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Lowery v. Baltmore County Detention Center Medical Department

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

October 23, 2013



FREDERICK MOTZ, District Judge.

Pending is Baltimore County Detention Center Medical Department, James O'Niell, Taiye Oni, and Vivien Thomas's motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, for summary judgment. ECF No. 11. Plaintiff has responded.[1] ECF No. 15. An oral hearing in this matter is unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the reasons that follow, the motion to dismiss, construed as a motion for summary judgment, will be GRANTED.


Jermaine Lowery, a self-represented plaintiff, initiated these proceedings alleging that on January 16, 2013, while housed at the Baltimore County Detention Center ("BCDC"), he was provided medication by Nurse "Oni Taiya" which caused an allergic reaction so severe that he was rushed to the emergency room for treatment. He states that on January 19, 2013, "Med Tech Robinson tried to medicate me with the same med." Plaintiff states that thereafter he has suffered dizziness, headaches, and elevated blood pressure, and been prescribed Prozac. ECF Nos. 1 & 3. Plaintiff states that BCDC Director James O'Neill refused to respond to his complaints regarding his medical care. ECF No. 3.

The material facts are not disputed. On January 16, 2013, at 4:54 a.m., plaintiff was received at BCDC. ECF No. 11, Ex., 1, p. 1. His medical intake began at 5:47 a.m. Id., p. 13. Plaintiff reported he was allergic to Penicillin. Although he reported no history of high blood pressure, his blood pressure reading was 180/110. As a result of the high reading, an order was issued placing plaintiff on 20 mg Lisinopril each morning for 90 days. Id., p. 19.

Plaintiff received a dose of Lisinopril on the morning of January 17, 2013. Id., p. 62. At 12:01 p.m. the same day, he reported to sick call complaining of swelling to his lips. He was seen by Physician's Assistant Venessa Thomas who ordered the Lisinopril discontinued and administered Benadryl and Zantac. Id., p. 8 and 20. Plaintiff returned to medical around 3:00 p.m. complaining that his lips continued to swell. He was given a dose of Prednisone and was told that the swelling could worsen before it improved. Id., p. 8, 21.

At approximately 5:00 a.m. on January 18, 2013, plaintiff returned to the medical unit and was seen by Oni who administered a larger dose of prednisone and another dose of Benadryl to combat the continued swelling. She also directed that plaintiff be moved to the medical unit for observation pending transport to the emergency room. Id., p. 8, 23, 30. Plaintiff remained under observation in the medical unit until 11:00 a.m. when he was transported to the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. There, he was diagnosed as suffering from "lip swelling-probable angio edema.

Plaintiff returned to the Detention Center at approximately 4:00 p.m. and was seen by Physician's Assistant Victoria Titus. Plaintiff remained in the medical observation unit and orders were issue to implement the hospital's directions for care, which included continuing him on prednisone for 10 days. Id., p. 9, 40 and 41.

Plaintiff submitted a sick call slip complaining of headaches and "feeling weird and jittery and weak." He claimed his symptoms were related to the allergic reaction. He was scheduled for chronic care clinic on January 22, 2013. Id., p. 9, 42, 43-44. Plaintiff was seen for a mental health evaluation on January 23, 2013 and referred for a psychiatric consultation which occurred on January 24, 2013. Id., p. 43-51.

Plaintiff submitted a sick call slip on January 27, 2013, requesting medication to manage his lower back pain. He was evaluated on January 28, 2013, and it was noted that the lower lip swelling was resolved. Id., p. 9, 52.

Standard of Review

A. Motion to Dismiss

The purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) (6) is to test the sufficiency of the plaintiff's complaint. See Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999). The dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted does not require defendant to establish "beyond doubt" that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 561-62 (2007). Once a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint. Id. at 562. The court need not, however, accept unsupported legal allegations, see Revene v. Charles County Comm'rs, 882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989), legal conclusions couched as factual allegations, see Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986), or conclusory factual allegations devoid of any reference to actual events, see United Black Firefighters v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979).

In reviewing the complaint in light of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6) the court accepts all well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true and construes the facts and reasonable inferences derived therefrom in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Venkatraman v. REI Sys., Inc., 417 F.3d 418, 420 (4th Cir. 2005); Ibarra v. United States, 120 F.3d 472, 473 (4th Cir. 1997); Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993). Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires only a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Migdal v. Rowe Price-Fleming Int'l Inc., 248 F.3d 321, 325-26 ...

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