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Gaylord v. Stouffer

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

June 12, 2013

CARROLL GAYLORD, # 353-279 Plaintiff
v.
MICHAEL J. STOUFFER, Commissioner, et al. Defendants

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, District Judge.

Pending is Carroll Gaylord's ("Gaylord") Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants Michael J. Stouffer and Bobby Shearin ("State Defendants") by their counsel, have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 30), and Defendants Corizon, Inc. (f/k/a Correctional Medical Services, Inc.) ("Corizon"), Monica Metheny, R.N., Timberlie Adams, R.N., William Breeman, R.N., Steven Bray, R.N., Breanna Brown, R.N., Autumn Durst, R.N., Delores Adams, R.N., Greg Flury, P.A. and Colin Ottey, M.D. ("Medical Defendants"), through counsel, have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 32). Gaylord has filed oppositions to both dispositive motions. (ECF Nos. 34 and 35).

After considering the record, exhibits, and applicable law, the court deems a hearing unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (Md. 2011). Defendants' Motions (ECF No. 30 and 32) will be treated as Motions for Summary Judgment and, for reasons to follow, will be granted by separate Order.

BACKGROUND

Gaylord, a self-represented litigant, is an inmate at North Branch Correctional Institution. He claims that he has been denied adequate medical care in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment. Specifically, he asserts that for over three years he has suffered chronic, unbearable pain in his head, causing him to blackout, convulse, and shake involuntarily. (ECF No. 1, p. 8). Gaylord faults medical providers for allegedly misdiagnosing the cause of his symptoms as high blood pressure. He states that when he was "finally" sent to Bon Secours Hospital for a CT scan[1] the test found a "drainage mucus retention-cyst on the left maxillary of the brain as the culprit for the pain." Id; see also Plaintiff's Ex. 2; ECF No. 32, Corizon, Exhibit 1, p. 95. (medical report finding a small mucus retention cyst in the "right maxillary sinus."). He claims that after he was diagnosed with the cyst, medical providers prescribed ineffective medication and failed to refer him to a specialist for his "brain condition." (ECF No. 1, p. 8). As relief, he requests declaratory relief, compensatory, and punitive damages. See id, pp. 8-10).[2]

FACTS

Verified medical records filed by Defendants in support of their dispositive motions provide the following information. Gaylord has presented complaints of dizziness since at least 2009. (ECF No 30, Exhibit 1). Initially, healthcare providers treated his symptoms of dizziness with medications such as Dramamine and Antivert. (ECF No. 30, Exhibit 1, at pp. 3, 9, 15; ECF No. 32, Exhibit 1, pp. 196-201, 208, 212, 228-231, 235-239).[3]In August of 2010, Gaylord was told that his high blood pressure could be the cause of his dizziness. He began treatment for hypertension, the symptoms of which include headaches and dizziness. (ECF No. 30, Exhibit 1 p. 20; ECF No. 32, Exhibit 1, pp. 244, 247, 251-252).

Gaylord intermittently complained of headaches in November of 2002, August of 2009 and April of 2010. (ECF No. 30, Exhibit 1, pp. 35, 42-67; ECF No. 25 Exhibit 1. pp. 1-2). In October of 2011, a CT scan was ordered for Gaylord. See id., p. 47. The CT scan found a small fluid retention cyst in the right maxillary sinus. (ECF No 30, Exhibit 2, p. 15). The test findings were otherwise unremarkable. See id. Notably, the medical record states the cyst is not located in the brain, as Gaylord asserts, but in his sinus. See id. [4] Gaylord receives Naproxen and Excedrin for pain relief, and was assigned to a bottom bunk to minimize the risk of falling when dizzy. See id. p. 67 and 68.

On November 29, 2011, Colin Ottey, M.D. met with Gaylord to discuss the CT scan results. Dr. Ottey wrote:

The patient [Gaylord] presented for followup of CT scan results. The scan revealed a probable mucous retention cyst in the roof of [Gaylord's] right maxillary sinus. He has facial pain/pressure. Will discuss with ENT. The results were reviewed with the patient.[5]

Id. at 48.[6]

1. Administrative Remedies

On December 23, 2011, Gaylord completed a Request for Administrative Remedy (ARP) in which he complained of experiencing chronic pain in his brain due to a cyst, and that NBCI failed to provide the proper facilities, items and equipment for treatment. (ECF No. 30, Exhibit 2, p. 3). The ARP was dismissed on January 4, 2012, after review of Gaylord's medical records showed: he had a small cyst on the roof of his right maxillary sinus; his health providers had ordered an EKG, medication and referred him to optometry during his December 13, 2011, medical visit; he was being monitored and treated for his symptoms; and was scheduled for follow-up visits on January 3, 2012, and one month thereafter. See id. at pp. 3, 7.

Gaylord appealed the dismissal of his ARP to the Commissioner of Correction in an appeal dated January 24, 2012. See id. p.17. On January 25, 2012, Gaylord filed a grievance with the Inmate Grievance Office (IGO). (ECF No. 30, Exhibit 3, Declaration of Scott Oakley, Executive Director of the IGO, at ¶3). The Commissioner of Correction dismissed the appeal on February 8, 2012, pending a resubmission with additional information. (ECF No. 30, Exhibit 2, p. 17). The IGO administratively dismissed Gaylord's grievance on March 16, 2012, because it ...


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