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Porretti v. Dzurenda

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 10, 2019

WAYNE A. PORRETTI, Plaintiff,
v.
DZURENDA, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          RICHARD F. BOULWARE, II, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before this Court are Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration of this Court's Order at ECF No. 106 (ECF No. 118), Motion for Stay of Enforcement of Preliminary Injunction Pending the Filing of and the Court's Decision on Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration, and Any Necessary Appeal of this Court's Order (ECF No. 132), Motion for Leave to File Supplement to Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration (ECF No. 139), and Emergency Motion for Clarification and Expedited Decision Requested by June 10, 2019 (ECF Nos. 149, 150). The Court recognizes several additional pending motions filed by Plaintiff and defers ruling on these motions at this time. The Court grants Defendants' Emergency Motion and issues the instant Order addressing Defendants' pending motions accordingly.

         Plaintiff is an inmate incarcerated in the Nevada Department of Corrections and currently housed at Lovelock Correctional Center. Plaintiff alleges that he is being denied necessary anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medication and, as a result, is suffering from depression, paranoia, delusions, and hearing voices. Defendants challenge the Court's order granting Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction and the Court's finding that medical evaluation of Plaintiff constitutes necessary and appropriate injunctive relief in this case.

         The Court denies Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration, Motion for Stay of Enforcement of Preliminary Injunction, and Motion for Leave to File Supplement for a few reasons. First, the Court rejects Defendants' motions because Defendants seek to relitigate this Court's factual and credibility findings, especially the finding that Dr. Carroll was not a credible witness. Second, Defendants seek to improperly supplant this Court's established factual findings regarding Plaintiff's treatment with their own version of the facts. Defendants have, unfortunately, in their submission repeatedly misstated this Court's findings and evidence in the record, and the Court corrects these misstatements here. Third, Defendants seek to present additional new evidence which is either untimely or unreliable. Fourth, Defendants' new evidence only underscores the need for Plaintiff to receive immediate psychiatric treatment from an impartial physician. Thus, the Court finds that its issued preliminary injunction was and remains appropriate and that a stay of the injunction is not warranted during the pendency of Defendants' appeal. The Court reviews its reasoning and holding in detail below.

         The Court will grant Defendants an additional seven days to comply with is Order (ECF No. 130) for medical evaluation given the appeal in this case.

         I. PROCEDURAL & FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed the initial complaint on June 23, 2017 and the operative complaint on September 26, 2018. ECF Nos. 1, 16. On January 9, 2019, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Preliminary Injunction. ECF Nos. 32, 33.

         The Court held a hearing regarding the Motion for Preliminary Injunction on January 18, 2019. ECF No. 44. The Court received at that time from Defendants' counsel a CD containing Plaintiffs' 613-page medical record, attached also to Defendants' instant Motion for Reconsideration. ECF No. 118, Exhibit A. The Court continued the hearing to receive testimony from psychiatrist Carla Carroll, M.D., an employee of the Nevada Department of Corrections (“NDOC”).

         The Court held a second hearing on January 29, 2019 and received testimony from Dr. Carroll. ECF No. 48. On January 30, 2019, the Court issued an order requesting additional medical records and referring Plaintiff to the pro bono program for appointment of counsel. ECF No. 50.

         On April 9, 2019, the Court held a status conference. ECF No. 103. The Court granted the Motion for Preliminary Injunction. The Court stated that it would grant relief in the form of a medical evaluation of Plaintiff, with Defendants to cover costs. The Court expressed its willingness to appoint psychiatrist Norton Roitman, M.D., based on his treatment history with Plaintiff and his established record as a medical expert with this Court. The Court permitted Defendants to submit a list of additional contracted experts by April 18, 2019 who could be selected to offer the Court a parallel diagnosis and suggested regiment of treatment for Mr. Poretti.

         On April 12, 2019, the Court issued an Order detailing its findings and analysis in support of its decision to grant the Motion for Preliminary Injunction. ECF No. 106. The Court found that Dr. Carroll's diagnosis of Plaintiff and her medical opinion that Seroquel and Wellbutrin are not medically necessary for Plaintiff were not and are not credible. Instead, the Court finds that the diagnoses and prescriptions in Plaintiff's medical record are credible. Id. at 3. The Court further found that Dr. Carroll has met with Plaintiff on only one occasion and only over videoconference for a brief period of time. Id. at 4. Dr. Carroll has never interacted with Plaintiff in person, though she has been Plaintiff's treating physician for many months and Plaintiff had sought additional meetings with her. Id. The Court found that Dr. Carroll is an NDOC employee and her opinion was biased by her employment and was tailored to supporting Defendants' existing position that Plaintiff does not need the medications he had been previously prescribed. Id. at 3. The Court further found that Plaintiff has severe mental health symptoms as documented in his medical record. Id. at 4. Based on these findings and others as detailed in the Court's order, the Court determined that Plaintiff had established a likelihood of success on the merits of his Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim based on Defendants' failure to properly diagnose and treat Plaintiff through medication and treatment sessions and Defendants' cessation of his prescribed medication without adequate evaluation or monitoring of Plaintiff and his condition. Id. at 5-7. The Court further found that Plaintiff demonstrated a substantial likelihood of irreparable harm due to the ongoing risk to his health and physical safety and that the balance of equities and public interest favored Plaintiff. Id. at 7-8.

         The Court therefore granted Plaintiff preliminary relief. However, because the Court found no recent credible medical judgment or prescription in the record, the Court did not find it appropriate to simply order Defendants provide Seroquel and Wellbutrin to Plaintiff, despite Plaintiff's long medical history of safely utilizing these medications to control his symptoms. Rather, the Court ordered a medical evaluation to provide an updated diagnosis of Plaintiff's condition and a recommended course of treatment, including addressing the issue of whether Plaintiff's prior prescriptions for Seroquel and Wellbutrin are medically necessary in light of his medical history, diagnoses, and present-day symptoms, and identify the existence of and efficacy of alternative treatments. Id. at 8.

         On April 19, 2019, Defendants proposed that the independent medical evaluation of Plaintiff be performed by Dr. Wade F. Exum, a psychiatrist contracted with NDOC. ECF No. 113.

         On April 26, 2019, Defendants filed the instant Motion for Reconsideration of this Court's Order at ECF No. 106. ECF No. 118. Plaintiff responded on May 1, 2019 and Defendants replied on May 8, 2019. ECF Nos. 122, 128.

         On May 8, 2019, the Court issued an Order finalizing the scope of its preliminary relief. ECF No. 130. The Court found that it was appropriate and necessary to order two in-person medical evaluations of Plaintiff, one conducted by Dr. Roitman and one conducted by Dr. Exum.

         On May 13, 2019, Defendants noticed their appeal of the Court's Order issuing a preliminary injunction to the Ninth Circuit. ECF No. 133. Also on May 13, 2019, Defendants filed the instant Motion for Stay of Enforcement of Preliminary Injunction Pending the Filing of and the Court's Decision on Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration, and Any Necessary Appeal of this Court's Order. ECF No. 132. Plaintiff responded on May 17, 2019. ECF No. 138.

         On May 22, 2019, Defendants filed the instant Motion for Leave to File Supplement to Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration. ECF No. 139. Defendants filed an errata to this motion containing a supplemental exhibit on May 29, 2019. ECF No. 144.

         On June 3, 2019, the Ninth Circuit held appellate proceedings in abeyance pending this Court's resolution of Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration. ECF No. 147. On June 4, 2019, Defendants filed the instant Emergency Motion for Clarification and Expedited Decision Requested by June 10, 2019. ECF Nos. 149, 150.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Pursuant to Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, this Court may relieve the parties from a judgment on various grounds, including “mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect, ” “newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time, ” and “any other reason that justifies relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). Motions for reconsideration are disfavored. LR 59-1(b). A movant may not repeat arguments already presented. Id.

         III. DISCUSSION

         a. Motion for ...


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