United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Hollander United States District Judge
April 28, 2016, plaintiff Mich. Aurel,  a
self-represented inmate incarcerated at the North Branch
Correctional Institution (“NBCI”), filed a civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking
money damages and continued medical treatment from Wexford
Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”), the private
health care contractor serving inmates in the Maryland
Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services
(“DPSCS”). ECF 1. In a subsequent Order, I noted
that Aurel was barred from litigating prisoner complaints in
forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). Nonetheless, I
granted his request to proceed without the prepayment of
filing fees. Aurel's case was allowed to proceed for the
limited purpose of examining his medical claim regarding
alleged “catastrophic” injuries he sustained from
a fall in March 2016 from his upper bunk. ECF
Wexford was ordered to file “a show cause response with
regard to Aurel's medical claims concerning his back and
filed the court-ordered response along with a motion for
summary judgment, (ECF 4), a legal memorandum (ECF 4-2)
(collectively, the “Motion”), and a number of
exhibits. Pursuant to the dictates of Roseboro v.
Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), on August 16,
2016, the Clerk of Court informed Aurel of his right to
respond to the Motion. ECF 8. Aurel filed an opposition to
the Motion. ECF 9. Wexford then replied. ECF 10. Thereafter,
Aurel filed another opposition (ECF 11) and his own
Affidavit. ECF 12. In response, Wexford filed a motion to
strike the surreply and the Affidavit. ECF 13.
matter is ready for disposition, and no hearing is necessary.
See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons
that follow, I shall grant Wexford's motion to strike, in
part, and I shall grant Wexford's motion for summary
alleges that in March of 2016, he suffered a
“catastrophic” fall from a top bunk, was
hospitalized, but was denied a back brace. He complains that
he has lower back and head pain and has been denied
medication and treatment. Moreover, Aurel complains that his
sick-call requests have been destroyed. ECF 1 at 3.
Standard of Review
judgment is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). It provides, in
part: “The court shall grant summary judgment if the
movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” The Supreme Court has clarified that
this does not mean that any factual dispute will defeat the
motion. “By its very terms, this standard provides that
the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute
between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly
supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is
that there be no genuine issue of material
fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986) (emphasis in original).
party opposing a properly supported motion for summary
judgment ‘may not rest upon the mere allegations or
denials of [his] pleadings, ' but rather must ‘set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial.'” Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens
Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 525 (4th Cir. 2003)
(alteration in original) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)),
cert. denied, 541 U.S. 1042 (2004). The court should
“view the evidence in the light most favorable to . . .
the nonmovant, and draw all inferences in her favor without
weighing the evidence or assessing the witness'
credibility.” Dennis v. Columbia Colleton Med.
Ctr., Inc., 290 F.3d 639, 644-45 (4th Cir.
2002); see FDIC v. Cashion, 720 F.3d 169, 173 (4th
district court's “function” is not “to
weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but
to determine whether there is a genuine issue for
trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. Moreover,
the trial court may not make credibility determinations on
summary judgment. Jacobs v. N.C. Administrative Office of
the Courts, 780 F.3d 562, 569 (4th Cir. 2015);
Mercantile Peninsula Bank v. French, 499 F.3d 345,
352 (4th Cir. 2007); Black &. Decker Corp. v. United
States, 436 F.3d 431, 442 (4th Cir. 2006);
Dennis, 290 F.3d at 644-45. Therefore, in the face
of conflicting evidence, such as competing affidavits,
summary judgment is generally not appropriate, because it is
the function of the fact-finder to resolve factual disputes,
including matters of witness credibility.
to defeat summary judgment, conflicting evidence, if any,
must give rise to a genuine dispute of material
fact. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48. If
“the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party, ” then a
dispute of material fact precludes summary judgment.
Id. at 248; see Libertarian Party of Va. v.
Judd, 718 F.3d 308, 313 (4th Cir. 2013). On the other
hand, summary judgment is appropriate if the evidence
“is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a
matter of law.” Id. at 252. And, “the
mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the
plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be
evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the
Aurel is self-represented, his submissions are liberally
construed. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007). But, the court must also abide by the
“‘affirmative obligation of the trial judge to
prevent factually unsupported claims and defenses from
proceeding to trial.'” Bouchat, 346 F.3d
at 526 (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting
Drewitt v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774, 778-79 (4th Cir.
1993), and citing Celotex Corporation v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986)).
Eighth Amendment prohibits “unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain” by virtue of its guarantee against
cruel and unusual punishment. Gregg v. Georgia, 428
U.S. 153, 173 (1976); see King v. Rubenstein, 825
F.2d 206, 218 (2016). “Scrutiny under the Eighth
Amendment is not limited to those punishments authorized by
statute and imposed by a criminal judgment.”
De'Lonta v. Angelone, 330 F.3d 630, 633 (4th
Cir. 2003) (citing Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S.294,
order to state an Eighth Amendment claim for denial of
medical care, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the actions
of the defendants or their failure to act amounted to
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. See
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); see also
Jackson v. Lightsey, 775 F.3d 170, 178 (4th Cir. 2014);
Iko v. Shreve, 535 F.3d 225, 241 (4th Cir. 2008).
Deliberate indifference to a serious medical need requires
proof that, objectively, the prisoner plaintiff was suffering
from a serious medical need and that, subjectively, the
prison staff was aware ...