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Gagnon v. Correct Care Solutions

United States District Court, D. Maine

September 22, 2017

SCOTT GAGNON, a/k/a MISSY GAGNON, Plaintiff
v.
CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS, Defendant

          RECOMMENDED DECISION ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          JOHN C. NIVISON, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         In this action, Plaintiff Scott Gagnon, also known as Missy Gagnon, alleges that Defendant Correct Care Solutions acted with deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs while Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Maine Correctional Center.

         The matter is before the Court on Defendant's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 41.) Defendant filed its motion on July 17, 2017. Plaintiff has not filed a response to the motion.[1]

         Following a review of the summary judgment record, and after consideration of Defendant's motion, [2] I recommend the Court grant the motion.

         Facts

         The record establishes that beginning in 2012, Defendant has maintained a Gender Identity Disorder/Gender Dysphoria Policy. The Gender Dysphoria Policy J-G-02a is intended to ensure that individuals who are experiencing gender dysphoria issues are appropriately treated. (Id. ¶ 2.)

         Defendant follows the World Professional Association for Transgender Health guidelines regarding the treatment of gender dysphoria. (Id. ¶ 3.) The guidelines provide standards for the health care of transgender individuals. The standards are designed to provide clinical guidance for health care professionals in treating transgender individuals. (Id. ¶ 4.)

         Pursuant to the policy, when a transgender individual requests an evaluation or medical accommodation, Defendant begins an evaluation process. (Id. ¶ 5.) The process initially involves the review of records from community providers and the completion of a psychological evaluation, which could include a clinical interview, mental status exam, psychological assessment, cognitive assessment and the development of treatment recommendations. (Id. ¶ 6.)

         Defendant also has a Gender Dysphoria Committee that provides consultation regarding treatment available for individuals with gender dysphoria. (Id. ¶ 7.) Defendant has a multidisciplinary team that develops an initial treatment plan for discussion with the Gender Dysphoria Committee. (Id. ¶ 8.) After the implementation of an individualized treatment plan, the multidisciplinary team meets periodically to assess the effectiveness of the treatment. (Id. ¶ 10.)

         Upon intake at the Maine State Prison on January 29, 2013, Plaintiff identified as a transgender person. (Defendant's Statement of Material Facts ¶ 11, ECF No. 43.) Plaintiff, however, did not notify Defendant until April 2015 that she wished to be treated for issues related to gender identity. (Id. ¶ 13.) A mental health care provider met with Plaintiff on April 16 and 23, 2015, during which meetings the clinician and Plaintiff discussed issues related to Plaintiff's gender identity. (Id. ¶ 14.) On June 2, 2015, Plaintiff requested an evaluation for gender dysphoria. (Id. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff was seen and evaluated in June 2015, and subsequently, she began counseling with Dr. Sarah Miller. (Id. ¶ 17.) Dr. Miller conducted an extensive clinical interview and follow-up testing, which resulted in a diagnosis of gender dysphoria on July 22, 2015. (Id. ¶¶ 19, 20, 23.) Following the diagnosis, Defendant convened a multidisciplinary team to develop a treatment plan. (Id. ¶ 25.)

         On October 8, 2015, when the treatment team met with Plaintiff to discuss the treatment plan and objectives, Plaintiff agreed to participate. (Id. ¶¶ 33 - 34.) Through a dialogue in November and December, Plaintiff expressed her objectives, including a desire to move slowly with transitioning her appearance and with a change in housing. At the same time, Defendant and the Department of Corrections conferred to discuss the appropriate place for Plaintiff to reside as she progressed with the treatment. (Id. ¶ 43.)

         Plaintiff commenced hormone therapy on July 14, 2016. (Id. ¶ 48.) In September 2016, the Department of Corrections transferred Plaintiff to the Maine Correctional Center, to reside with the female population in a single cell. (Id. ¶ 60.) Care providers monitored Plaintiff's hormone levels and adjusted her therapy to ensure steady progress. (Id. ¶¶ 62, 66.) During this process, the team declined a request for laser hair removal treatment, but other options were offered to address facial hair removal. (Id. ¶¶ 64, 69, 72.) Plaintiff was not exhibiting emotional symptoms of gender dysphoria, suggesting her course of treatment was responsive to that condition. (Id. ¶ 71.) While at the Correctional Center, Plaintiff received mental health care approximately two to four times each month, until her release on May 5, 2017. (Id. ¶ 88.)

         Plaintiff filed her verified complaint on October 28, 2016, shortly after she was transferred to the Correctional Center. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff alleged she had fought “for years” with Defendant to assess her as a transgendered individual, but acknowledged that she was seen and assessed after she filed a grievance. (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff asserted that even after she filed the grievance, progress with her treatment was slow and “several months” passed before hormone therapy began. (Id.)

         Plaintiff filed a verified amended complaint on November 25, 2016. In the amended complaint, Plaintiff asserted various allegations regarding the lack of appropriate treatment. (Verified Amended Complaint, ECF No. 11.) When Plaintiff was released in May 2017, the Department of Corrections provided Plaintiff with a ...


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