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Cooper v. Mahler

United States District Court, D. Maryland

June 14, 2016

ROBERT COOPER, # 209556, Plaintiff,
v.
PEGGY MALHLER, RNP, KIM MARTIN, RN, ALAN WILT, RN, AVA JOUBERT, JANICE GILMORE, MEDICAL ADMINISTRATOR, COLIN OTTEY, MD, WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, LEA WILEY, NURSE LPN, DENNIS MARTIN, RN, QUINTA LUM, PA, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          J. FREDERICK MOTZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Robert Cooper is an inmate in the custody of the Maryland Department of Correction. He is suing defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, raising claims they provided inadequate medical treatment to him after he was involved in a use of force incident at Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland, on October 22, 2013.

         This matter is before the court on Defendants Wexford Health Sources, Inc. ("Wexford"), Peggy Mahler, P.A., Quinta Lum, P.A., Dennis Martin, R.N., Lee Wiley, LPN, Kim Martin, R.N., Alan Wilt, R.N., Ava Joubert, M.D., Colin Ottey, M.D., and Janice Gilmore's (collectively "Medical Defendants") Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF 27. Cooper, who is self-represented, filed an opposition (ECF 28), to which counsel filed a reply. ECF 31. The case isready for disposition and a hearing is unnecessary. Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014).

         BACKGROUND

         I. Procedural History

         Cooper filed the complaint on March 5, 2014, in the form of a declaration. ECF 1 at 17. Cooper claims the Medical Defendants failed to provide adequate care for physical and emotional injuries he suffered as a result of the use of force incident. Cooper requests an order for injunctive relief requiring Wexford to address his physical and psychological injuries; and seeks compensatory damages of $75, 000 against each defendant for breach of duty, intentional infliction of mental and emotional distress, negligent infliction of mental and emotional distress, gross negligence, medical malpractice and negligence, punitive damages of $150, 000 against each defendant for breach of duty, intentional infliction of mental and emotional distress, negligent infliction of mental and emotional distress, medical malpractice and negligence, and "future damages" of $350, 000 against each defendant for breach of duty, intentional infliction of mental and emotional distress, negligent infliction of mental and emotional distress, gross negligence, medical malpractice, and negligence. ECF 1, ¶¶ 20-22. On September 9, 2015, the court dismissed Cooper's medical malpractice and negligence claims. ECF 25.

         The complaint named, in addition to defendants listed above, correctional officers Sergeant Crumpac, Greg Hershberger, Brad Brinegar, Brett Wilburn, and William Logsdon (hereinafter, the "Correctional Defendants"). On November 19, 2014, counsel for the Correctional Defendants filed a motion to consolidate the claims against them in Cooper's earlier filed case, Cooper v. Brinegar, et ah Civil Action No. JFM-13-3692 (D. Md.).[1] The court granted the motion to promote judicial economy, and the claims against Sergeant Crumpac, Greg Hershberger, Brad Brinegar, Brett Wilburn, and William Logdon were consolidated with Cooper v. Brinegar. ECF 19, 20, 23.

         On September 22, 2014, the Medical Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss. ECF 14. On October 8, 2014, Cooper filed an opposition. ECF 16.

         On September 9, 2015, the court granted the Medical Defendants' motion to dismiss in part as to Cooper's medical malpractice and negligence claims and denied it as to the rest of his claims. ECF 25. The court determined Cooper's remaining claims, although unartfully stated, suggested the Medical Defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. ECF 24. Mindful that pro se pleadings must be liberally construed and Cooper presented his allegations in the form of a declaration, the court deemed dismissal of the complaint in its entirety inappropriate. The court granted the Medical Defendants thirty days to file a dispositive motion with verified exhibits and affidavits addressing Cooper's claims of deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Id.

         The Medical Defendants filed the motion for summary judgment with declarations and verified exhibits on October 8, 2015. (ECF 26). Pursuant to the dictates of Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d. 309 (4th Cir. 1975), Cooper was notified that he was entitled to file an opposition response and supporting materials. ECF 27. Cooper filed a response on November 18, 2015, stating he "does not agree with the defendants' factual allegations to the complaint." ECF 28 at 5. Cooper did not file any supporting documentation. On November 18, 2015, the Medical Defendants submitted a reply. ECF 31.

         II. Cooper's Allegations

         On summary judgment, the court must consider the facts in the light most favorable to Cooper as the nonmoving party. See Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007); Iko v. Shreve, 535 F.3d 225, 230 (4th Cir. 2008).

         It is undisputed that Cooper was taken to the medical department on October 22, 2013, after a use of force incident which involved administration of pepper spray. There, Cooper was examined by defendant Kim Martin, R.N. ("Martin").[2]

         Cooper asserts corrections officers permitted Martin to address Cooper's exposure to pepper spray only, not his physical injuries. (ECF 1, ¶).[3] Cooper wanted x-rays and asked Martin to refer him to an eye doctor, a dentist, and a psychologist. Id. ¶2. Cooper claims he informed "Nurse Jennifer"[4] that he was assaulted by correctional officers, and she did not give him his medications. Id. ¶3.

         On October 23, 2013, Cooper complained to defendant Quinta Lum, P.A., that no one addressed his physical injuries or medical issues after the incident. Lum told him that she called him to the treatment room to inform him that she was renewing his mechanical soft diet, and could not provide treatment unless he first submitted a sick call slip. Id. ¶4. Cooper explained he was in a "strip cell" and not permitted to have paper or medications stored there. ECF 28 at 2. Cooper asked her about his left eye injury. Id. ¶4. Lum responded that she could see the eye was infected and would prescribe medication for it. Id.

         On October 24, 2013, Cooper complained to Martin that his eye had worsened. Cooper indicated he had not received his prescribed blood pressure medication, x-rays, or eye doctor, dentist, and psychologist consultations. Id. Martin responded he had submitted referrals for eye, dental, and psychology consultations, as well as an x-ray request for Cooper. Id. ¶ 5. Martin advised Cooper to bring his blood pressure medication concern to the attention of Nurse Wiley. Id.

         On October 24, 2013, Cooper told defendant Lea Wiley ("Wiley") that he was assaulted by security staff and he had not received his medications. Wiley told him security staff had packed the medication, and said, "I will see what I can do." Id. ¶6.[5]

         On October 24, 2013, Cooper informed defendant Peggy Mahler, P.A. that he was assaulted by correctional officers and no one addressed his physical and psychological injuries. Mahler stated she would refer Cooper to an eye doctor and to the psychology department and would order an x-ray for his rib. Id. ¶ 7.

         On November 25, 2013, Cooper informed the Director of Inmate Health Services that he was assaulted by security staff and that vision in his left eye was blurry and it was infected at one time. He also stated that he needed to see an eye doctor, but no one responded. Id. ¶11.

         On December 20, 2013 and January 9, 2014, Cooper informed Martin that he had been assaulted and pepper sprayed in both eyes during the October 22, 2013 incident. He told Martin his left eye had become infected and his vision was blurry since then. Nurse Martin told Cooper he would speak to the scheduling nurse to place Cooper on the list to see an eye doctor. Id. ¶ 14.

         Between November 13, 2013 and December 27, 2013, Cooper told inmate Nurse Alan Wilt that he had been assaulted and pepper sprayed; was suffering from an infection and blurry vision in his left eye; and needed to see an eye doctor. Wilt responded that he would e-mail the scheduling ...


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