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Saylor v. Nebraska

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

January 29, 2016

James Saylor, Plaintiff - Appellee
State of Nebraska, Defendant Randy Kohl, M.D.; Dennis Bakewell; Robert Houston, Defendants - Appellants, Nebraska Department of Correctional Services; Natalie Baker, M.D.; Mohammad Kamal, M.D., Defendants, Cameron White, PhD.; Mark Weilage, PhD.; Fred Britten; Kari Perez, PhD., Defendants - Appellants, Correct Care Solutions, LLC., Defendant

 Submitted November 17, 2015

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Nebraska - Lincoln.

For James Saylor, Plaintiff - Appellee: Joshua D. Barber, Terry K. Barber, BARBER & BARBER., Lincoln, NE.

For Randy Kohl, M.D., Dennis Bakewell, Robert Houston, Cameron White, PhD., Mark Weilage, PhD., Fred Britten, Kari Perez, PhD., Defendants - Appellants: David A. Lopez, Assistant Attorney General, Ryan Post, Assistant Attorney General, ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, Lincoln, NE.

Before RILEY, Chief Judge, BEAM and KELLY, Circuit Judges. KELLY, Circuit Judge, dissenting.


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BEAM, Circuit Judge.

James Saylor sued the State of Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS), Dr. Randy Kohl, Dennis Bakewell, Robert Houston, Dr. Natalie Baker, Dr. Mohammad Kamal, Dr. Cameron White, Dr. Mark Weilage, Fred Britten, Dr. Kari Perez, and Correct Care Solutions, LLC, (collectively " Defendants" ) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his rights under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, and the district court dismissed Saylor's claims against the State of Nebraska and NDCS, as well as claims for monetary relief against individual defendants in their official capacities. The remaining defendants then moved for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity. The district court denied the motion. We reverse.


Saylor is a Nebraska inmate convicted of second-degree murder. Dr. Kohl is the Medical Services Director for NDCS. Other medical defendants include Dr. White,

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Dr. Weilage, and Dr. Perez.[1] The nonmedical defendants include Houston, Warden Britten, and Warden Bakewell.[2] In 2002, while a prisoner at the Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP), Saylor was allegedly attacked, beaten, and raped by other inmates. In 2005 Saylor was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the 2002 attack, and he began seeing Dr. Glen Christensen, a psychiatrist who contracted with NDCS. Saylor saw Dr. Christensen monthly for treatment. In April 2005, Saylor filed a complaint in state court alleging that the State of Nebraska and NDCS failed to protect him from the assault and failed to properly treat him after the assault. The trial was held in 2009, and in 2010 the state court entered an order in favor of Saylor, finding that the staff was negligent in failing to provide him with reasonably adequate protection from the 2002 assault. The court also found that Saylor received inadequate medical treatment from Dr. Kamal from 2002 to 2005. Saylor was awarded $250,000 in damages.

In April 2010, Saylor had his last meeting with Dr. Christensen because his contract with the prison was ending in May 2010. In addition, Saylor had monthly Mental Status Reviews with Cathy Moss, a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner. She informed Saylor that Dr. Kamal was the only psychiatrist available to work with him at NSP. In May 2010, Saylor stated that he would not work with Dr. Kamal because Dr. Kohl had removed Dr. Kamal as Saylor's psychiatrist five years ago. Thus, Saylor agreed to forgo psychiatric care but wanted to continue taking his medications. A multidisciplinary hearing was held in 2010 to discuss the next step for Saylor because Dr. Christensen's contract ended and Saylor refused to work with Dr. Kamal. Defendants Dr. Weilage, Dr. Perez, and Dr. Kamal participated in the meeting, along with others not named in the lawsuit. The group suggested that Saylor could be transferred to Tecumseh State Correctional Institution (TSCI) because Dr. Baker, a psychiatrist providing care at TSCI, could work with Saylor. It is normal procedure for a correctional facility to transfer inmates who need mental health care beyond the resources available in their facility to a facility where such care is available. Warden Bakewell made the final decision, and Saylor was transferred to TSCI in September 2010. Saylor claims that the transfer was unnecessary, retaliatory, and caused his PTSD to worsen.

Saylor was initially classified as an inmate in Protective Custody[3] but was placed in the TSCI hospital upon arrival because he attempted to hang himself before he was transferred. While in the hospital he met with Dr. Baker. Dr. Baker wanted to gradually take Saylor off Seroquel, one of his medicines. He agreed and decided to continue taking Xanax. Throughout his time at ...

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