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Hoffman v. Maryland Department of Public Safety &Amp; Correctional Services

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

May 1, 2013

MICHAEL HOFFMAN, #303-582 Plaintiff


GEORGE L. RUSSELL, III, District Judge.

Plaintiff Michael Hoffman ("Hoffman") filed the above-captioned Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants Ava Joubert and Colin Ottey ("Medical Defendants") by their attorneys filed a Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 13. Defendants Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services ("DPSCS") and Maryland Division of Correction ("State Defendants") by their attorneys have also filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 20. Plaintiff has responded.[1] ECF Nos. 17, 23 & 25. Medical Defendants have replied. ECF No. 19. After review of the papers and applicable law, the Court determines that a hearing is unwarranted. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the reasons that follow, the dispositive motions will be GRANTED.


Hoffman, an inmate currently confined at North Branch Correctional Institution ("NBCI"), filed the instant Complaint alleging that he has been denied adequate medical care for a back injury. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff claims that for over ten years he has suffered from lower back pain. He states that on January 15, 2012, he was advised by Rhonda Skidmoore, former Nursing Director at NBCI, that x-rays showed "bone spurs" between four of Plaintiff's vertebrae which were the cause of his pain. Plaintiff states nothing has been done, despite his repeated requests, to treat the bone spurs.

Plaintiff's uncontroverted medical records show that on January 12, 2012, Dr. Ottey prescribed Tylenol 500 mg § 30, effective January 20, 2012 to January 31, 2012. Baclofen was also ordered as needed from January 4, 2012 to May 4, 2012. ECF No. 13, Ex. A, Ex. B pp. 235, 237, 241. Plaintiff was also seen for complaints of back pain on February 25, 2012. ECF No. 20, Ex. 1, pp. 2-7.

On March 16, 2012, Dr. Joubert discontinued Baclofen after Plaintiff reported that it was ineffective in treating his back pain. Tramadol was prescribed to treat Plaintiff's back pain. ECF No. 13, Ex. A, Ex. B, pp. 288-91. Plaintiff was again evaluated on March 21, 2012. Notes indicate that Plaintiff was to receive Baclofen and Indomethacin for pain. ECF No. 20, Ex. 1, p. 8. He was seen again on April 4, 2012, and it was noted that the pharmacy was to be consulted regarding Plaintiff's complaints of back pain. Id., p. 10.

On April 10, 2012, Plaintiff was seen by a Physician's Assistant. Plaintiff requested his prescription for Tramadol be increased. He indicated the medication was working but he wanted it doubled. He was in no apparent distress. The Physician's Assistant reviewed Plaintiff's medication, ordered they be continued, and also requested a pharmacological consultation regarding Plaintiff's medication. ECF No. 13, Ex. A, Ex. B, p. 241. The pharmacological consultation determined Plaintiff was receiving the maximum dose of Tramadol. Id . The following day Dr. Ottey renewed and continued Plaintiff's medication. Id., pp. 345-350, 353. Plaintiff was again examined by Dr. Ottey on April 12, 2012. As a result of the examination Ottey increased Plaintiff's dosage of Elavil and the dosage of Meloxicam could be increased in two weeks if the increased Elavil dosage did not help. Id., & ECF No. 20, Ex. 1, p. 13. He also ordered Plaintiff not to lift weighty or heavy objects and directed he follow up in one month. Id., ECF No. 13, Ex. A, Ex. B, pp. 268-70.

Plaintiff was again seen by Dr. Ottey on May 13, 2012. He appeared in no apparent distress. Dr. Ottey ordered Plaintiff's medication continued. He also ordered Plaintiff retuned to a regular diet, as tolerated, after noting that Plaintiff has suffered from bouts of diarrhea and vomiting. Id., pp. 400-401.

On May 25, 2012, Plaintiff reported to Dr. Ottey, that he was "okay right now. I only have my normal pain in the groin and across my back. It's a 6/10 and is quite tolerable for me." Id., p. 451.

Plaintiff was evaluated by Dr. Joubert on May 28, 2012, regarding his complaint of low back pain. She ordered he continue Meloxicam and Baclofen. Id., pp. 467-8.

On June 8, 2012, Plaintiff again complained of low back pain. Dr. Ottey continued his medications, including Baclofen and Meloxicam. Id., pp. 479-480. Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Joubert on June 12, 2012. Id., p. 481. It was noted that Plaintiff's previous x-rays revealed "mild degenerative changes with osteophytes at nearly all levels." Id . At that time Plaintiff was provided a back brace, back pain sheet and exercise program, and it was noted that Plaintiff agreed with continuing to receive Meloxicam. Id.

On July 7 and 15, 2012, Plaintiff was evaluated by Dr. Ottey. Medications, including Baclofen and Meloxicam were continued. Plaintiff was directed not to lift heavy weights. Plaintiff indicated his current back pain was from jumping from a hospital bed. Id., pp. 488-491, 498.

Plaintiff states that he did not receive Meloxicam, a non-formulary narcotic, from July 2012 through October 2012. He states that while his physicians prescribed the medication, they failed to follow the proper procedures to insure the medication was ordered and distributed to him. ECF No. 17. Plaintiff further indicates that his prescription for Tramadol was discontinued from March 28, 2012 to May 24, 2012, due to Dr. Joubert's unfounded belief that he was hoarding medication. Id.

Plaintiff was again evaluated on October 13, 2012. It was noted that Meloxicam would be ordered after Plaintiff advised the provider that had not received Meloxicam that was previously ordered. Plaintiff's Baclofen ...

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