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Smith v. Richardson

United States District Court, D. Maryland

February 11, 2015

ANTOINNE LEWIS SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
DIRECTOR DEBORAH J. RICHARDSON DEPUTY DIRECTOR THOMAS FITZGERALD, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

PAUL W. GRIMM, District Judge.

I. Background

On April 3, 2014, plaintiff Antoinne Lewis Smith, a former prisoner, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaint for damages against the Baltimore County Detention Center ("BCDC")[1] and its Director and Deputy Director Deborah Richardson and Thomas Fitzgerald. He alleges that he continues to suffer from unspecified pain and has been denied "the right medical treatment." Smith claims that he "made these defendants well aware of damages done by their medical staff' and defendants have "engaged in a cover up to protect" BCDC medical employees. ECF NO.1.

Defendants Richardson and Fitzgerald have filed a motion for summary judgment, which remains unopposed[2] ECF No. 15. The motion for summary judgment may be determined on the pleadings and shall be granted without oral hearing. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014).

II. Standard of Review

Summary judgment is proper when the moving party demonstrates, through "particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations..., admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials, " that "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), (c)(1) (A); see Baldwin v. City of Greensboro, 714 F.3d 828, 833 (4th Cir. 2013). If the party seeking summary judgment demonstrates that there is no evidence to support the nonmoving party's case, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to identify evidence that shows that a genuine dispute exists as to material facts. See Celotex v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986). When the nonmoving party does not oppose a summary judgment motion, "those facts established by the motion" are "uncontroverted." Custer v. Pan Am. Life Ins. Co., 12 F.3d 410, 416 (4th Cir. 1993). Nonetheless, the moving party still must demonstrate that, based on those facts, that party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, because "[t]he failure to respond to the motion does not automatically accomplish this." Id.

III. Discussion

Facts

This Court reviews the facts and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, see Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007); Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), and liberally construes Smith's pleadings in light of the fact that he is self-represented, see Gordon v. Leek, 574 Fold 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). In his unverified complaint, Smith claims that he was denied medical treatment, he wrote defendants to make them aware of his concerns, and they acted to cover up and protect health care personnel.

Legal Analysis

In their motion for summary judgment, defendants Richardson and Fitzgerald assert that Smith was admitted to the BCDC on December 16, 2013, at which time he reported a history of mental illness, chronic back pain and deep vein thrombosis ("DVT").[3] His medical file was extensive. Anzalone Aff., Defs.' Mem. Ex. 1, ECF No. 15-2. Smith raised several internal complaints regarding his medical care and each grievance was investigated and found to be without merit. The investigation, conducted by the BCDC Medical Liaison James Anazalone, determined that Smith was receiving his numerous medications and would receive follow-up care in light of a consultation report from the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Unit. Further, it was found that Smith had received a Doppler study[4] of his leg to rule out a DVT, and x-rays were conducted of his shoulder and hand in light of his complaints of shoulder and hand pain. No abnormalities or damage was noted. !d. Smith was seen and evaluated by Dr. Jaffe at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Unit in February of 2014, for his subjective complaints of chronic pain. Physical therapy and lumbar traction therapy were recommended. In April of 2014, Smith began to receive these therapies twice a week and they continued until his release from BCDC on May 2, 2014. Id.

Defendants otherwise affirm that at no time during Smith's detention did they interfere with his medical treatment or the administration of his medication. Richardson & Fitzgerald Affs., Defs.' Mem. Exs. 2 & 3, ECF Nos. 15-3 & 15-4. They state that ConMed Healthcare Management and Baltimore County, Maryland entered into a contractual agreement in which ConMed would provide medical services for prisoners housed at the BCDC. Defs.' Mem. 6, ECF No. 15-1.

Insofar as the Complaint names BCDC Director Richardson and Deputy Director Fitzgerald, there is no showing that they were personally involved in Smith's medical care for the four and one-half month period he was confined at BCDC.[5] Smith has provided no evidence demonstrating their supervisory liability. See Shaw v. Shroud, 13 F.3d 791, 799 (4th Cir. 1994)("We have set forth three elements necessary to establish supervisory liability under § 1983: (1) that the supervisor had actual or constructive knowledge that his subordinate was engaged in conduct that posed a pervasive and unreasonable risk' of constitutional injury to citizens like the plaintiff; (2) that the supervisor's response to that knowledge was so inadequate as to show deliberate indifference to or tacit authorization of the alleged offensive practices, '; and (3) that there was an affirmative causal link' between the supervisor's inaction and the particular constitutional injury suffered by the plaintiff."). Moreover, the unopposed record shows that Smith's complaints of pain were not ignored by healthcare staff. He was provided prescribed medications and evaluations and received short-term physical therapy sessions at the University of Maryland Hospital Center. Inmates do not have a constitutional right to the treatment of their choice, Dean v. Coughlin, 804 F.2d 207, 215 (2d Cir. 1986), and disagreements between medical staff and an inmate over the need for or extent of medical treatment do not rise to a constitutional injury. See Wright v. Collins, 766 F.2d 841, 849 (4th Cir. 1985); see also Fleming v. LeFevere, 423 F.Supp.2d 1064, 1070-71 (C.D. Cal. 2006).

IV. CONCLUSION

Defendants' motion for summary judgment shall be granted. A separate Order shall be entered reflecting the rulings entered in this decision.


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