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Williams v. Miller

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

June 10, 2016



          Paul W. Grimm United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Wayne V. Williams, who is incarcerated at the North Branch Correctional Institution (“North Branch”), filed this self-represented complaint, alleging he has been denied adequate medical treatment for his Hepatitis C infection (“HCV”). Compl. 3, ECF No. 1. Defendant Warden Richard E. Miller has filed a motion to dismiss, or in the alterative, motion for summary judgement. See Def.’s Mot., ECF 13. Williams has not responded, [1] and the time to do so has passed. See Loc. R. 102.1(a). A hearing is unnecessary. See Loc. R. 105.6. Because Williams has not shown how Defendant Miller is liable as the former Warden of North Branch and because Williams’s own behavior led to his alleged lack of medical treatment, Defendant’s motion will be granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Williams states that the medical and psychology departments declined to treat his chronic HCV in retaliation for his filing prior complaints against them. Compl. 4. Williams alleges that medical and psychology staff have falsely claimed that Williams declined treatment. Id. As relief, Williams seeks an order directing the medical and psychology staff, as well as prison officials and administrators to allow him treatment. He also seeks monetary damages. Id. at 3.

         Williams was transferred from Western Correctional Institution (“Western”) to North Branch on June 12, 2014. Med. Rec. 3, Def.’s Mot., Ex. 1.[2] Williams was seen in the chronic care clinic on July 10, 2014, by a doctor, Dr. Joubert. Id. at 4. Dr. Joubert noted under reasons for visit: “HCV Patient biopsied 4/2011 with grade 1 state 1 with rebiopsy possible x 3 years. Patient recently cleared by Psych dept for anti viral therapy. Pt. has no current GI/abd complaints.” Id.

         Williams was seen by medical staff on July 21, 2014, in order to obtain the necessary laboratory tests to prepare for a rebiopsy. Id. at 7. An evaluation for treatment with interferon was scheduled for August 29, 2014; however Williams refused to attend and refused to sign the Release of Responsibility form (“Release Form”). Id. at 8. The form was signed by Deidre Mull, and a correctional officer. Id.

         Williams was rescheduled for an evaluation regarding interferon treatment on September 4, 2014, but again refused to attend the appointment. Id. at 12. At that time it was noted that Williams’s refusal constituted the third refusal and Infection Control would be notified. Id.

         Williams was evaluated by medical staff on March 16, 2015, due to an assault. Id. at 13. It was noted at that time that Williams was scheduled for a six-month follow-up appointment with the psychology department but refused to attend. Id. at 13, 19. On March 19, 2015, Williams refused a psychiatry evaluation for evaluation of interferon treatment and again refused to sign the Release Form. Id. at 15.

         Williams filed several requests for administrative remedy (“Remedy Requests”) concerning his medical care. See Admin. Req., Def.’s Mot., Ex. 3, ECF 13-4. As part of the Remedy Requests investigation, Infection Control Nurse Rebecca Leatherman explained the interruption in Williams’s treatment as follows:

This patient has refused his psych evaluation 3 times now; this sets him back for 6 months. He is aware of the process, as it was the same back when he was sent for his original biopsy. If he does not pass the psych evaluation, he cannot proceed. He will be scheduled again for re-evaluation in Feb 2015. . . . This patient was cleared at [Western] and then was transferred to [North Branch]. At that time, we attempted to obtain his evaluation lab work, he refused. We attempted again at the end of July and was [sic] successful. At this point, he was scheduled for education with Dr. R and refused. Due to his consistent refusals of various medical passes, the [Infection Control] department thought it best to have him evaluated again by psych and Dr[.] R agreed. The evaluation is time sensitive and must be adhered to with the thoughts that if a patient cannot be adherent with all prep, then the likelihood of treatment adherence is very low. This patient has refused every blood draw and visit for the past few months. If he does not complete each step of the evaluation process, then he cannot move forward in the evaluation. If he does not meet with psych and clear by January, we have to start the process over again, as the labs are only good for 6 months. He is aware of this process; he went through it before.

Id. at 14, 16-17.

         In response to a later filed Admin Request concerning lack of treatment, Nurse Travis Barnhart explained Williams’s treatment status:

IC Department has made several attempts to start the work up process for panel presentation. Patient was transferred from [Western] around 6/2014. Patient was scheduled for bloodwork for presentation to Dr. Rufael, patient was a no show. Patient was scheduled for psych again because he needed a re-evaluation do [sic] to the time lapse between previous psych eval. Patient was scheduled three times by psych and all no shows. (Last scheduled appt. 9/4/14). Patient was put on a 6 month hold for re-evaluation. In March of 2015 patient was due for re-evaluation, informed psych patient was do [sic]. Psych scheduled patient the second week of March once again patient was a no show. IC Department informed of patients [sic] no show. IC Dept scheduled patient the following Monday to educate the patient about the HCV tx process. Informed patient that he had to be evaluated by psych before he could move any further in the HCV tx process. Patient also informed he would be rescheduled by psych in the next few days and he needed to show up. Patient was scheduled Wednesday for psych, two days after he had just spoke to IC department about the importance of being compliant with all appointments scheduled. Patient was a no show again, [Release Form] stating patient went to rec instead of appointment. Patient ...

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