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Cooper v. Brinegar

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 31, 2016

ROBERT COOPER, # 209556 Plaintiff,
v.
BRAD BRINEGAR, C or F DAVIS, B. PAYTON, CPL LOGSDON, CPL WILBURN, CPL BARB, CPL HENDRICKS, CHIEF MICHAEL P. THOMAS, CPL. S.A. WILSON, CPL. R. CONNER, CPL. J. FONTAIN, CPL. HETZ, CPL. M. DAVIS, OFFICER HENDRICKS, [1]S. DILLEY, [2]RONALD SHANE WEBER, FRANK BISHOP Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          J. Frederick Motz United States District Judge.

         In response to Robert Cooper’s (“Cooper”) complaint as supplemented (ECF 1, 6, 33), Defendants, former Warden Frank B. Bishop, Jr. Chief of Security Michael P. Thomas, Sgt. Brett E. Payton, C.O. II Brad M. Brinegar, C.O. II Clinton T. Davis, C.O. II William L. Logsdon, C.O. II Brett A. Wilburn, C.O. II Charles L. Barb, II, C.O. II David L. Hedrick, C.O. II Steven A. Wilson, C.O. II Jeremiah L. Fontaine, C.O. II Nicholas A. Hetz, C.O. II Matthew J. Davis, C.O. II Ronald L. Connor, and Mental Health Professional Counselor (MHPC) Supervisor Ronald S. Weber, by their counsel, have filed a motion to renew motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 39. Cooper has filed an opposition. ECF No. 42.

         A hearing is unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For reasons to follow, defendants’ motion to renew motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 39) will be GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         Cooper is an inmate at Western Correctional Institution (“WCI”). He filed this complaint on December 6, 2013, alleging, among other things, that he was subjected to excessive use of force by WCI correctional officers on October 22, 2013. ECF 1. The complaint subsequently was supplemented. ECF No. 6, 33; ECF No. 39-1 n. 1.

         On September 8, 2014, defendants filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion for summary judgment with declarations and verified exhibits. ECF No. 27. Cooper filed an opposition. ECF No. 31. Defendants have incorporated by reference their September 8, 2014, motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 27), in their renewed motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 39-1, On September 9, 2015, the court, treating defendants’ dispositive motion (ECF No. 27) as one for summary judgment, granted summary judgment in part and denied summary judgment in part. ECF No. 34, 35. The motion was denied as to the claim correctional officers would not permit Nurse Dennis Martin to attend to Cooper’s alleged physical injuries after he was taken to the medical unit on October 22, 2013, following the use of force incident. Summary judgment as to this claim was denied subject to renewal within twenty-eight days with declarations and verified exhibits. The court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants as to all other claims. Id.

         DISCUSSION[3]

         The facts of this case are outlined in the court’s memorandum of September 9, 2015 (ECF No. 34) incorporated by reference herein, and are not here repeated except as necessary for resolution of defendants’ pending motion.

         Cooper alleged in his supplemental complaint, which is the form of a declaration, that when he was taken for medical evaluation October 22, 2013 after the use of force incident, “correctional staff” permitted him to be treated for pepper spray exposure only, and not his physical injuries. ECF No. 33 ¶ 1.[4] Cooper claimed that unidentified correctional officers told Nurse Dennis Martin what they wanted him to write in his report about Cooper’s visit to the medical unit. Id.[5] Because defendants did not address this claim in their dispositive motion as initially filed, the court denied summary judgment as to this claim subject to renewal.

         In support of their renewed motion for summary judgment, Defendants have submitted Nurse Dennis Martin’s declaration. ECF 39-3. Martin denies Cooper’s allegations that correctional officers did not permit him to treat his physical injuries, attesting:

These allegations are untrue. I do not allow correctional officers to determine how I conduct a medical examination and I do not allow correctional officers to tell me what to write in medical records. When I met with Plaintiff on October 22, 2013, I examined him and I noted that he had a minor open area/abrasion at the top of his head. He had no bleeding or swelling, he denied loss of consciousness and the reported gait was in normal limits. No other injuries were noted or reported. The contents of the October 22, 2013 medical record accurately and complete describes [sic] Plaintiff’s condition.

ECF 39-3 ¶ 3.

         Additionally, defendants have filed a verified copy of the medical report Martin completed during Cooper’s medical evaluation on October 22, 2013. ECF 39-4. The medical report was written contemporaneously with the evaluation and is consistent with Martin’s declaration. The physical findings contained in medical report read:

Inmate brought down to HU 4 medical room by officers. Inmate involved in pepper spray exposure. Inmate cuffed behind back. Vital signs taken. Inmate reports burning eyes. Perrl. Lungs clear, bowl sounds pulses skin is warm and dry. A&ox3. Perrl. Inmate has minor open area/abrasion top of head. No bleeding. Denied loc. No swelling noted or reported. Gait wnl. Able to bear full weight on ...

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