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Holl v. Otis R. Bowen Center For Human Services Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

July 12, 2018




         Plaintiff Ryan Holl, who is proceeding in this matter pro se, filed this action after he was psychologically evaluated and subsequently detained at the Bowen Center in Plymouth, Indiana. He alleges that the defendant Bowen Center violated his rights under the federal constitution, Indiana state constitution, Indiana state law, and international human rights laws. The Bowen Center moves to dismiss under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. For the reasons that follow, I will grant the defendants' motions, but I will afford Holl an opportunity to amend his complaint.


         I take these facts from Holl's complaint, though his allegations are difficult to decipher. From what I can tell, on July 28, 2017, Holl agreed to allow a nurse named Ann Bates, who was employed by the Bowen Center in Plymouth, Indiana, to conduct a psychiatric evaluation of him. [DE 1 at 6-7 ¶12.] By Holl's own admissions, he engaged in what many would consider erratic behavior. For example, he “decided to sit on the floor” for the evaluation, and he “drew illustrations in his journal and stated he was considering calling down the wrath of God on United States hospitals because too many people die from going to the hospital.” [Id.] When Nurse Bates asked Holl to recall “3 words for five minutes, ” Holl “assumed she was trying to hypnotize him and decided to terminate the exam.” [Id. at 7 ¶13.]

         Holl alleges that Nurse Bates' evaluation indicated that he had “an irrational thought process, rapid pressured speech and defied redirection.” [Id.] Nurse Bates' evaluation also apparently observed that he was paranoid and that “his mood was liable and his affect is bizarre.” [Id.] Holl acknowledges that he admitted to Nurse Bates that he has paranoid and stated that he “has conversations with God and the devil, commonly known as prayer.” [Id.] Ultimately, Nurse Bates concluded that Holl suffered from “Delusional disorders F22, ” and the staff at the Bowen Center notified Holl's father that he should be taken to the nearest emergency room for evaluation and hospitalization. The staff also stated that, if needed, police should be called to assist in transporting Holl to the emergency room. Holl claims that he was never informed of this information or provided with a copy of his diagnosis. [Id. at 7 ¶15.] It's not clear to me from Holl's complaint what ever came from this diagnosis and recommendation, including whether Holl was hospitalized at this time.

         About a month later, on August 29, 2017, Holl, after promising a family member that he would submit to another psychological examination and “take it seriously, ” called the Bowen Center and requested another appointment with Nurse Bates. [Id. at 8 ¶16.] Holl reported to the Bowen Center on September 1, 2017, in order to undergo a second psychological evaluation. [Id. at 8-9 ¶19.] The details that Holl provides concerning this evaluation are odd. He apparently became dissatisfied with Nurse Bates - believing that she was not qualified to perform a psychological evaluation - and so he ended the meeting “giving her a dollar bill as a tip, and explaining to her I had to go take care of a coconut for my mother....” [Id. at 10 ¶21.]

         According to Holl, a doctor named Santosh Maharjan signed a “Physician's Emergency Statement” that morning, while Holl was still undergoing the evaluation by Nurse Bates. The details of this process are not clear to me, but it appears that Nurse Bates described Holl as a potential danger, that his psychosis caused his behavior to be unpredictable, and that he lacked judgment to care for his own health. [Id. at 11 ¶25.] As a result, from what I can glean from Holl's complaint, he appears to have been detained at the Bowen Center after a judge issued an order pursuant to Indiana Code 12-26-5-1. This section of the Indiana Code provides that mentally ill, dangerous individuals may be detained in a facility for not more than 72 hours if certain conditions are met. In any event, Holl “viciously disputes he was psychotic.” [Id. at 10 ¶24.]

         What Holl describes next is a meeting with Detective Magnus and Officer Weir of the Plymouth Police Department, but again I'm not sure where this fits into the story. Holl doesn't tell me what role these officers played in the underlying events, though I surmise that they are the officers who transported Holl to the Bowen Center. It appears that they must have detained him, since Holl alleges that the officers “didn't provide me with the legal paper showing me he had the right to detain me” and that Holl was handcuffed. [Id. at 11-13 ¶¶28-30.] Holl also alleges that another officer, Patrolman Giodano of the Marshall County Sheriff Department, arrived later. This officer appears to have had some role in Holl's detention and transportation to the hospital, as Holl alleges that Officer Giodano wouldn't provide him with “the legal document ... on the car ride down when I had my hands cuffed behind my back.” [Id. at 13 ¶30.] Holl also says that Officer Giodano told Holl to “stop resisting” when he removed Holl's handcuffs at the hospital. [Id.] During this encounter, Holl was not read his Miranda rights and was not allowed to speak to an attorney. [Id. at 20 ¶54.]

         Following Holl's transportation, it seems that Holl was detained at the Bowen Center. He claims that he was not allowed to contest his diagnosis and that he was not even informed of his diagnosis before being “locked up and thrown into a hospital.” [Id. at 13 ¶32.] At the Bowen Center, Holl says that he requested his lawyer and access to a doctor, but his requests were denied. [Id. at 13 ¶33.]

         Ultimately he was detained for “an entire week.” [Id. 14 ¶35.] He was also informed that the hospital would provide the paperwork to get a court date scheduled, but that he could not schedule one over the phone and could not speak with Judge Palmer. [Id. 14 ¶34.] Judge Palmer is the judge who signed an order of detention for Holl after Nurse Bates found that he was a danger.

         While he was detained, Holl alleges that staff at the Bowen Center held him down against his will and placed two pills in his mouth. [Id. at 18 ¶49.] He was forced to swallow the drugs. [Id. at 21 ¶55-58.] He was also forcefully injected with drugs without his consent. [Id. at 20 ¶54.] Holl also repeatedly asked to speak with a lawyer and to get access to a court in order to have an emergency hearing. These requests were denied. [Id. at 19 ¶50.] He was further coerced into signing a voluntary committal order. [Id. at 20 ¶54.]

         Holl, who is proceeding in this matter pro se, filed a complaint against the Bowen Center, [1] alleging that these events violated a multitude of constitutional provisions, human rights law, and state law. The Bowen Center moved to dismiss Holl's complaint on two bases: lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Holl filed a response to the Bowen Center's motion to dismiss but did not address any of the arguments made by the Bowen Center. Instead, his response, which is replete with profane, offensive language, is completely nonsensical.


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) provides for a dismissal of an action for “lack of subject matter jurisdiction.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). On a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, the plaintiff bears the burden of persuading the court that subject-matter jurisdiction exists. Kontos v. U.S. Dept. of Labor, 826 F.2d 573, 576 (7th Cir. 1987). When a party moves for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(1) challenging the factual ...

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