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Crussiah v. Attia

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 26, 2016

JOSEPH CRUSSIAH, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROL ATTIA et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          PAULA XINIS United States District Judge

         Pending and ready for resolution are separate motions to dismiss filed by Defendants Carol Attia (“Ms. Attia”), Anjana Dhar, M.D. (“Dr. Dhar”), and Luc Oke, M.D. (“Dr. Oke”). ECF Nos. 12, 13, 18. The relevant issues have been fully briefed and the court now rules pursuant to Local Rule 105.6 because no hearing is necessary. This court will GRANT the motions to dismiss as to all defendants.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The facts outlined here are taken from the Complaint, liberally construed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff Joseph Crussiah (“Plaintiff”).[1]

         In 2013, Plaintiff began seeking medical treatment for an undisclosed medical condition. ECF No. 1 at 5-6, 56-57; ECF No. 1-9 at 2. To assist in the diagnosis, Plaintiff’s treating physician ordered a magnetic resonance imaging procedure (“MRI”) for Plaintiff from Capital Imaging, LLC (“Capital Imaging”) in Bethesda, Maryland. Id. at 56. An MRI test requires intravenously injecting contrast into the patient’s arm to help facilitate a clear image.[2] While the allegations in the complaint are less than a model of clarity, Plaintiff appears to claim that the MRI technician had difficulty finding a vein in which to inject the substance and, as a result, accidently injured him. Id. Plaintiff also alleges that the technician injected Plaintiff with an unusually large volume of the substance, causing him to lose consciousness. While he was unconscious, Plaintiff alleges that a technician at Capital Imaging sexually assaulted him. ECF No. 1 at 5-6, 56-57. Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that his health became progressively worse over the next several months because of the inadequate treatment received. Id. at 14.[3]

         Sometime later in 2014, Plaintiff became eligible for Medicaid (id. at 14), and enrolled in MedStar Family Choice; the Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) of MedStar Health. Id. at 23. MedStar referred Plaintiff to four private physicians, doctors Anthony Macarthy, Anjana Dhar, Asmir Syed, and Luc Oke (collectively, the “Defendant doctors”) for medical care. MedStar Family Choice, http://www.medstarfamilychoice.com/ (last visited July 19, 2016) (identifying defendant doctors as private physicians in the Medstar MCO). The remaining defendant, Carol Attia, currently serves as the Assistant Vice President of Care Management for MedStar Family Choice Maryland.

         On October 15, 2014, Plaintiff visited Dr. Dhar’s office in Silver Spring, Maryland, to secure written proof of his workplace disability for potential employers so that he could receive necessary accommodations. ECF No. 1 at 21-22, 28. Plaintiff alleges that during this visit, Dr. Dhar performed a “diagnostic test” on Plaintiff “that revealed that one of the two arteries in the left arm, the ulnar artery [sic] is injured.” Id. at 28, 31. The damaged artery was allegedly caused by the botched MRI test. According to Plaintiff, Dr. Dhar must have realized that Plaintiff had been sexually assaulted during the MRI because there is no other reason why the ulnar artery would be injured. Id. at 28-29. Plaintiff alleges that instead of reporting the sexual assault, Dr. Dhar blamed Plaintiff for the incident because he did not take steps to prevent the attack. ECF No. 1 at 29. Plaintiff also alleges that Dr. Dhar tried to benefit from Plaintiff’s assault by conspiring to conceal evidence that the assault occurred or “sell the Plaintiffs rights”-conduct that Plaintiff calls “unjust enrichment.” ECF No. 1 at 7-8, 29.[4] Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Dhar failed to give Plaintiff a complete physical examination, failed to properly diagnose Plaintiff with certain medical conditions, and failed to keep a proper record of Plaintiff’s visit. ECF No. 1 at 31-33. Dr. Dhar was unable to complete the requested disability form because Dr. Dhar lacked adequate medical information at that time. ECF No. 1 at 42.

         Dr. Oke was the cardiologist assigned to Plaintiff through MedStar Family Choice. ECF No. 1 at 22. During his visit with Dr. Oke, Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Oke also realized Plaintiff had been sexually assaulted when he learned that Plaintiff was injected in an artery during a previous MRI test. ECF No. 1 at 30. According to Plaintiff, Dr. Oke like Dr. Dhar concealed his findings for personal gain rather than report the assault. ECF No. 1 at 30. Plaintiff also accuses Dr. Oke of misdiagnosing Plaintiff with certain medical conditions, improperly administering and documenting certain cardiology stress tests, altering Plaintiff’s medical records, and failing to provide Plaintiff with his medical records upon request. ECF No. 1 at 33-35.

         Defendants Drs. Macarthy and Syed are accused of engaging in similar conduct. Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Macarthy failed to provide him adequate medical care and refused to treat Plaintiff when he called to schedule an appointment. ECF No. 1 at 42-43. Dr. Syed is accused of failing to provide Plaintiff with adequate medical care and failing to properly document Plaintiff’s medical conditions. ECF No. 1 at 51.

         Plaintiff’s primary complaint against Ms. Attia is that she “devise[d] a scheme to suppress” Plaintiff’s complaints against the Defendant doctors. ECF No. 1 at 24. He also alleges that Ms. Attia improperly took control of Plaintiff’s medical care after he filed complaints about the treatment he received from Drs. Dhar, Oke, Macarthy, and Syed; refused to allow MedStar to provide Plaintiff with adequate medical care; and violated Plaintiff’s First Amendment rights by trying to force Plaintiff to delete a YouTube video Plaintiff recorded which Plaintiff claims to be proof of MedStar’s misconduct. ECF No. 1 at 25, 26, 43-45. Plaintiff alleges that all of this was done to increase MedStar’s profits at the expense of Plaintiff’s well-being. ECF No. 1 at 27, 31.

         On August 21, 2015, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed a thirty-eight count complaint which set out an array of claims, including violations of Plaintiff’s civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Counts 1, 10, 19, 28, 33), tortious interference with a contract in both Maryland and the District of Columbia (Counts 2, 3, 11, 12, 20, 21, 29, 34), fraud in both Maryland and the District of Columbia (Counts 4, 5, 13, 14, 23, 24, 30, 35), conspiracy in both Maryland and the District of Columbia (Counts 6, 7, 15, 16, 26, 31, 36), and intentional infliction of emotional distress in both Maryland and the District of Columbia (Counts 8, 9, 17, 18, 27, 32, 36). Id. at 60-69. Plaintiff also alleges Dr. Oke engaged in conversion (Count 37) and unjust enrichment (Count 38). Id. at 70. The sole basis for this Court’s original jurisdiction arises from Plaintiff’s claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C § 1983 and the United States Constitution. See 28 U.S.C. § 1343. See also Chapman v. Houston Welfare Rights Org., 441 U.S. 600, 607 (1979). The Court retains supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. ECF No. 1 at 1.

         On January 28, 2016 Dr. Oke filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative, Motion for More Definite Statement. ECF No. 12. On January 29, 2016, Dr. Dhar filed a Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 13, and Ms. Attia filed her Motion to Dismiss on February 9, 2016. ECF No. 18. For the reasons that follow, all three motions to dismiss will be GRANTED.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The purpose of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is to test the sufficiency of the complaint. Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). A complaint need only satisfy the standard of Rule 8(a), which requires a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “Rule 8(a)(2) still requires a ‘showing, ’ rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 n.3 (2007). That showing must consist of more than “a formulaic recitation of ...


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