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Andrews v. Wayne County

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

August 9, 2019

JACOB ANDREWS, Personal Representative of the Estate of Angela White, Deceased, Plaintiff,
v.
WAYNE COUNTY, a Political Subdivision of the State of Michigan, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT WAYNE COUNTY'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF #37)

          Paul D. Borman United States District Judge

         I. BACKGROUND

         Thirty-nine year-old Angela White was a pre-trial detainee in the Wayne County Jail (“Jail”) who died on June 8, 2014 after purposely ingesting over 40 pills of a blood pressure medication, Verapamil. White, who was allowed to keep the Verapamil in her cell according to the Jail's “Keep on Person” (“KOP”) self-administered medication policy, had been in the Jail's custody for less than 24 hours before she fatally overdosed. On May 26, 2017, Plaintiff Jacob Andrews, the personal representative for White's estate and White's long-time fiancé and the father of their then-three year-old child, filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendant Wayne County policy established deliberate indifference to White's medical needs.[1] Before the Court is Defendant Wayne County's Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF #37.) On May 10, 2019, Defendant filed the instant Motion. On June 13, 2019, Plaintiff filed his Response. (ECF #44.) On June 27, 2019, Defendant filed its Reply. (ECF #45.) The Court held a hearing on July 18, 2019.

         II. FACTS

         A. White's Arrest and Detainment

         Both Parties agree that the essential facts of this case are not in dispute. (Def.'s Mot., ECF #37, PgID 504; Pl.'s Resp., ECF #44, PgID 1118.) In the early morning hours of June 5, 2014, Plaintiff Jacob Andrews called 911 after White threatened to stab him with a knife when he returned home in Canton, Michigan. (Dep. of Jacob Andrews, June 28, 2018, ECF #37-4, PgID 566, 43:20-44:22.) Andrews and White had been dating for four years, were engaged to be married, and had a three-year old daughter together. (Id. at PgID 557-58, 9:23-10:5.)

         Canton Police responded to Andrew's call, arrested White, and took her to the Canton Police Department Jail. (Id. at PgID 567, 47:18-25.) That same day, Plaintiff Andrews came to the Canton Police Department Jail twice to drop off White's six medications. (Andrews Dep., ECF #37-4, Def.'s Mot. Ex. C, PgID 567, 47:18-25.) He did not speak with White. (Id.) Andrews did not mention any concerns about White's mental health status to anyone at the Canton Police Department.[2] (Id. at PgID 569, 56:10-12.) When White was first taken into custody, Andrews indicated that he wanted to press charges. (Id. at PgID 569, 54:2-6.) However, Andrews testified that he had changed his mind by the time he came to the Canton Police Department Jail to drop off White's medications, and no longer wanted to press charges against her, but he did not inform the police of his change of heart. (Id. at PgID 569, 55:11-20.) Around 8:00 p.m. that evening, White was taken from the Canton Jail to Oakwood Hospital after complaining of chest and back pain. (ECF #44-6, Pl.'s Resp. Ex. 5, EMS Transport Record, PgID 1180.) She was released from Oakwood Hospital at 2:15 a.m. on June 6, 2014, and was transported back to the Canton Jail. (ECF #44-5, Pl.'s Resp. Ex. 4, Canton Police Records, PgID 1175.)

         Later on June 6, 2014, White was arraigned in the 35th District Court. (ECF #37-5, Def.'s Mot. Ex. D, 35th Dist. Court Records, PgID 589.) Bail was set at $3, 000, with allowance for posting a 10 percent cash/surety bond ($300). (Id.) A preliminary examination was scheduled for June 20, 2014. Plaintiff Andrews did not post White's bond. (Id.) That evening, around 7:00 p.m., White was transferred to the Wayne County Jail. (ECF #37-6, Def.'s Mot. Ex. E, History of Inmate Report, PgID 594.)

         White's six medications were sent with her from Canton to the Wayne County Jail. These medications and the prescribed dosages included: (1) Klonopin (0.5 mg tablet, twice daily; 1 mg tablet, “until gone;” 0.5 mg tablet, “until gone”); (2) oxygen (“2 liters via nasal cannula as needed for cluster headaches”); (3) Sumatriptan (0.5 ml subcutaneous injection, every 12 hours as needed “in clinic”); (4) Lexapro (20 mg tablet, once daily for 45 days; (5) Toradol (30 mg intramuscular injection, as needed); and (6) Verapamil (80 mg, 1 tablet, 4 times daily). (ECF #37-8, Def.'s Mot. Ex. G, Jail Medical Records, PgID 618.)

         All incoming Wayne County Jail inmates receive a medical and mental health care screening within four hours of arrival booking, according to the Jail's “Receiving Screening - Intake” policy. (ECF #47, Def.'s Mot. Ex. F, Receiving Screening Policy, PgID 1439.) White's intake and health screenings complied with this policy. Around 8:39 p.m. on June 6, 2014, approximately one and one-half hours after White was booked into the Jail, Medical Assistant Dawn Benette met with White and conducted the initial intake screening questionnaire, which covered physical and mental health. (ECF #37-8, Def.'s Mot. Ex. G, Jail Medical Records, PgID 619-21.) The questionnaire included issues such as present mental status, prior suicide and/or self-harm attempts, suicidal ideation, and mental illness treatment. (Id.) The questionnaire covered both the intake screener's observations of the inmate as well as the inmate's answers to particular questions. (Id.)

         Although White had responded “yes” to the question of whether she had previously attempted to harm herself or commit suicide, Benette recorded that White stated that the attempt had occurred “in the past, ” and further, that White was not thinking of harming herself now and that suicidal thoughts were now not a problem. (Id.) The time “in the past” was not specified. White generally responded “no” to the other mental health/status questions. Benette noted that White did not appear depressed and was in a stable mental condition. (Id.) Specific Questions and Responses were:

Was the inmate taken to the hospital prior to arrival at intake?
Yes
Explain: [Blank] …
Is the Inmate taking medications?
No
Explain: [Blank]
Is the Inmate carrying any medications?
No
Explain: [Blank] …
How would you describe your present state of health?
Good
Explain: [Blank] …
Do you have or have you ever had seizures?
Yes
Explain: [Blank] …
Have you ever attempted to harm yourself or commit suicide?
Yes
Explain: In the past Are you thinking of harming yourself or are suicide thoughts a problem now?
No
Explain: [Blank]
Do you have a history of psychiatric illness or treatment?
No
Explain: [Blank][3]
Is the inmate acting and/or talking in a strange or unusual manner?
No
Explain: [Blank]
Does the inmate show signs of depression (crying, emotional flatness, apathy, lethargy)?
No
Explain: [Blank]
Does the inmate appear overly anxious, afraid, ...

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