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Moret v. Oregon State Hospital

United States District Court, D. Oregon

September 17, 2019

ANDREW GUY MORET, Plaintiff,
v.
OREGON STATE HOSPITAL, POORNIMA RANGANATHAN, ANDREA DAILEY, Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

          MUSTAFA T. KASUBHAI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff filed suit against Oregon State Hospital (OSH) and two medical providers and alleged the forcible and arbitrary administration of medication in violation of his federal due process rights. The individual defendants now move for summary judgment on grounds that plaintiff's claim is barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, the statute of limitations, and the failure to exhaust administrative remedies.[1] Defendants also argue that plaintiff's claims lack merit. Defendants' motion should be granted, and this case should be dismissed.

         BACKGROUND

         On February 19, 2016, plaintiff was admitted to Oregon State Hospital (OSH) in an extremely agitated state. Howard Decl. ¶ 3; Lang Decl. Att. 3 at 3.[2] Plaintiff's symptoms included “delusions, paranoia, disorganized thoughts, disorganized behavior, impulsivity, mania, mood instability, pressured speech, aggression, poor sleep, labile mood, and poor self-care.” Lang Decl. Att. 3 at 2. Plaintiff verbally threatened OSH staff and exhibited other threatening behavior. Id. Att. 2 at 165-66, 170-76. Dr. Ranganathan administered medications to plaintiff on an emergency basis without obtaining his consent. Id. Att. 2 at 170. Although Dr. Ranganathan attempted to provide plaintiff with information about proposed medications, he “denied having a mental illness and denied that the proposed medications had any benefit for him.” Id. Att. 3 at 3.

         On February 26, 2016, Nadia Babiker, an OSH medication educator, also attempted to discuss proposed medications with plaintiff. Id. Att. 3 at 3, 11.

         On March 2, 2016, Dr. Ben Jew, a consulting psychiatrist, likewise attempted to provide information to plaintiff regarding the proposed medications. Lang Decl. Att. 3 at 3. On March 3, 2016, the Chief Medical Officer of OSH approved the use of the proposed medications. Id.

         On March 7, 2016, OSH provided plaintiff with a Notice and Hearing Rights Form for Approval of Involuntary Administration of Significant Procedures. Id. ¶ 6 & Att. 2 at 16-18. OSH bore the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that it met the criteria to medicate plaintiff without his consent. Id. Att. 3 at 5 (citing Or. Rev. Stat. § 183.450(2) and Harris v. SAIF, 292 Or. 683, 690 (1982)). Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing to contest the notice. Lang Decl. ¶ 6.

         On March 15, 2016, a hearing was held before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) from the Office of Administrative Hearings. Id. ¶ 7. Plaintiff testified and appeared with counsel, an attorney with Disability Rights Oregon. Id. Att. 3 at 1.

         On March 16, 2016, the ALJ issued a final order. Id. Att. 3. The ALJ found that without OSH's proposed treatment, plaintiff risked “continued deterioration of his mental health, continued danger to himself and others, and continued need for intensive, hospital-level services.” Id. Att. 3 at 4. Specifically, the ALJ found:

The evidence demonstrated that the proposed medications will likely restore, or prevent deterioration of, his mental health. Additionally, the evidence established that the proposed medications would decrease the symptoms of [plaintiff's] mental illness. The evidence supports a conclusion that lack of medication will lead to the worsening of [plaintiff's] condition.
***
The evidence demonstrated that the proposed medications are the most appropriate treatment, according to current clinical practice, and the least intrusive means with which to treat [plaintiff]'s condition. Less intrusive procedures would be ineffective without medication to treat the symptoms of [plaintiff]'s mental illness. Upon his admission to the institution, [plaintiff]'s aggression and agitation were too severe to allow him out of seclusion until the emergency medications reduced his symptoms.
***
The evidence establishes that institution wishes to treat [plaintiff] for dangerousness, as defined by OAR 309-114-0005(4). Since September 15, 2015, [plaintiff] has made numerous suicide threats, including one that caused him to be hospitalized and others made while he was jailed. While [plaintiff] denies any current suicidal ideation, his recent threats demonstrate that his disorder and resulting labile mood put him at risk of harm to himself. Since [plaintiff]'s admission to the institution, he has engaged in physically threatening behavior and made ...

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