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Spurlock v. Corizon Health

United States District Court, D. Kansas

December 19, 2018

JAMES ALLEN SPURLOCK, Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON HEALTH, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          SAM A. CROW, U.S. DISTRICT SENIOR JUDGE

         This case is before the court to screen plaintiff's pro se complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         I. The complaint

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner who alleges a violation of his constitutional rights under the Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff also alleges negligence. Plaintiff asserts that he is epileptic and that he has grand mal seizures. He claims injuries because of defendants' failures to protect him from being harmed by a seizure.

         Plaintiff has named several defendants. These defendants are: Corizon Health, the health care provider for the Kansas Department of Corrections; Correct Care Solutions, the health care provider for the Johnson County Adult Detention Center; Janet Hays, a nurse at the Reception and Diagnostic Unit (RDU) at the El Dorado Correctional Facility; Dr. Gordon Harrod, a doctor at the RDU; William Wade, a nurse at the RDU; Dr. Dennis Kepka, a doctor at Ellsworth Correctional Facility (ECF) employed by Corizon Health; Tony Rusch, a nurse employed by Corizon Health at ECF; Vicky Lanter, a nurse at ECF employed by Corizon Health; Mable Walker, a director of nursing employed by Corizon Health; Julie Patterson, a health services administrator employed by Corizon Health; Marty Sauers, the warden at ECF; FNU Pruitt, a unit manager at ECF; Tim Taylor, a unit team member at ECF; and FNU Morrison, a sergeant at ECF. All of the defendants are sued in their individual and official capacities.

         Plaintiff alleges that he was housed at the Johnson County Adult Detention Center (JCADC) for close to four years, ending on October 25, 2016. There he was recognized as having epilepsy and suffering grand mal seizures for which he was taken to the hospital several times. Because of this condition, plaintiff was placed on “bottom level/bottom bunk” (“BL/BB”) restriction at JCADC. While at JCADC plaintiff received Gabapentin - 800 mgs at morning and noon, 600 mgs twice at night - to prevent seizures.

         Plaintiff was transferred to the RDU at El Dorado Correctional Facility on October 25, 2016. When he arrived, he was assessed by defendant Janet Hays. She refused to allow plaintiff Gabapentin because it cost too much and inmates had been known to abuse it. She offered plaintiff an alternative such as Dilantin, Kepra, or Elavil. Plaintiff told Hays that he had used Gabapentin since 2013, that he had not been found guilty of abusing his medications, and that his medical records showed that he did not tolerate Dilantin or Valproic acid. Plaintiff alleges that he warned Hays that he would suffer excruciating side effects if he was not left on the medication he was receiving at JCADC. He further claims that he told her he should be on BL/BB restriction because of his epilepsy and that she said she would make note of it.

         Plaintiff, however, was assigned to an upper level cell for a couple of days before he was moved. Plaintiff claims that he was forced to take Dilantin (or be punished for “self-harm”) from approximately October 27, 2016 to November 3, 2016. This caused plaintiff to have extreme headaches, dizziness, double vision, vomiting and extreme constipation. Plaintiff alleges that he was given aspirin and Excedrin for the headaches. He claims that he had epileptic seizures on or around November 3, 2016 and that he was taken to the infirmary.

         There he was seen by defendant Dr. Harrod. Plaintiff told Dr. Harrod that he normally took Gabapentin. Dr. Harrod said it was expensive, but that he would put plaintiff back on Gabapentin at a reduced dosage because he wanted to try something new. Plaintiff implored without success that he be returned to his regular dose. Plaintiff further claims that defendant Dr. Harrod did not note in plaintiff's file that plaintiff should be BL/BB restricted.

         Plaintiff alleges that he informed defendant Wade of plaintiff's situation between November 6 and November 18, 2016, when Wade gave plaintiff a physical. According to plaintiff, Wade did nothing.

         Plaintiff had another seizure on November 19 or November 20, 2016. On November 21, 2016, plaintiff was transferred to Ellsworth Correctional Facility. Plaintiff alleges that he told the ECF staff everything he told the RDU staff. Plaintiff claims he had a seizure on November 26, 2016 because his Gabapentin dosage had not been corrected. He states that he told this to defendant Tony Rusch at ECF, but she did not refer plaintiff to a doctor or take other action.

         On November 29, 2016, plaintiff was moved to a top-walk cell at ECF. Plaintiff alleges that defendant Morrison insisted that plaintiff make the move, although plaintiff told him that plaintiff was epileptic and BL/BB restricted. Plaintiff further claims that he told defendant Tim Taylor and defendant Pruitt the same information a couple of days later. Nothing was done. So, plaintiff completed a medical request form on December 11, 2016. The next day plaintiff was triaged by defendant Rusch. She told plaintiff to talk to the doctor about it. This led to a heated argument. Defendant Mable Walker intervened. According to plaintiff, Walker also did nothing about plaintiff's concerns. Plaintiff wrote a “Form 9” to defendant Julie Patterson on December 13, 2016 to no avail. On December 17, 2016, plaintiff had a seizure and cut open his mouth when he fell. The next day he reported the seizure and his injuries to prison officials, but there was no change made to his medication or his cell assignment.

         On December 19, 2016 and December 23, 2016, plaintiff wrote “Form 9s” to defendants Pruitt and Sauers asking for action, but received none. On January 3, 2017, plaintiff completed a medical request form. This was triaged the next day by defendant Vicky Lanter. According to plaintiff, nothing was done. Nor did plaintiff's treatment change when his wife complained to the Corizon Health office in Topeka, Kansas and to the warden at ECF (defendant Sauers).

         Plaintiff claims that he wrote an informal resolution regarding the same issues on January 10, 2017 and followed that with a grievance on January ...


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