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Treworgy v. Mayhew

United States District Court, D. Maine

November 12, 2014

JANE M. TREWORGY, et al., Plaintiffs
v.
MARY C. MAYHEW, et als., Defendants

For JANE M TREWORGY, as Personal Representative of the ESTATE OF PAUL F TREWORGY, JOHN F TREWORGY, Plaintiffs: CYNTHIA A. DILL, LEAD ATTORNEY, TROUBH HEISLER, PORTLAND, ME.

For MARY C MAYHEW, In her official capacity as Commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Defendant: CHRISTOPHER C. TAUB, KATHERINE GREASON, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, AUGUSTA, ME.

For PETER BALDACCI, In his official capacity as a Penobscot County Commissioner, TOM DAVIS, In his official capacity as a Penobscot County Commissioner, LAURA SANBORN, In her official capacity as a Penobscot County Commissioner, PENOBSCOT COUNTY MAINE COMMISSIONERS, SUSAN ALMY, in her official capacity as Penobscot County, Maine Registrar of Probate, Defendants: CASSANDRA S. SHAFFER, PETER T. MARCHESI, LEAD ATTORNEYS, WHEELER & AREY, P.A., WATERVILLE, ME.

RECOMMENDED DECISION

John C. Nivison, United States Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiffs Jane Treworgy and her son, John Treworgy, allege that the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the Commissioners of Penobscot County, the Penobscot County Register of Probate, and the Department's employee, Jodi Ingraham, violated the United States Constitution, the Maine Constitution, and the Maine Health-Care Decisions Act in connection with their action or inaction in guardianship proceedings involving the late Paul F. Treworgy. The matter is before the Court on Defendants Penobscot County Commissioners' and Susan Almy's Motion to Dismiss (County Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 8), and Defendant Mary C. Mayhew's Motion to Dismiss (Defendant Mayhew's Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 11).[1] Following a review of the pleadings, and after consideration of the parties' arguments, as explained below, the recommendation is that the Court grant in part and deny in part the motions.

Factual Background

The facts set forth herein are derived from Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint, which facts are deemed true when evaluating the Motion to Dismiss.[2] Beddall v. State St. Bank & Trust Co., 137 F.3d 12, 16 (1st Cir. 1998).

Plaintiffs Jane Treworgy and her son, John Treworgy (collectively, " Plaintiffs"), are residents of Bangor, Maine. Jane Treworgy is the personal representative of the Estate of Paul F. Treworgy, who was the husband of Jane Treworgy and the father of John Treworgy. (First Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 1-2, ECF No. 7.) Defendant Mary C. Mayhew is the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (" DHHS") and is being sued in both her official capacity and her individual capacity. Defendant Jodi Ingraham at all material times was an employee of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and is being sued in her individual capacity. Defendants Penobscot County Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Tom Davis, and Laura Sanborn, are sued in their official capacities. Defendant Susan Almy is the Register of Probate for Penobscot County and is sued in her official capacity. (Id. ¶ ¶ 4-7.)

After residing in Florida for 32 years, Paul and Jane Treworgy returned to Bangor, Maine in April 2010 to be with their son, John. Between 2010 and his death on October 29, 2011, Paul Treworgy suffered from a number of medical conditions, including, but not limited to, prostate cancer, dementia, lower limb contracture, incontinence and immobility. (Id. ¶ ¶ 19-20.) Upon his return to Maine, Mr. Treworgy was periodically a patient at the following health care facilities:

- From May 10, 2010, to May 13, 2010: at St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor, Maine.
- From May 13, 2010, to July 12, 2010: at Bangor Nursing and Rehab Center.
- From March 15, 2011, to March 22, 2011: at St. Joseph Hospital.
- From March 22, 2011, to March 26, 2011: at the Maine Veteran's Home.
- From March 26, 2011, to March 30, 2011: at Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC).
- From March 30, 2011, to June 28, 2011: at Maine Veteran's Home.

(Id. ¶ ¶ 21, 25-28.)

On October 29, 2011, Mr. Treworgy died in a nursing home. According to Plaintiffs, Mr. Treworgy was in the nursing home against his wishes and the wishes of Jane Treworgy, whom Mr. Treworgy appointed to serve as his agent in an advance directive. (Id. ¶ ¶ 17, 22, 72.) In the advance directive, signed in the presence of two witnesses on June 19, 2010, Mr. Treworgy specified that he wanted Jane to serve as his guardian in the event of his incapacity. He also appointed his son, John, to be his alternative guardian. Mr. Treworgy also expressed a desire to be kept alive as long as possible within the limits of generally accepted health care standards, and also expressed his wish that he not receive morphine or other opiates unless he was in extreme pain. (Id. ¶ ¶ 22-24.)

On or about August 29, 2011, Jane Treworgy contacted EMMC to request home services and a health aid, noting that Mr. Treworgy was developing bed sores. Based on this request, EMMC contacted the Department's Office of Adult Protective Services (" APS") and asked that it perform a home evaluation. EMMC placed Jane Treworgy's application for services in a folder pending the APS evaluation, but did not provide Jane Treworgy with any prescriptions or supplies pending the evaluation. (Id. ¶ ¶ 29-31.)

On September 13, 2011, Jodi Ingraham visited the Treworgy home. (Id. ¶ 37.) Plaintiffs assert that they did not understand that Ms. Ingraham was with APS and that Ms. Ingraham did not identify herself as being with APS. (Id. ¶ 38.) Ms. Ingraham reported to EMMC that she believed that the family was " doing the best they can with limited resources, " and that Mr. Treworgy was " of sound mind to make the choice to stay in the home." (Id. ¶ 37.) On information and belief, Plaintiffs allege that the Department opened a file on Mr. Treworgy and ordered that it remain open for 90 days. (Id. ¶ 39.)

EMMC informed Jane Treworgy that a home-care visit was scheduled for September 20, 2011. Because she believed that Mr. Treworgy needed more immediate attention, Jane Treworgy arranged for Mr. Treworgy to be transported by ambulance to St. Joseph Hospital. (Id. ¶ 36.) At the time, Jane understood that Mr. Treworgy was suffering from a urinary tract infection, fever, and possible pneumonia. (Id. ¶ 41.) Before Mr. Treworgy's discharge from the hospital, Ms. Ingraham told Jane Treworgy that she worked for APS and that Mr. Treworgy had to go to a nursing home upon discharge. (Id. ¶ ¶ 44-46.) Although Plaintiffs had the resources to pay for home care and hospital stays, Jane agreed with the request, and began to consider various placements for Mr. Treworgy. (Id. ¶ ¶ 47-48.)

On September 28, Ms. Ingraham signed an Acceptance of Appointment by Public Guardian of Incapacitated Person (" Acceptance") and an Affidavit in Support of Temporary Public Appointment (" Affidavit"). (Id. ¶ ¶ 51-52.) Plaintiffs contend that the Affidavit contained numerous false, misleading, and damaging statements, including:

(a) " Mrs. Treworgy had not had any help in the home for approximately three weeks because Mrs. Treworgy had refused PCA services because of the cost."
(b) " [Mrs. Treworgy] also does not want to pay for nursing home care for her husband and will not hire a PCA to come into the home."
(c) " The Department has worked with the family since 2010. During this time there have been many attempts to support this family's decision to care ...

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