United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
KAREN E. SCHREIER, District Judge.
Defendants, Sheriff Mike Milstead, Chief Deputy Sheriff Michelle Boyd, Pam Knopf, and Jeff Gromer, move for summary judgment on plaintiff, Ryan Michael Klave's, complaint. Defendant Linda Osborne moves to dismiss the complaint for failure to formally serve her with the complaint. The complaint alleges that Klave was denied medications to treat various mental illnesses while he was incarcerated at the Minnehaha County Jail. During screening, the court construed the complaint as setting forth a claim under the Eighth Amendment alleging deliberate indifference in the care and treatment of Klave's alleged mental health conditions. Klave has not responded to the motion for summary judgment or motion to dismiss.
According to defendants' statement of undisputed material facts (Docket 26), to which Klave has not objected:
Klave was a prisoner at the Minnehaha County Jail when he filed this lawsuit. He was being detained pending trial on state criminal charges. On December 6, 2013, Klave wrote to the court to give notice of his address change from the Minnehaha County Jail to the South Dakota State Penitentiary, where he is currently incarcerated. During the time that Klave was incarcerated at the Minnehaha County Jail, the county contracted with Correct Care Solutions, LLC, to oversee and provide medical and mental health care to prisoners in a manner that complied with the requirements of all state and federal laws.
Sheriff Mike Milstead was employed as the Sheriff for Minnehaha County, South Dakota. Milstead did not personally provide medical care or treatment to Klave. He was not personally involved with processing or responding to any grievances Klave might have filed complaining about his mental health care or his medications. Milstead was personally involved with processing one or two grievances Klave submitted after this lawsuit was commenced regarding the type of laundry detergent used at the jail, which grievances are not at issue in this lawsuit.
Michelle Boyd was employed as the Chief Deputy Sheriff for Minnehaha County, South Dakota. She was involved in processing only one complaint or grievance submitted by Klave, which involved laundry detergent and was not the subject matter of this lawsuit.
Jeff Gromer was employed as the warden of the Minnehaha County Jail. Gromer did not personally provide Klave with any medical or mental health care or treatment. He did review and process two complaints or grievances of Klave. Neither of them involved the mental health or medication issues that are the subject matter of this lawsuit. Both addressed a rash that Klave developed and as a result, staff began using special detergent to wash Klave's clothes.
Klave did talk to Gromer about his mental health medications. He told Gromer that he did not believe his medication was appropriate. Gromer explained to Klave that he could not order or change Klave's prescriptions. Instead, Klave needed to notify medical or mental health staff about his concerns. Gromer was advised by Correct Care Solutions and medical staff that Klave was receiving appropriate mental health care and treatment and that objectively appeared to be true.
John Erpenbach is professionally licensed and practices as a registered nurse and certified nurse practitioner. He is also certified as a qualified mental health practitioner. He specializes in psychiatry and adult psychiatry, with expertise and training in the treatment of anxiety disorders, thought disorders, mood disorders, psychiatric evaluations, and psychiatric medical management.
Erpenbach provided mental health care and treatment to Klave through a contract with Correct Care Solutions. He responded to Klave's repeated requests for specific medications for Klave's alleged mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Even though the health care providers were unable to independently confirm that Klave had, in fact, been medically diagnosed with any of the conditions that Klave complained of, the health professionals with Correct Care Solutions assumed he suffered from these conditions and treated him accordingly.
Klave specifically requested benzodiazepines. Because benzodiazepines have an extremely high risk of abuse and dependence and Klave had a history of prescription drug abuse and was facing drug charges, these medications were gradually discontinued to mitigate adverse side effects from withdrawal. Instead less addictive, but equally effective, alternative medications were prescribed in their place.
Klave refused to take alternative mental health medications. As a result, these medications were discontinued after Klave was warned this would happen. Other than Klave's subjective complaints regarding his medications, Erpenbach was not aware of any correctional officers or staff or health care providers expressing concern about Klave's mental health condition.
Klave executed an authorization allowing access to his previous medical records, including his mental health records. These records, for the time period just a few months before his incarceration, show that Klave represented to Avera McKennan Hospital that he had been diagnosed and prescribed medications for depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. The psychiatrists at Avera McKennan, however, ...