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Cooper v. Sowers

United States District Court, D. Maryland

June 8, 2016

ROBERT COOPER, #209556 Plaintiff,
v.
RODERICK SOWERS, J. MICHAEL STOUFFER, Commissioner of Correction, BOBBY P. SHEARIN, North Branch Corr. Institution, G.B. McALPINE, N.A. KLINK, J.L. HARBAUGH, KEVIN L. LAMP, the Chaplain's Office, PARRISH KAMMULF, Dietary Manager, MICHAEL GUTILLO, C. GILPIN, J. PAYNE, J.T. ZAIS, OFFICER BAUER, JAMES SMITH, MARY JO ROSE, P.H. PENNINGTON, FRANK B. BISHOP, JR. Warden of Western Correctional Institution, RANDY WATSON, R. STOTLER, D. BEACHY, W.L. LEYDIG, RICHARD J. GRAHAM, JR., JOHN/JANE DOE, L. MOULDIN, aka as Moulden, RANDY ADKINS, T. YUTZY, D. BITTINGER, D. BROADWATER, OFFICER GOLDEN, aka Gonoas ROBERT MANUEL, R. DOLLY, V. WARNICK, aka as Warnyck, BRUCE LILLER, Psychology Dep't, MS. HART, RONALD SHANE WEBER, KEITH ARNOLD, J. SELLERS, Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          J. FREDERICK MOTZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the court on defendants' supplemental motion to renew their motion for summary judgment. ECF 41. Self-represented plaintiff Robert Cooper filed an opposition. ECF 43. After considering the pleadings, exhibits, and applicable law, the court concludes a hearing is unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For reasons to follow, defendants' supplemental motion to renew their motion for summary judgment (ECF 41) will be GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         Robert Cooper is presently incarcerated at Western Correctional Institution ("WCI") in Cumberland, Maryland. On December 23, 2013, Cooper filed a fifty-one page complaint which named more than forty defendants[1] and raised a litany of claims arising from various incidents at WCI and North Branch Correctional Institution ("NBCI") at different periods of time. Cooper's claims against defendants included: failure to protect him from harm, improperly restricting his access to the Administrative Remedy Procedure ("ARP") process, unlawful infringement on his religious observance, denial of his meal tray, improper confiscation of his personal property, retaliation, interference with his mail, and inadequate medical and mental health care.

         On September 10, 2014, defendants filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion for summary judgment with declarations and verified exhibits. ECF 27. Cooper filed an opposition reply on October 24, 2014, expressing his general disagreement with defendants' response. ECF 33. No declarations or verified exhibits accompanied his opposition. Id.

         On September 4, 2015, the court denied in part and granted in part defendants' motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion for summary judgment. ECF 34, 35. Summary judgment was denied as to Cooper's claim that he was provided inadequate mental health care at NBCI, subject to renewal by defendant of their dispositive motion within sixty days with verified exhibits and affidavits. Id. Summary judgment was granted in favor of defendants as to Cooper's other claims. Id.

         On October 5, 2015, Cooper, proceeding pro se, filed a notice of appeal of the court's September 4, 2015 order. ECF 38. The appeal is before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Cooper v. Roderick Sowers, CA4 #15-7579.[2]

         On November 3, 2015, defendants filed the supplemental motion to renew their motion for summary judgment with supporting exhibits, including verified copies of Cooper's mental health records from NBCI. ECF 41, ECF 41-4.

         DISCUSSION

         The facts of this case were examined in the court's earlier issued memorandum (ECF 34), which is incorporated by reference. These facts are not repeated, except as necessary to provide context and to resolve defendants' pending motion.

         A. Mental Health Claim

         The gravamen of Cooper's mental health claim is that he was provided constitutionally inadequate mental health treatment for the "battered person syndrome, " post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and paranoia he reports he suffers as a result of his placement in a cell with other inmates. As relief, Cooper asks to be assigned to single cell housing. Cooper was initially transferred from WCI to NBCI on February 18, 2008, where he remained housed until his transfer back to WCI on September 25, 2012. ECF 41-1 at 4-9.

         He avers that he was denied psychological treatment between at NBCI on October 31, 2011, [3] February 17, 2012, and March 19, 2012 by Vicki Warnick, on November 16, 2011, by Bruce Liller, on December 21, 2011, by Laura Moulden, and on January 6, 2012, by Mr. Banks.[4] As relief, Cooper requests damages and injunctive relief to require defendants to cease depriving him of mental health treatment, a mental health evaluation at the mental health unit in Jessup, Maryland, and placement on single inmate cell status for psychological reasons. (ECF 1-1, pp. 27-31).

         B. Mental Health Records

         Defendants have filed verified copies of Cooper's mental health records for the period of October of 2011 and March of 2012.[5] Cooper's psychological record also reflects that between December 14, 2011 and March 28, 2012, he filed some 36 complaints in the psychology department, including 14 filed on December 14, 2011 alone. Id. pp. 4-17, 19, 22-27, 28, 30-31, 33, 39-46, and 53-56. Cooper copied correspondence to the Psychology Department that was unrelated to psychological issues. See id.

         None of Cooper's mental health records corroborates he suffers from 'battered person syndrome, " post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or paranoia or mental illness.

         On November 30, 2011, Cooper was seen by Mindy Baker, R.N. for reports that he was entertaining thoughts of hurting others. Baker indicated Cooper's denied suicidal ideations and his cellmate was safe. She recommended monitoring Cooper and referring him to a behavioral health clinic for follow-up. ECF 41-4 at 2.

         On December 6, 2011, Baker met with Cooper again. Cooper stated he had thoughts of hurting correctional officers. Cooper denied suicidal thoughts. Baker recommended monitoring Cooper and ...


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