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Ravenell v. Corizon, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

January 6, 2015

CORIZON, INC., et al. Defendants.



Self-represented plaintiff Edward Ravenell, a Maryland prisoner incarcerated at Eastern Correctional Institution ("ECI"), has filed suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. ECF 1. Ravenell named as defendants Nurse John Doe; Lynn Cole, Sgt. Garnett; Wexford Health Sources, Inc.[1]; and Corizon Medical Services f/k/a Correctional Medical Services ("Corizon").[2]

Defendants Cole and Corizon have filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment, ECF 35, along with a memorandum (ECF 35-1) (collectively, the "Motion"). The Motion is supported by Cole's Affidavit. ECF 35-2. Plaintiff opposes the motion, ECF 39, and has also filed an Affidavit. ECF 39-1.

No hearing is necessary to resolve this matter. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For the reasons that follow, defendants' Motion, construed as one for summary judgment, shall be granted.

Factual Background

At the relevant time, Ravenell was a Maryland State prisoner in the custody of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services ("DPSCS"). ECF 35 at 3. On July 23, 2010, he underwent surgery for an anal fistula, performed at the University of Maryland Hospital by Dr. Steven Kavic. ECF 1; ECF 39-1. At that time, Corizon was the contractual medical provider for DPSCS. ECF 35 at 1; ECF 39 at 3. From 2007 to 2012, Cole served as the Regional Director of the Maryland Eastern Division of Corizon. ECF 35 at 2; ECF 35-2 ¶ 1. Her "areas of responsibility" were ECI, ECI Annex, and Poplar Hill Pre-Release. ECF 35-2 ¶ 1.

Plaintiff claims that, following surgery, defendants were ordered to follow the instructions of the surgeon, Dr. Kavic. ECF 1; ECF 39-1 ¶ 6. After surgery, Ravenell was transferred to the Maryland Transition Center ("MTC"), where he advised Nurse William Amponsah that he was in pain. ECF 1. The nurse told Ravenell that analgesic pain medication had been prescribed by the surgeon and he would receive it that night. Ravenell was further advised that medical staff at Jessup Correctional Institution ("JCI") were fully advised of his condition and medical orders and would provide the prescribed medical treatment. ECF 1 at 2.

Ravenell was returned to JCI that evening. As he was being taken to his cell, he asked Tier Officer CO Bashire when pill call would occur and asked that he be assigned to another cell, because he was not able to get onto the top bunk. Id. at 2. Ravenell indicates that the cell he was initially to be placed in was so filthy that Bashire took him to another cell, which "wasn't much better." Id. Plaintiff claims he subsequently requested cleaning materials and his medication from Bashire, who advised that he could not clean his cell but indicated he would convey the request for pain medication to the nurse. Id. at 3. Thereafter, Sgt. Garnett came to Ravenell's cell, and Ravenell again requested pain medication. Id.

Garnett inquired as to the nature of Ravenell's surgery. When Ravenell responded, Garnett made an inappropriate "joke." Id. Ravenell contends that he remained in severe pain and explained his circumstance to a nurse who came at 12:00 a.m. Id. From that point, Ravenell was not seen again by medical staff until approximately 4:15 a.m., when he again advised he was in extreme pain, without his prescribed medication, and complained that his dressing had not been changed. Ravenell states that an unidentified nurse responded: "We don't give out medicine that other jails prescribe." Id. She also said, id.: "We don't care what doctor ordered it or why[.]" Id. Ravenell claims that the nurse told him the only way for him to get pain medication and a dressing change was to see the physician's assistant, which could take a week, if he was "lucky." Id. Ravenell states he suffered in "excruciating pain and covered in the same blood soaked dressing" for three days, id. at 4, and "was forced to use toilet paper for dressing...." Id.

In the suit, Ravenell identified Cole as the "medical administrator at E.C.I." ECF 1 at 2. He alleged that Cole is "generally responsible for ensuring provisions of medical care to prisoners, " including "scheduling medical appointments outside the prison when a prisoner need[s] specialized treatment." ECF 1 at 2.

In her Affidavit, Cole avers that her "position" with Corizon "was purely administrative...." ECF 35-2 ¶ 1. Moreover, she maintains that she never had responsibility for either JCI or MTC. Id. ¶ 2. Further, Cole asserts that, as Regional Director, she "did not at any time assess or treat patients, make or participate in treatment decisions, now was [she] involved in prescribing or administering medications." Id. ¶ 3. Nor did she make any policy by which medical providers "systemically deny" treatment to inmates. Id. ¶ 5. Ravenell has not offered any material to contradict Cole's assertions.

Standard of Review

Defendants' Motion is styled as a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) or, in the alternative, for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. ECF 35. A motion styled in this manner implicates the court's discretion under Rule 12(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Kensington Vol. Fire Dept., Inc. v. Montgomery County, 788 F.Supp.2d 431, 436-37 (D. Md. 2011). Ordinarily, a court "is not to consider matters outside the pleadings or resolve factual disputes when ruling on a motion to dismiss." Bosiger v. U.S. Airways, 510 F.3d 442, 450 (4th Cir. 2007). However, under Rule 12(b)(6), a court, in its discretion, may consider matters outside of the pleadings, pursuant to Rule 12(d). If the court does so, "the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56, " and "[a]ll parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to present all the material that is pertinent to the motion." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). When the movant expressly captions its motion "in the alternative" as one for summary judgment, and submits matters outside the pleadings for the court's consideration, the parties are deemed to be on notice that conversion under Rule 12(d) may occur; the court "does not have an obligation to notify parties of the obvious." Laughlin v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth., 149 F.3d 253, 261 (4th Cir. 1998).[3]

A district judge has "complete discretion to determine whether or not to accept the submission of any material beyond the pleadings that is offered in conjunction with a Rule 12(b)(6) motion and rely on it, thereby converting the motion, or to reject it or simply not consider it." 5C WRIGHT & MILLER, FEDERAL PRACTICE & PROCEDURE § 1366, at 159 (3d ed. 2004, 2011 Supp.). This discretion "should be exercised with great caution and attention to the parties' procedural rights." Id. at 149. In general, courts are guided by whether consideration of extraneous material "is likely to ...

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