United States District Court, D. Maryland
JUAN SYLVESTER BARNES Plaintiff.
DR. OTTEY, et al. Defendants.
DeBORAH K. CHASANOW, District Judge.
Defendants Dr. Collin Ottey, Dr. Ava Joubert, Peggy Mahler, Beverly McLaughlin, and Wexford Health Sources, Inc.,  filed a Motion to Dismiss the above-captioned complaint as amended. ECF No. 9. Following Defendants' motion and this court's denial of his request to engage in discovery, Plaintiff filed a pleading which was docketed as a second amended complaint (ECF No. 19) which Defendants move to strike (ECF No. 20). Because Plaintiff's pleading is more appropriately construed as an Opposition Response, Defendants Motion to Strike shall be denied and it will be considered in the context of the Motion to Dismiss. The court finds a hearing in this matter unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For the reasons stated below, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss shall be granted and the complaint will be dismissed.
Plaintiff Juan Barnes ("Barnes"), a prisoner confined to North Branch Correctional Institution ("NBCI"), alleges he is being denied proper medical treatment for chronic pain in his hip and leg. ECF Nos. 1 and 3. Barnes broke his right femur which was repaired surgically with a metal rod in 2008. ECF No. 3 at p. 3. He claims the surgery to repair the fracture was complicated and he was told he was lucky it did not have to be amputated. Id. Following the surgery, Barnes was prescribed Percocet for pain management and he claims that his doctors told him the pain would worsen over time. Id.
Barnes states he was first seen on February 2, 2013, by Dr. Joubert, who ordered x-rays but denied a prescription for pain medication. Barnes alleges that Joubert never informed him of the x-ray results even though she was informed on April 9, 2013, that Barnes has "degenerative changes and reduced joint space in his hip." ECF No. 3 at p. 4. Barnes characterizes this as a serious bone disease that will eventually require hip replacement surgery and is consistent with his complaints of pain. Id. Barnes claims the x-ray results were deliberately withheld from him so he would not make a request to be seen by an orthopedic surgeon. ECF No. 1 at p. 3.
Barnes states that in May of 2014, he was provided a prescription for Ultram 50 mg. He claims the prescription was taken from him by Peggy Mahler on August 9, 2014, after a two week period. Beverly McLaughlin, then erroneously told Barnes that the prescription was not being provided due to the pharmacy's policy. Barnes claims this information was false. He further alleges that McLaughlin prescribed "muscle pills" which were ineffective in treating his pain because his pain is "bone pain" not "muscle pain." ECF No. 3 at p. 5.
Barnes claims he is a chronic care patient with pain levels that significantly affect his ability to engage in daily activities, making his assignment to a top bunk and an upper level tier inappropriate because it requires him to climb stairs. ECF No. 3 at p. 6. Barnes asserts that since being in prison he has been provided with "headache medications" to treat his hip pain as well as muscle relaxers, meloxicam, Motrin, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen. ECF No. 1 at p.
3. In addition, Barnes admits receiving Baclofen and Elavil, which he states are "psychiatric disorder medications they claim works for pain, " but does not relieve his pain. Id. at p. 4. Barnes claims it is deliberate indifference to a serious medical need to refuse to treat chronic pain and to limiting treatment to methods so ineffective they amount to no treatment. Id.
As relief, Barnes seeks an Order from this court requiring Defendants to "stop giving inadequate medication" and to send him to a hospital so it can be determined if the metal rod should be removed from his leg. ECF 1 at p. 4. Barnes also seeks monetary damages in the event this matter proceeds to trial or Defendants do not comply with an Order granting injunctive relief. Id.
Standard of Review
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 Supreme Court recently articulated the proper framework for analysis:
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, " in order to "give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests, " Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957). While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, ibid.; Sanjuan v. American Bd. of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc., 40 F.3d 247, 251 (7th Cir. 1994), a plaintiff's obligation to provide the "grounds" of his "entitle[ment] to relief" requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do, see Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986) (on a motion to dismiss, courts "are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation"). Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, see 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216, pp. 235-236 (3d ed. 2004) (hereinafter Wright & Miller) ("[T]he pleading must contain something more... than... a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action"), on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact), see, e.g., Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., ...