United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
SCOTT COOGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
se Plaintiff Robert Jones filed two amended complaints
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his civil
rights. (Doc. 9, 11). Plaintiff names Lieutenant Joel Gilbert
and Sergeant Clifton Thrasher as defendants in the amended
complaints. (Id.). Plaintiff seeks monetary damages
and injunctive relief. On May 10, 2018, the magistrate judge
to whom the amended complaints were referred entered a report
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), recommending
Defendants' special report, treated as a motion for
summary judgment, be granted and the action dismissed. (Doc.
23). Plaintiff timely filed objections to the report and
recommendation. (Doc. 24).
objections, Plaintiff expresses difficulty understanding the
meaning of the words “undersigned, ”
“movant, ” and “moving party, ” as
well as the phrase “govern the resolution” as
used in the report and recommendation. (Id. at 1).
Plaintiff is advised that “undersigned” refers to
the judge who signed the report and recommendation - in this
case, United States Magistrate Judge Staci G. Cornelius. The
“movant” or “moving party” refers to
the party filing the motion for summary judgment. Here, the
movants/moving parties are Lt. Gilbert and Sgt. Thrasher. The
phrase “govern the resolution” informs the
parties that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 sets out a
legal standard the court must apply when considering whether
a motion for summary judgment should be granted or denied.
in mind Plaintiff's difficulty understanding the
terminology in the report and recommendation, the court
construes his objections liberally. Plaintiff argues
Defendants' motion for summary judgment is due to be
denied. (Id.). He agrees with the magistrate
judge's recitation of the general elements of the due
process standard applicable to inmates subjected to
involuntary psychotropic medication. (Id. at 2-3).
Plaintiff also admits he had an “inmate attack”
and “command hallucinations, ” two bases of Dr.
St. Phard's request for involuntary medication. (Doc. 24
at 1). Additionally, Plaintiff does not deny he started a
fire and threatened others and contends he suffers from
“continued manifestations, ” all as St. Phard
reported in his request. (Doc. 15-8 at 16; Doc. 24 at 1).
Plaintiff asks why “they do me like this?” and
declares Nurse Click “repeatedly desired
medications” and found “grounds to continue to
involuntarily” administer him medication. (Doc. 24 at
2). Plaintiff focuses on the significant liberty interest he
has in freedom from involuntary psychotropic medication.
While he agrees the due process clause allows prison
officials to involuntarily medicate him if he is a danger to
himself or others, he argues officials should leave him
alone, “lock [him] behind a door, ” and only give
him the medication if he wants to come out of his cell.
(Id.). Plaintiff claims that because he did not
desire to leave his cell on October 18, 2015, Gilbert and
Thrasher violated his right to due process by depriving him
of his choice to refuse his medication. (Doc. 15-8 at 37;
Doc. 24 at 2).
misunderstands the rights due him as a result of his liberty
interest in remaining free from involuntary psychotropic
medication. Plaintiff's liberty interest does not equate
with a right to refuse medication as long as he remains
locked in his cell when there is a constitutionally sound
order to involuntarily administer the medication. Instead,
his liberty interest affords him the right to: written notice
of a mental health professional's request for involuntary
medication; a hearing before a neutral committee who will
decide whether to grant or deny the request; adequate notice
of that hearing; present evidence at the hearing to the
committee which shows involuntary medication is not necessary
for safety reasons and is not in his medical interest;
challenge any evidence suggesting his involuntary medication
is necessary for safety reasons and is in his medical
interest. See Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210,
221-22, 233-234 (1990).
procedure utilized by the Alabama Department of Corrections
exceeds the procedural protections Washington
requires. That procedure also affords Plaintiff a staff
advisor to assist him at the hearing, the right to a written
copy of committee's decision, and the right to appeal the
decision with a staff advisor's assistance. Plaintiff
must use these procedures to challenge any request to
involuntarily medicate him.
regarding Lt. Gilbert and Sgt. Thrasher, Plaintiff
incorrectly claims they forcibly medicated him. The mental
health professionals involved in the request or decision to
involuntarily medicate him are responsible for his forcible
medication. As corrections officers, Defendants Gilbert and
Thrasher did not participate in the request or decision to
forcibly medicate Plaintiff, nor did they administer any
medication to him on October 18, 2015. (Doc. 9 at 3). On that
date, Nurse Click administered the medication pursuant to a
constitutionally sound involuntary medication order
(i.e., an order achieved after the plaintiff was
afforded due process) which became effective on June 4, 2015,
and pursuant to Nurse Practitioner Coogan's order. (Doc.
15-1 at 2; Doc. 15-8 at 2, 20, 37).
conclusion, having carefully reviewed and considered de
novo all the materials in the court file, including the
report and recommendation and the objections thereto, the
magistrate judge's report is ADOPTED and
the recommendation is ACCEPTED. Accordingly,
finding no genuine issue of material fact, Defendants'
motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.
(Doc. 15). A separate final order will be entered.