United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Gainesville Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
R. JONES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on ECF No. 120, Defendant Scott
Teitelbaum, MD's Motion for Summary Judgment, and ECF No.
122, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment. Both
parties have filed responses to the motions for summary
judgment and a reply, if any. (ECF Nos. 146, 159, 162.) The
motions are, therefore, ripe for review. For the reasons
explained below, the undersigned recommends that
Defendant's motion for summary judgment be granted and
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment be
(“Dr. Paylan”), a cosmetic surgeon, is proceeding
pro se pursuant to a complaint alleging claims under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Florida law. (ECF No. 31
(“Compl.”).) Dr. Paylan's remaining
claimsagainst Defendant (“Dr.
Teitelbaum”) center around her visit to the Florida
Recovery Center in July and August 2011 for a substance abuse
evaluation by Dr. Teitelbaum. Based on her visits to the
Florida Recovery Center, Dr. Paylan alleges that Dr.
Teitelbaum violated her civil rights by fabricating evidence,
Marchman Acting her, and unlawfully searching and seizing her
property. Dr. Paylan also alleges that Dr. Teitelbaum falsely
imprisoned her and committed fraud. (Compl. at 5-31.)
Teitelbaum filed a motion for summary judgment. (ECF No.
120.) In support of Dr. Teitelbaum's motion, he submitted
excepts of depositions, evaluations of Dr. Paylan by various
doctors, orders of emergency suspension in 2011 and 2014,
correspondences regarding Dr. Paylan, and other notes, forms,
and declarations. (ECF Nos. 119-1-119-25.)
Paylan submitted her own motion for summary judgment. (ECF
No. 122.) In support of her motion for summary judgment, Dr.
Paylan submitted affidavits and declarations,  email
correspondences, excerpts of depositions, the Marchman Act
document, a copy of the police report from August 2, 2011,
and other reports, state-court documents, and drug test
results. Dr. Paylan also included some of the same evidence
that Dr. Teitelbaum used in support of his motion for summary
judgment. (ECF Nos. 124-1-124-38.)
evidence was included in support of each party's response
to the motions for summary judgment. These exhibits consist
of additional deposition excerpts, email correspondences
between the parties, documents regarding Dr. Paylan's
education, other letters, and pictures taken during
investigations of Dr. Paylan. (ECF Nos. 149, 158,
filings and evidence provided in support thereof encompass
events spanning from 2010 to present. Because the only
remaining claims against Dr. Teitelbaum involve Dr.
Paylan's visits to the Florida Recovery Center in July
and August of 2011, the relevant evidence is summarized as
Paylan is a cosmetic surgeon in Tampa, Florida. Dr. Paylan
was arrested on June 9, 2011, for trafficking in illegal
drugs, possession of a controlled substance, and possession
of a drug without a prescription.This arrest led to an
investigation by the Florida Department of Health
(“DOH”). As a result of this investigation, Dr.
Paylan was referred by a DOH investigator to the Professional
Resource Network (“PRN”). Bud Westmoreland of PRN
informed Dr. Paylan that she needed to withdraw from the
practice of medicine and submit to a substance abuse
evaluation with an approved provider or PRN would recommend
to DOH that DOH suspend her medical license. One of the
approved providers was Dr. Teitelbaum, the medical director
of the Florida Recovery Center. (Compl. at 5; ECF No. 119-1
at 6, 15; ECF No. 119-3 at 31; ECF No. 119-7 at 2; ECF No.
119-17; 119-19; ECF No. 124-1 at 1; ECF No. 124-3 at 4.)
1, 2011, Dr. Paylan was arrested again, this time in the
Atlanta airport. Although Dr. Paylan says this arrest was a
result of a suspicion that she was fleeing the country after
liquidating her assets, the arrest warrant actually resulted
from Demerol prescriptions that Dr. Paylan's
fiancé attempted to pick up. That same day PRN advised
Dr. Paylan that she needed to schedule her evaluation in
three days and that if she did not, PRN would refer Dr.
Paylan's case to DOH for appropriate disciplinary action.
(ECF No. 119-2 at 52-53; ECF No. 119-7 at 2; ECF No. 119-16.)
this evaluation, on July 13, 2011, Dr. Paylan first visited
Dr. Myers, a private physician and owner of HealthCare
Connection who appeared on the PRN-approved list of
providers. During this evaluation, Dr. Paylan provided a hair
sample. A few hours into the evaluation, however, Dr. Paylan
left and withdrew all medical releases. Dr. Myers informed
Dr. Paylan that she was not safe to practice medicine until
she completed an inpatient evaluation. (ECF No. 119-1; ECF
No. 119-4 at 28; ECF No. 119-7.)
Myers' report regarding Dr. Paylan includes findings from
his short evaluation and information he received from DOH
investigators. For example, Dr. Myers noted that a DOH
investigator said there was a video showing track marks on
Dr. Paylan's arms and Demerol bottles and needles strewn
around her house. Additionally, Dr. Myers stated that
Plaintiff's hair tested positive for metabolites of
Demerol at high levels. He concluded:
Dr. Paylan currently meets DSM-IV criteria for opioid abuse
and may meet criteria for dependence as well but her guarded
attitude during her evaluation today in conjunction with her
lack of willingness to allow contact with collateral sources
of information make it impossible to provide a definitive
assessment at this time.
recommended that Dr. Paylan undergo an inpatient evaluation.
(ECF No. 119-7.)
learning of Dr. Paylan's failure to complete her
evaluation, Dr. Paylan informed Mr. Westmoreland that she
would complete an inpatient evaluation at the Florida
Recovery Center. Dr. Paylan then failed to report to the
Florida Recovery Center as scheduled on multiple occasions,
leading PRN to threaten Dr. Paylan that they would seek an
emergency suspension of her medical license if she did not
immediately report for an evaluation. (ECF No. 119-1 at
on July 21, 2011, Dr. Paylan arrived at the Florida Recovery
Center at 2:00 a.m. Upon her arrival she was informed that
she would be admitted overnight to the inpatient
unit. Because Dr. Paylan believed she would be
permitted to stay in a hotel rather than be admitted, she
left the Florida Recovery Center. (Compl. at 5-6; ECF No.
119-2 at 148, 152-53; ECF No. 124-1 at 2.)
Judy Rivenbark, the Medical Director of PRN, sent a letter to
DOH on July 25, 2011, stating that Dr. Paylan “is a
serious and immediate danger to the citizens of the State of
Florida.” This letter resulted from Dr. Paylan's
arrest history, positive drug test, and her refusal to be
evaluated. PRN then closed its file on Dr. Paylan. (ECF No.
119-14 at 7; ECF No. 119-18; ECF No. 119-19.)
Paylan returned to the Florida Recovery Center on August 1,
2011. When Dr. Paylan was checking in to the facility, she
filled out forms for voluntary admission as well as to
release medical records, including the report from Dr.
Myers' evaluation in July. Additionally, a staff member
of the Florida Recovery Center searched her belongings and
took her cell phone, iPad, keys, and other personal items.
After Dr. Paylan was admitted, nurse Carole Johnson obtained
urine and hair samples, and Dr. Teitelbaum and Dr. Abraham
met with Dr. Paylan regarding her substance use history and
the circumstances surrounding her evaluation. (Compl. at 6;
ECF No. 119-2 at 274, 283; ECF No. 119-5 at 42-43; ECF No.
119-20; ECF No. 124-1 at 2-3; ECF No. 124-7 at 36; ECF No.
124-10 at 11-12.)
events of August 2, 2011, are a little more unclear based on
the evidence submitted. According to Dr. Paylan, she asked
Nancy Goodwin to speak with Dr. Teitelbaum at 7:30 a.m., but
Ms. Goodwin told her to wait until about 2:30 p.m. to speak
with him. Dr. Paylan was then directed into a group therapy
session, and upon seeing individuals introduce themselves as
drug addicts, Dr. Paylan returned to Ms. Goodwin asking for
her iPhone and iPad and stating that she would wait in the
reception area because she did not belong in group therapy.
When it became clear that Dr. Paylan's possessions were
not going to be returned to her, she called the Gainesville
Police. Once the Gainesville Police arrived, Dr. Teitelbaum
allegedly became enraged and instituted the Marchman Act in
retaliation. (Compl. at 6-7; ECF No. 124-1 at 3-4; ECF No.
to Dr. Teitelbaum, however, Dr. Paylan decided she wanted to
leave the Florida Recovery Center, so she barged into Dr.
Teitelbaum's office at 7:30 a.m., saying she was not a
drug addict and that she wanted to leave. Dr. Paylan was told
to wait until the afternoon, but she refused. She told Nancy
Goodwin that she revoked her authorization for the
evaluation, and Ms. Goodwin informed Dr. Teitelbaum.
According to Ms. Goodwin, during that morning Dr. Paylan was
angry, upset, and very loud. After Dr. Paylan called the
police, the police then met with Dr. Teitelbaum. (ECF No.
119-8 at 5; ECF No. 119-14 at 8; ECF No. 119-23; ECF No.
124-3 at 50; ECF No. 124-8 at 24-28.)
Teitelbaum then instituted a Marchman Act against Dr. Paylan,
which resulted in Dr. Paylan's transportation to a
psychiatric unit at Shands Hospital, where she was held for
between four and eight hours.According to Dr. Teitelbaum, he
instituted the Marchman Act because Dr. Paylan had a license
to practice medicine and posed an immediate threat to the
people in Florida. He based this determination on his
interactions with her, Dr. Myers' evaluation,
and a DOH report. Dr. Teitelbaum said he wanted to inform
DOH of his findings before letting Dr. Paylan leave so that
they could make a decision as to what to do about Dr.
Paylan's medical license. Further, Dr. Teitelbaum said
that he told Dr. Paylan that the purpose of the Marchman Act
was to complete the evaluation, but she refused to complete
any further evaluation and instead threatened to
sue.(Compl. at 7-10; ECF No. 119-2 at 274;
ECF No. 119-5 at 62, 100-02; ECF No. 119-14 at 7-8; ECF No.
124-6; ECF No. 124-7 at 55-56.)
Dr. Teitelbaum notified DOH regarding his interactions with
and evaluation of Dr. Paylan, he felt comfortable enough to
let Dr. Paylan leave. He specifically notified DOH because
DOH makes the decision regarding taking way or suspending a
physician's medical license. Although Dr. Paylan says no
diagnostic steps were taken during her Marchman Act aside
from asking whether she was suicidal, it is undisputed that
Dr. Teitelbaum then discharged Dr. Paylan after a period of
only hours. Dr. Teitelbaum also informed Dr. Paylan that it
was his recommendation that she not practice medicine until
fully evaluated. (ECF No. 119-5 at 62, 100-02; ECF No. 124-1
Teitelbaum's letter to DOH, he stated that based on the
information he received as part of Dr. Paylan's
evaluation, he “feel[s] comfortable with reasonable
medical certainty that she cannot practice medicine with
reasonable skill and safety at this time.” Dr.
Teitelbaum stated that he interacted with her on both days of
her evaluation. Dr. Teitelbaum also noted the positive hair
test for Demerol, Dr. Myers' evaluation, criminal charges
against her, the items seized from her home, and bruises on
her arms. (ECF No. 119-23.)
August 5, 2011, DOH issued an order to suspend Dr.
Paylan's medical license. In support of this order, DOH
cited investigations and findings of the Tampa Police
Department, including a list of items seized during the
execution of a search warrant (syringes, Demerol, etc.), the
DOH investigator's findings, Dr. Paylan's failure to
complete an evaluation, a positive drug test, and Dr.
Teitelbaum's report regarding her August 2011 evaluation
at the Florida Recover Center. (ECF No. 119-14.)
Paylan's last interaction with Dr. Teitelbaum was during
her October 2011 visit to the Florida Recovery Center, where
she was fully evaluated for a substance abuse disorder
following a court order requiring Dr. Paylan to be evaluated
at the Florida Recover Center. None of her remaining claims
relate to this October 2011 evaluation. (Compl. at 10-11; ECF
No. 119-2 at 48, 265, 269.)
SUMMARY JUDGEMENT STANDARD
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), the entry of
summary judgment is appropriate when the Court is satisfied
that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of
law.” In applying this standard, the Court must examine
the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with any affidavits and other
evidence in the record “in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party.” Samples on Behalf of Samples
v. Atlanta, 846 F.2d 1328, 1330 (11th Cir. 1988).
Supreme Court held in Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317 (1986), the moving party bears the initial burden of
establishing the nonexistence of a triable issue of fact. If
the movant is successful on this score, the burden of
production shifts to the non-moving party who must then come
forward with “sufficient evidence of every element that
he or she must prove.” Rollins v. Techsouth,
833 F.2d 1525, 1528 (11th Cir. 1987).
non-moving party may not simply rest on the pleadings, but
must use affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories,
or other admissible evidence to demonstrate that a material
fact issue remains to be tried. See Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986);
Castleberry v. Goldome Credit Corp., 408 F.3d 773,
785-86 (11th Cir. 2005).
In civil actions filed by inmates, federal courts must
distinguish between evidence of disputed facts and disputed
matters of professional judgment. In respect to the latter,
our inferences must accord deference to the views of prison
authorities. Unless a prisoner can point to sufficient
evidence regarding such issues of judgment to allow him to
prevail on the merits, he cannot prevail at the summary
Beard v. Banks, 548 U.S. 521, 530 (2006). Conclusory
allegations based on subjective beliefs are insufficient to
create a genuine issue of material fact. See, e.g.,
Waddell v. Valley Forge Dental Assocs., Inc., 276 F.3d
1275, 1279 (11th Cir. 2001).
Court must view the evidence and inferences drawn from the
underlying facts in the light most favorable to the
non-movant. Earley v. Champion Int'l Corp., 907
F.2d 1077, 1080 (11th Cir. 1990). But, “when opposing
parties tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly
contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could
believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the
facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary
judgment.” Morton v. Kirkwood, 707 F.3d 1276,
1284 (11th Cir. 2013) (internal quotations and citations
omitted); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986) (stating that to defeat summary
judgment “there must be evidence on which the jury
could reasonably find for the plaintiff”). “The
nonmovant need not be given the benefit of every inference
but only of every reasonable inference.” Brown v.
City of Clewiston, 848 F.2d 1534, 1540 n. 12 (11th
Cir.1988) (“The summary judgment standard requires that
we resolve all reasonable doubts in favor of the non-moving
party, but it does not require us to resolve all doubts in
such a manner.”).
Teitelbaum argues that he is entitled to summary judgment on
Dr. Paylan's remaining claims, which include the
following: (1) § 1983 claim for fabrication of evidence;
(2) § 1983 claim for an unlawful Marchman Act; (3)
§ 1983 claim for an unlawful search and seizure of Dr.
Paylan's belongings; (4) a state-law claim for false
imprisonment; and (5) a state-law claim for fraud. He
contends that he is entitled to summary judgment on the three
remaining § 1983 claims because he was not a state actor
under § 1983, because he did not violate any of Dr.
Paylan's rights, and because he is entitled to qualified
immunity. Dr. Teitelbaum also argues that he is entitled to
summary judgment on Dr. Paylan's two state-law claims
because Dr. Paylan has failed to prove the necessary elements
for false imprisonment and fraud. (ECF No. 120.)
Paylan argues that she is entitled to summary judgment
because there is no dispute that Dr. Teitelbaum wrote three
false reports, fabricated evidence, solicited Dr. Myers to
submit a false report, and used fabricated evidence and false
reports to support his decision to institute a Marchman Act
despite the fact that statutory criteria was not met. (ECF
reasons discussed below, the undersigned finds that Dr.
Teitelbaum's motion for summary judgment is due to be
granted and Dr. Paylan's motion for summary judgment is
due to be denied.
Dr. Teitelbaum acted under color of state law and, therefore,
may be liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 if he violated Dr.
Paylan's federal or constitutional rights.
Teitelbaum argues that while he was interacting with Dr.
Paylan, he was not acting pursuant to any power he possessed
by state authority and instead acted as an independent
examiner. Further, Dr. Teitelbaum argues that PRN referred
Dr. Paylan to Dr. Teitelbaum and that his involvement with
Dr. Paylan was “merely coincidental” to his state
employment. Accordingly, Dr. Teitelbaum argues that he was
not a state actor acting ...