff took Risperdal daily with his other prescribed medications for approximately the next six (6) weeks. UMF 49-52, 64. Plaintiff testified that he did not know he was taking Risperdal until he received a notice of such on August 4, 2013. Pl.'s Dep. 28:4-6. Upon Plaintiff's inquiry, the nurse distributing the medications replied that she was not aware that Plaintiff was taking Risperdal. Id. 28:8-9. However, she was able to immediately confirm the prescription. Id. 28:9-12 (“I gave her the papers. She went back there, and she said yes, you have been on Risperdal since June the 23rd, 2013.”). Thereafter, nurses removed the Risperdal from Plaintiff's daily medications upon Plaintiff's request. Id. 28:13-16 (“I was like every time I go to med line[, ] I am like which one of them-take that Risperdal out, and the nurse would take it out.”).


         “[T]he Due Process Clause permits the State to treat a prison inmate who has a serious mental illness with antipsychotic drugs against his will, if the inmate is dangerous to himself or others and the treatment is in the inmate's medical interest.” Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210, 227 (1990). Factual disputes ...

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