236 F.Supp.3d 1091 (E.D.Wis. 2017), 14-CV-330-JPS, Reed v. Columbia St. Mary's Hosp.
|Citation:||236 F.Supp.3d 1091|
|Opinion Judge:||J.P. Stadtmueller, United States District Judge.|
|Party Name:||LINDA REED, Plaintiff, v. COLUMBIA ST. MARY'S HOSPITAL, Defendant|
|Attorney:||No. 14-CV-330-JPS For Linda Reed, Plaintiff: Priya Barnes, LEAD ATTORNEY, Attorney Barnes LLC, Pewaukee, WI. For Columbia St Mary's Hospital, sued as Columbia St. Mary Hospital, Defendant: Kathleen E Bonville, LEAD ATTORNEY, Bradley S Foley, Gutglass Erickson Bonville & Larson SC, Milwaukee, WI.|
|Case Date:||February 15, 2017|
|Court:||United States District Courts, 7th Circuit, Eastern District of Wisconsin|
Reed v. Columbia St. Mary's Hospital, (E.D. Wis., July 1, 2014)
For Linda Reed, Plaintiff: Priya Barnes, LEAD ATTORNEY, Attorney Barnes LLC, Pewaukee, WI.
For Columbia St Mary's Hospital, sued as Columbia St. Mary Hospital, Defendant: Kathleen E Bonville, LEAD ATTORNEY, Bradley S Foley, Gutglass Erickson Bonville & Larson SC, Milwaukee, WI.
J.P. Stadtmueller, United States District Judge.
Plaintiff Linda Reed (" Reed" ) suffers from several disabilities, including tardive dyskinesia (" TD" ) and bipolar disorder. Her TD makes it difficult for her to speak, so she often uses a computer-based communication device. In March 2012, she sought treatment at Defendant Columbia St. Mary's Hospital (" Columbia" ) because she was feeling suicidal. In this lawsuit, she asserts that during her four-day stay, Columbia staff discriminated against her on the basis of her disabilities and refused to make adequate accommodations for her impairments.
She brings claims for violations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (" ADA" ), 42 U.S.C. § 12181, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794. She also asserts several claims arising under the Wisconsin Mental Health Act, Wis. Stat. § 51.61, for violations of her rights as a medical patient. Columbia filed a motion for summary judgment on October 14, 2016. (Docket #49). Columbia seeks dismissal of all of Reed's federal claims. First, it argues that it enjoys a religious exemption from liability under the ADA. Second, it asserts that there is inadequate evidence to show that it discriminated against Reed solely based on her disabilities, as is required to sustain a claim under the Rehabilitation Act. Finally, Columbia requests that the Court decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state-law claims. Reed opposed Columbia's motion and filed a motion to strike Columbia's religious exemption defense, contending that it had not been timely asserted. (Docket #54 and #55).1 The parties' motions are fully briefed and, for the reasons stated below,
the Court must grant Columbia's motion and dismiss this action.
2. STANDARD OF REVIEW
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that the court " shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Boss v. Castro, 816 F.3d 910, 916 (7th Cir. 2016). A fact is " material" if it " might affect the outcome of the suit" under the applicable substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). A dispute of fact is " genuine" if " the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. The court construes all facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Bridge v. New Holland Logansport, Inc., 815 F.3d 356, 360 (7th Cir. 2016). The court must not weigh the evidence presented or determine credibility of witnesses; the Seventh Circuit instructs that " we leave those tasks to factfinders." Berry v. Chicago Transit Auth., 618 F.3d 688, 691 (7th Cir. 2010). The party opposing summary judgment " need not match the movant witness for witness, nor persuade the court that [her] case is convincing, [she] need only come forward with appropriate evidence demonstrating that there is a pending dispute of material fact." Waldridge v. American Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 921 (7th Cir. 1994).
3. RELEVANT FACTS
3.1 Reed's Treatment at Columbia
Reed suffers from TD, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and acute anxiety. (Docket #55 ¶ 11). TD is a neurological disorder that substantially limits a person's ability to speak and swallow due to uncontrollable, involuntary movements in the mouth, limbs, and hands. To cope with the disease, Reed uses various communication techniques and aids, including a computer-based communication device called a Dynavox. See (Docket #37 ¶ 9).
Reed entered the Columbia emergency department in mid-afternoon on Thursday, March 8, 2012, reporting suicidal thoughts. (Docket #55 ¶ 11). She was admitted for treatment to Columbia's inpatient behavioral health unit. Id. She remained there until her discharge on the morning of Monday, March 12, 2012. Id. ¶ 12; see also (Docket #59 ¶ 36).
While being treated at Columbia, Reed claims she was subjected to discrimination because of her disabilities. First, Columbia staff would repeatedly refuse to give her the Dynavox when she asked for it, including during her discharge meeting on March 12, 2012. (Docket #37 ¶ 13); (Docket #55 ¶ ¶ 17, 24). (The Dynavox was held at the nurse's station at night in order to recharge its batteries.)
Second, she says she was prescribed psychotropic medication despite telling Columbia staff that she is allergic to it. (Docket #37 ¶ 14). She refused to take it when offered. Id. At times, she asked to see her medication records so she could determine whether she was being given any such medications, but these requests were refused. Id. ¶ ¶ 14, 23; (Docket #55 ¶ 13). Third, she was repeatedly denied use of the telephone to call her " case manager."
(Docket #37 ¶ 21). Fourth, she was denied access to the hospital chaplain. (Docket #55 ¶ 22). Finally, she was escorted off the hospital grounds by two security guards after the March 12 discharge meeting. Id. In her original complaint, she claimed that the guards injured her, but the amended complaint omits such allegations. See id. ; see also (Docket #55-26 at 3-5).
The record reveals that Reed's stay at Columbia was fraught with difficulty and punctuated by confrontations between her and the staff. See (Docket #55-11 at 21) (examination note stating that Reed was discharged for " behavior issues" and was " sent away by staff" ). At the intake interview on March 8, 2012 with psychiatrist Dr. Eric Kaplan (" Dr. Kaplan" ), she was " angry and agitated" and in a " manic state" --so much so that Dr. Kaplan had to leave the intake interview and another doctor completed it later. See
id. at 46, 83-84. It was also noted by a nurse that at intake, Reed communicated in " explosive verbal volleys" along with using her Dynavox. Id. at 100.
Additionally, throughout her stay, Reed refused some of Columbia's treatment recommendations, including certain medications on her stated fear that she was allergic to them. (Docket #55-22 at 2 ¶ 3); (Docket #55 ¶ 75); (Docket #55-11 at 24) (progress note that Reed was " all over the map, refuses to take any psych meds" ); see also (Docket #55-13 at 30-31) (May 30, 2013 note from Dr. Kathryn Gaines, who treated Reed for over a decade, that Reed visited her in a disturbed stated and refused to take her medication). Although Reed claims that she was prescribed psychotropic drugs at Columbia after warning the staff of her allergy, there is no evidence that she was ever administered such medications, only that she was concerned about the possibility. (Docket #55 ¶ 76); (Docket #59 ¶ ¶ 75-76); but see (Docket #55-11 at 17) (March 8, 2012 note showing order for psychotropic medications). In any event, she claims she refused all such medications when they were offered to her. (Docket #59 ¶ 75); (Docket #55-11 at 34). Similarly, while she asserts that she was not allowed to see her medication records, (Docket #59 ¶ 77), Donna Taylor, Director of Risk Management at Columbia, later explained to her that this was due to Columbia policy, which provides that a patient can review her records after discharge, (Docket #55-22 at 1). The right to review records is not, as Reed believed, an unfettered right to see all such records immediately upon request. See id.
Further, she was often disruptive, loud, agitated, and could not easily be understood in her speech as a result of her TD. See (Docket #55-11 at 34) (Reed describing her disabilities as " noisy" ); id. at 35 (Reed writing that on one occasion, she became " spooked" and " los[t] control over [her] disorder" ); id. at 42 (progress note that Reed exhibited bipolar disorder with " severe mania" ); id. at 85 (progress note that Reed became " distraught" in the afternoon on March 10 and was " unable to speak" ); id. at 86 (progress note that Reed's mood was " up and down all shift" late on March 11). Her behavior was so hard to control that the nursing supervisor, William Fry (" Fry" ), testified that staff would only provide Reed her Dynavox " if her behavior was appropriate." (Docket #55 ¶ ¶ 62-64)...
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