Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Roosma v. Pierce County

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

February 21, 2018



          ROBERT J. BRYAN, United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER comes before Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment of Defendants Pierce County, Sheriff Paul Pastor, and Chief Patti Jackson-Kidder (Pierce County Defendants). Dkt. 102. Plaintiffs and Defendant Correct Care Solutions, LLC (CCS) filed Responses, Pierce County Defendants filed a Reply, and Defendant CCS filed a Surreply. Dkts. 131, 134, 142, 149. The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motions and the remainder of the file herein. No. party requested oral argument.

         The outcome of this motion, and ultimately entirety of this case, rests on the showing by Plaintiffs' counsel. While Plaintiffs may have constructed a plausible case theory, Plaintiffs needed to counter Defendants' motion with evidence showing issues of material fact. Instead, Plaintiffs submitted an incomplete showing on the most necessary of elements or relied on bare representations by counsel. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure orient this Court towards resolving cases on their merits, but the Court can only consider the record submitted. Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden. As discussed below, the claims against Pierce County Defendants should be dismissed, Pierce County Defendants' cross-claim should be remanded, and any pending motions should be stricken as moot.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. The record considered.

         Pierce County Defendants have incorporated the Statement of Facts as set out in Defendant CCS' Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt. 102 at 2. See Dkt. 90. Pierce County Defendants have supplemented the record in two respects: (1) with facts relevant to the two individually named defendants, Paul Pastor and Patti Jackson-Kidder, and (2) with facts relevant to a contract dispute between Defendant Pierce County and Defendant CCS (“the Pierce County/CCS contract”), which is the subject of a cross-claim by Pierce County Defendants against Defendant CCS.

         Plaintiffs' Response refers to no declarations, deposition transcripts, a sworn complaint, or other attachments, but the pleading states an intent to incorporate facts by reference. Dkt. 134 at 2. See Dkt. 134 at 4-10. This appears to be reliance by Plaintiffs on the record submitted by the defendants, as well as the record submitted by Plaintiffs in their Response to Defendant CCS' Motion for Summary Judgment. See Dkts. 108, 110, 112.

         Pierce County Defendants' Reply further supplements the circumstances surrounding the Pierce County/CCS contract with declarations. Dkts. 144, 145, 146. Defendant CCS, in its Surreply, moves to strike portions of the declarations and related arguments. Dkt. 149.

         B. Underlying incident facts.

         Because Plaintiffs have not further supplemented the record, facts recited do not substantively differ from those in the Court's prior Order. See Dkt. 127.

         This case centers on an injury to Plaintiff Justin Roosma while in custody at Pierce County Jail in mid-2014. Mr. Roosma was medically screened at Pierce County Jail on April 28, 2014. Dkt. 81-1 at 4. A Screening Questionnaire signed by Mr. Roosma and a nurse states that Mr. Roosma “does not know names of medications.” Id. at 4-6. Correct Care Solutions faxed a medical release and medication verification form to Rite Aid Pharmacy, which returned the request as “Not verifiable.” Id. at 9. After visiting with a mental health provider, Mr. Roosma was given two anti-depressants, Norvasc and Effexor. Id. at 14. Mr. Roosma was released on bail on May 3, 2014. Id. at 21. Mr. Roosma maintains that he was released after having two seizures, caused by an abrupt stop of medications. Dkt. 110 at 3.

         Mr. Roosma was again booked into Pierce County Jail on June 17, 2014. Dkt. 81-1 at 25. A second Screening Questionnaire noted that Mr. Roosma currently takes medication but does not specify the type. Id. at 28. A second medication verification form completed by Rite Aid Pharmacy noted a 60-day prescription on June 10, 2014 for Mirapex, a drug prescribed for Restless Leg Syndrome. Id. at 33. The medication verification form also confirmed other then-current prescriptions, including Prilosec (gastrointestinal) and Effexor (antidepressant). Id.

         A June 21, 2014 healthcare request, or “kite, ” requested “meds” because “I'm really sick due to not having them.” Dkt. 81-1 at 37. Following a second kite, on June 23, 2014, Mr. Roosma received treatment for gastrointestinal issues. Id. at 39, 40.

         On June 26, 2014, Mr. Roosma sent a third kite, stating, “I have a severe case of RSP [sic] (Restless Leg Syndrome) . . . I take Maripax [sic] everyday I can't sleep or rest due to pain from it[.]” Dkt. 81-1 at 45. A signed response by a nurse notes, “Seen 6/27/14.” Id. The same nurse's handwritten notes reflect a June 27, 2014 discussion of Mirapex and a fax to St. Clare Hospital for release of Mr. Roosma's “RLS shoulder pain” records. Id. at 49, 51.

         On July 7, 2014, Mr. Roosma sent a fourth kite. “I was seen about a week ago for my meds . . . I take Maripax [sic] for Restless Leg and I haven't had my meds [and] they are current[.]” Dkt. 81-1 at 54. Mr. Roosma met with a nurse on July 9, 2014 and began taking some medications. Id. The Medication Administration Record, a medical log of medicine given to Mr. Roosma, reflected administration starting on either July 9 or 10, 2014 of Lopid (cholesterol), Effexor (antidepressant), Niaspan (cholesterol), and Prilosec (gastrointestinal medication). Dkt. 117-1 at 20; Dkt. 81-1 at 58.

         On July 11, 2014, Mr. Roosma sent a fifth kite, stating, “I've sent a couple kites out to find out about my Restless Leg medication “MeriPex” [sic] could you Please let me know what the hold up is. I would like to sleep.” Dkt. 81-1 at 60. The comments portion of the kite stated, “Seen 7-14-14. Medication not being filled at this time per Carver ARNP.” Id.

         On July 12, 2014, Mr. Roosma sent a sixth kite, stating, “I'm kicking in my sleep! When I sleep, I'm hurting my toes and there [sic] bleeding all over my sheets. . . I really need my RLS MeriPex [sic] to sleep.” Dkt. 81-1 at 62. The comments portion, signed by a nurse, stated, “appointment already scheduled.” Id. Another kite, sent on either July 10, 2014 or July 18, 2014, stated, “I think I broke my foot from kicking in my sleep do [sic] to my RLS Restless Leg. I want my Meripex [sic] I'm really hurting[.]” Id. at 64. The unsigned comment section read, “Seen.” Id.

         On July 21, 2014, at approximately 3am, Mr. Roosma fell from the top bed bunk onto the floor. Mr. Roosma was alone in the room. Mr. Roosma states that he “did not go to sleep until very late” because “they did not allow me to take the Mirapex[.]” Dkt. 110 at 10. Mr. Roosma represents that at some point prior to the fall, he had asked an unidentified person if could sleep on a lower bunk, but “they would not grant me one.” Id. at 8.

         Mr. Roosma states that he is “sure it was my restless leg syndrome (RLS) that caused me to fall out of bed . . . because after going into custody and being cut off of the Mirapex I started feeling the familiar symptoms, severe pain in my legs.” Further, he recalls, “a few days before the fall I had actually suffered injury to my foot and toes kicking the wall in my sleep, [which] leaves no doubt in my mind it was my RLS that caused the fall.” Dkt. 110 at 6.

         When asked at his deposition about self-diagnosing his own medical issues, Mr. Roosma agreed with opposing counsel that he “do[es] not have any medical training that would permit [him] to personally diagnose or treat any serious medical or mental health issues, ” Dkt. 78 at 4, although, he maintains, he is “at the worst end of the range of symptoms” for a person with Restless Leg Syndrome. Dkt. 110 at 11. A doctor first diagnosed Mr. Roosma with the condition in 2008, when he was first prescribed Mirapex, which made a difference “like night and day.” Id. at 8; Dkt. 108-9 at 9. Mrs. Roosma also noticed a difference after Mr. Roosma began taking Mirapex, observing that Mirapex “was a godsend . . . There was no more thrashing [and] [s]udden leg movement ceased.” Dkt. 112 at 3. Since first being prescribed Mirapex, Mr. Roosma reports, his doctor has increased dosage from 1mg to 3mg per day. Dkt. 110 at 10. But compare to Dkt. 108-9 at 2, 8, 9 (.50 mg and .25mg).

         After the fall incident, Mr. Roosma was transported first to Tacoma General Hospital, then to Harborview Medical Center. Dkt. 110 at 8. Mr. Roosma maintains that he broke his eye socket, suffered a concussion, broke his wrist, and had to have twenty-two stiches on his knee. Id. at 9. A radiology report dated July 21, 2014, concludes that an x-ray “showed no fractures besides the left orbital roof.” Dkt. 81-1 at 80, 82. According to the Medication Administration Record, Mr. Roosma was administered Mirapex from July 22, 2014 until July 24, 2014. Dkt. 117-1 at 20. It appears that a single person authorized administration of all medicine for Mr. Roosma. Dkt. Id. According to RN Jonathan Slothower, the nurse on duty when Mr. Roosma fell from his bed, inmates are given medication when “medically necessary, ” a determination made by a doctor or nurse practitioner. Id. at 9, 20.

         Defendant CCS' expert witness, Dr. Scott Bonvallet, medical director of Overlake Sleep Disorders Center, is familiar with distinctions between Restless Leg Syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea. Based on his review of Mr. Roosma's medical records, Dr. Bonvallet has concluded that Mr. Roosma's Restless Leg Syndrome “was not the cause of, or even a contributor to, his falling out of bed.” Dkt. 80 at 3. According to Dr. Bonvallet, the condition “does not cause individuals to fall out of bed, as the movements are quite subtle[, ]” and the “limb twitching/awakenings from RLS occur during the first few hours of sleep . . . [but] Mr. Roosma fell out of bed at approximately 0300, making it very unlikely that his fall was caused by RLS.” Id. He opines that “there are much more probable explanations to include [Mr. Roosma's] severe obstructive sleep apnea, known history of sleep walking, or he simply fell out of bed.” Id.

         In Mrs. Roosma's experience, “sleep apnea never arose as a practical problem causing restlessness[.]” Dkt. 112 at 3. Mr. Roosma acknowledges his diagnosed sleep apnea, but Mr. Roosma had not been using the “CPAP, ” a respiratory ventilation to aid with sleep apnea, “because I was sleeping so well from the Mirapex.” Dkt. 110 at 10. Mrs. Roosma confirms that Mr. Roosma tried a CPAP without success, but Mirapex “profoundly” helped his RLS symptoms, “from mild irritation to severe kicking.” Dkt. 112 at 4.

         Dr. Bonvallet has also concluded that it was reasonable and within the standard of care for the jail medical providers to not prescribe Miramex. Dkt. 80 at 5. According to Dr. Bonvallet, “I understand that there are substantial reasons to restrict access to such medication in the setting of jail[, ]” and “there were no foreseeable medical risks through its discontinuance[.]” Id.

         C. Defendant Pastor and Defendant Jackson-Kidder facts.

         At the time of the fall incident, Defendant Jackson-Kidder worked for Pierce County as the Prison Rape Elimination Act Coordinator/Medical liaison, where she was responsible to serve as a liaison between Pierce County Jail and medical providers “with regard to any issues that arose out of their performance of the contract.” Dkt. 104 at ¶6. Defendant Jackson-Kidder was “unaware of Justin Roosma as an inmate in the jail” and “made no decision and took no actions regarding his medical care.” Id. at ¶8. At that time, she also lacked “authority to supervise, direct or order the activities of CCS employees.” Id. at ¶6. In September of 2015, Defendant Jackson-Kidder transitioned to become the Chief of Corrections for Pierce County Sheriff's Department in September of 2015. Id. at ¶1.

         Defendant Pastor, Pierce County Sheriff, delegated the responsibility to “prepare and pursue a contract for medical services” to Julie Williams, Defendant Pastor's Chief of Staff to Defendant Pastor. Ms. Williams executed the task “in consultation with other individuals who had relevant specialized knowledge[.]” Dkt. 103 at ¶9. She represents that, on behalf of Pierce County, Defendant Pastor was not the sole signatory to the Pierce County/CCS contract. Id. at ¶15. See id. at 5.

         D. Claims[1]an ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.