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Mitchell v. Ottey

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 4, 2015

COLIN OTTEY, et al., Defendants.


WILLIAM D. QUARLES, Jr., District Judge.

Pending is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF 7), Plaintiff's Response in Opposition (ECF 10), and Defendants' Reply (ECF 11). No hearing is necessary to resolve the matters asserted in the Motion to Dismiss. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For the reasons that follow, Defendants' motion shall be denied.

Allegations in the Complaint

In his self-represented Complaint Plaintiff, a prisoner confined at North Branch Correctional Institution (NBCI), alleges he was denied adequate medical care over a period of three months, causing him to suffer unnecessary pain. ECF 1 at pp. 4-6. He states that on May 22, 2014, he experienced a sharp pain in his left arm. The following morning he put in a sick call slip so he could be seen for symptoms of pain and swelling in the left arm as well as numbness to the left side of his body. Id. at p. 4. On May 24, 2014, Plaintiff complained to Correctional Officer Markel about his condition and Markel spoke to "Nurse Chrissy" about Plaintiff's condition. Id. The nurse saw Plaintiff but simply checked his blood pressure and put him on a list to be seen by a medical provider. Id.

Plaintiff continued to complain to Markel from May 25 to May 27, 2014, because the pain of his condition was making his ability to walk to "chow" prohibitive. On May 27, 2014, he was seen again by Chrissy and she again checked his blood pressure and told him he was on a list to be seen by a doctor. Two days later he was seen by a nurse practitioner, Defendant Janette Clark, who also checked his blood pressure and gave Plaintiff a "basic examination." Id. When Clark attempted to raise Plaintiff's left arm he claims he screamed in pain. Clark told Plaintiff he had scoliosis of the lumbar spine with a pinched nerve and prescribed "steroid shots for five days." Id.

Plaintiff received "steroid pills" instead of the shots discussed with Clark on June 4, 2014. He states at this time the pain in his back and arm were still making his ability to walk difficult and painful, impacting on his ability to receive meals. On June 6, 2014, Plaintiff spoke with Officer Waters about his condition who then talked to Sergeant Brewer about getting a doctor appointment for Plaintiff. Brewer also told Plaintiff he would ask medical staff to put Plaintiff on "feed-in" status due to the pain he was experiencing with walking. On June 9, 2014, Plaintiff was advised by Markel to file an administrative remedy regarding the failure to provide proper medical treatment. ECF 1 at p. 4.

On June 9 and 11, 2014, Plaintiff put in sick call slips to be seen for his complaints of pain with walking. He further states he attempted to walk to the kitchen on June 11, 2014, but was told by Officer Moheny to return to his cell as it was taking him too long to walk. Moheny said he would get a bag lunch for Plaintiff. At this time Plaintiff spoke with Lt. McAlpine about his medical condition and McAlpine called the medical office to find out what was going on. Two hours later Plaintiff was taken by wheelchair to the "main Medical Department" where he was seen by Clark and another "unknown medical personnel." ECF 1 at p. 5.

Clark asked Plaintiff if the steroids had helped and Plaintiff informed her they had not. At this time Clark asked Plaintiff a series of questions and when she attempted to move Plaintiff's right arm he screamed in pain. McAlpine asked Clark if Plaintiff could be placed on "feed-in" status at least until the x-ray results came back. Plaintiff states that Clark agreed to put him on that status, but after he was returned to his cell he was informed by Markel that "medical took me off the feed-in status." ECF 1 at p. 5. Plaintiff was later informed by Sergeant Carr that medical staff had determined feed-in status would not be provided to him as they thought it was better for him to walk to the kitchen to eat. Id.

On June 12, 2014, Plaintiff filed an administrative remedy procedure complaint ("ARP") to the warden about the failure to address his medical condition. Plaintiff was also taken to Western Correctional Institution ("WCI") hospital for x-rays of his arm and the "top" of his spine. Id. That evening Plaintiff declined the opportunity to go to dinner and told the tier officer he was not able to walk without pain. The officer remarked that other officers on a prior shift reported Plaintiff had walked "pretty good" at lunchtime, thus Plaintiff did not receive an evening meal. Id.

On June 13, 2014, Plaintiff again complained it was too painful to walk to lunch and asked if he could get a bag lunch. Officer Miller told Plaintiff he could not get a bag lunch because medical staff wanted Plaintiff to walk to eat his meals. The following day Plaintiff saw Nurse Chrissy and asked questions about his medical condition, but she provided no answers and simply told Plaintiff he needed to walk. Id.

On June 15 through June 18, 2014, Plaintiff was asked by correctional staff if he was going to walk over to eat lunch and dinner, but he declined because of the pain involved in walking. Plaintiff alleges he was not able to eat on a consistent bases for over a month at that time. Id.

On June 19, 2014, Plaintiff was seen by Clark, who took his blood pressure and explained that the x-rays did not show anything wrong. Clark also told Plaintiff he had a mild case of scoliosis and that she would order blood work to be done. Lastly, Clark stated that she would "have Doctor Ottey look at [Plaintiff] for a second opinion." ECF 1 at p. 6.

On June 24, 2014, Plaintiff saw Nurse Martin in response to the ARP he had filed. Martin told Plaintiff she could not give him feed-in status and "to keep doing the exercises." Id. Plaintiff states he told Martin he could not do any exercises. Martin then told Plaintiff the reason he is numb is that he "laid on it too long and it went numb." Id. The following day Plaintiff signed paperwork authorizing the blood work ordered.

On August 12, 2014, Plaintiff was informed that his lab reports were not available to medical staff in either paper or electronic form. On August 14, 2014, Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Ava Joubert who informed him that the blood work "was good" and that his symptoms of numbness are not caused by scoliosis; rather, Dr. Joubert told Plaintiff she thought he had a stroke. Id. Plaintiff concludes that he has repeatedly asked for medical attention because the pain with walking prevents ...

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