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WAKEFIELD v. BORTMAN

August 9, 2004.

DARRYL WAKEFIELD, Plaintiff,
v.
RONALD BORTMAN; et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SUSAN ILLSTON, District Judge

JUDGMENT

Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on their defense of qualified immunity against plaintiff's complaint. Judgment is entered in favor of defendants and against plaintiff.

IT IS SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED.

  ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

  INTRODUCTION

  Darryl Wakefield, an inmate at the California State Prison in Corcoran, filed this pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaining that doctors at Pelican Bay State Prison improperly medicated him while he was in custody there. Defendants now move for summary judgment on the ground that the undisputed facts show that they are entitled to qualified immunity against Wakefield's claims. For the reasons discussed below, the motion for summary judgment will be granted.

  BACKGROUND

  This action concerns the administration of psychotropic medications to Wakefield for an eight-day period in July 2000. Unless otherwise noted, the following facts are undisputed.

  At the relevant time, Wakefield was an inmate at Pelican Bay State Prison and defendants Ronald Bortman and John Douglas were staff psychiatrists at Pelican Bay. The duties for Dr. Bortman and Dr. Douglas included treatment of inmates at the Pelican Bay infirmary, management of all the acute care patients, and administration of involuntary medications.

  Under California law, state prisoners cannot be involuntarily medicated unless Keyhea provisions are followed.*fn1 The Keyhea procedures are set out in the October 31, 1986 Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion For Clarification And Modification of Injunction And Permanent Injunction filed in Keyhea v. Rushen, Solano County Superior Court Case No. 67432. See Defendants' Exh. A. The Keyhea injunction provides procedural requirements and substantive standards for medication of different durations. An individual may not be involuntarily medicated in excess of three days unless the individual is provided with one set of procedural protections, an individual may not be involuntarily medicated in excess of ten days unless the individual is provided with another set of procedural protections, and an individual may not be involuntarily medicated in excess of 24 days unless the individual is provided with another set of procedural protections; all the procedural protections are described in the injunction. See Keyhea injunction, p. 2.

  The Keyhea injunction does not prohibit the emergency administration of antipsychotic medication. Keyhea injunction, p. 22. "An emergency exists when there is a sudden marked change in the prisoner's condition so that action is immediately necessary for the preservation of life or the prevention of serious bodily harm to the patient or others, and it is impracticable to first obtain consent. If antipsychotic medication is administered during an emergency, such medication shall be only that which is required to treat the emergency condition and shall be provided in ways that are least restrictive of the personal liberty of the patient." Id.

  Plaintiff does not dispute defendants' recitation of the requirements of the Keyhea injunction for the procedures to certify an inmate for involuntary medication longer than for 72 hours, which the court repeats here. First, a certification hearing must be held within ten days of the initial involuntary medication. Second, a notice of certification must be signed by two people: a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist and the physician or psychologist who participated in the evaluation. This notice must be given to the inmate within five days of the initial involuntary medication. Third, the inmate must be informed that he is entitled to a certification review hearing, must be given assistance in preparation for the hearing and must be given an opportunity to present evidence at the hearing. If the certification hearing officer finds that the inmate is a danger to himself or others as a result of his mental condition and the inmate still refuses medication, he may be involuntarily medicated for up to 21 days. The inmate must receive written notification of the decision which includes a statement of the evidence relied on in the decision. (There are additional procedures for longer medication terms, but they are not relevant to this action.)

  Wakefield was involuntarily medicated from July 23, 2000 through July 31, 2000 with the antipsychotics olanzapine and haloperidol. The notice of certification for involuntary medication was signed by Dr. Bortman on July 23, 2000, as the evaluating physician, and was signed by Dr. Douglas on July 24, 2000, as the chief psychiatrist or his designee. On the notice of certification, Dr. Bortman checked the boxes that Wakefield was a "danger to others" and "[g]ravely disabled in that the inmate is unable to use the elements of life that are essential to health safety including food, clothing and shelter, even though provided to the inmate by others." Watkins Decl., Exh. A. In the portion of the form that was for the facts that formed the basis of the allegation, Dr. Bortman wrote, "inmate defecated on floor, threatened to gas staff, loud threatening to fight COs and M.D. Smeared cell window. He is mentally ill and he refuses medication." Id.. The form stated that the inmate had been notified of the evaluation and had been advised of but unable or unwilling to accept mediation on a voluntary basis. Dr. Bortman and Dr. Douglas signed off on the form that they "certify this inmate to receive involuntary medication related to the mental disorder for no more than twenty-one (21) days beginning the 23 day of July 2000 at 1515." Id. On the form a third party wrote that she delivered the notice of certification to Wakefield on July 24, 2000. Dr. Bortman wrote the following in his treatment notes for Wakefield on July 25, 2000:
The patient was admitted out of the SHU unit after he apparently told custody that he was "suicidal." A review of his record and interview of the patient revealed repeated history of outbursts and apparent loss of control that recently have seemed to be escalating. A review of his record and assessment by SHU Staff felt that there may be some more significant underlying psychiatric problem than adjustment difficulties and the patient was referred to the infirmary because of his suicide statement and for further evaluation. On arrival at the Infirmary the patient varied in presentation from calm to agitated. He at times would be very loud and demanding and at other times would be quiet and complaint. Initially, the patient seemed to present no difficulties regarding his behavior other than the aforementioned occasional loud verbal exchanges. However he became increasingly agitated and angry and began threatening staff. At one point he threatened to strangle a female custody officer; at another point he defecated on the floor and threatened to throw feces at staff. At that point it was felt that his behavior had reached uncontrolled levels and that he required intervention including restraints and medication. The patient refused to cooperate. He required extraction and he was placed in restraints. He was placed on a KEYHEA for danger to others and grave disability and was started on medications.
Bortman Decl., Exh. A.

  Wakefield claims that the factual basis for Dr. Bortman's evaluation in the notice of certification was false. Wakefield stated: "I `never' threatened to gas and fight any officer on July 23, 2000. I `never' defecated on the floor, `never' smeared feces on the cell window." Wakefield Decl., ¶ 3. He also states that defendant ...


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