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Lopez v. Crites

United States District Court, D. Maryland

January 18, 2017

ISMAEL LOPEZ, #65357-066 Plaintiff,
v.
DR. MOUBAREK KRISTI CRITES, CRNP ROBERT MITTER, OD JANE DICOCCO, DO TOM GERA, PA-C DENISE VANMETER, RN JODY L. AMERZUA, RN WARDEN STEWART AMIRA HUSSIEN, MD JEFFREY HIRSCH, MD NATHAN MYATT, MD CARRIE HANSCOM Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          William M. Nickerson, Senior United States District Judge

         On September 30, 2015, Plaintiff, a Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) inmate formerly confined at the Federal Correctional Institution (“FCI”) at Cumberland, Maryland, filed this Complaint for injunctive relief and a total of $15, 000, 000.00 in damages pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1346, raising civil rights[1] and tort claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”). Plaintiff alleges that he has medical and mental health issues and Defendants have avoided evaluation and diagnosis of known chronic medical conditions that are deteriorating and worsening. ECF No. 1. He claims that injuries have been caused from wrongful medications, particularly from side effects caused by the medication “Doxisan.”[2] Plaintiff additionally contends that throughout 2014 and 2015, Defendants have denied him or avoided providing him proper medications, treatments, therapies and surgeries and have engaged in falsifying medical records. He further contends that although he requires a translator, it was repeatedly falsely reported that he verbally understood and agreed to course of treatment plans. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff subsequently supplemented his Complaint to state that when he complained of bleeding from his nose and mouth, the medical response was inadequate as he was only given medication in the form of a simple nasal spray.[3] ECF No. 7.

         Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment, accompanied by a Motion to Seal.[4] ECF Nos. 20 & 21. Plaintiff, who is currently confined at the FCI at Petersburg in Hopewell, Virginia, filed an Opposition and Defendants filed a Reply. ECF Nos. 24-25. Defendant Mitter, a doctor of optometry who provides care at FCI-Cumberland, has likewise filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment, which remains unopposed. ECF No. 29. No hearing is deemed necessary and the case may be determined on the pleadings. See Local Rule 105.6. (D. Md. 2016). For reasons to follow, Defendants' dispositive motions shall be granted.

         II. Standard of Review

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         "While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to prove the 'grounds' of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombley, 550 U.S. 544, 554 (2007). "[S]omething beyond the mere possibility of loss causation must be alleged, lest a plaintiff with a 'largely groundless claim'be allowed to 'take up the time of a number of other people...'" Id. at 557-558 (quoting Dura Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Broudo, 544 U.S. 336 (2005). "[T]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). In deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a court must "accept the well-pled allegations of the complaint as true" and "construe the facts and reasonable inferences derived therefrom in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Ibarra v. United States, 120 F.3d 472, 474 (4th Cir. 1997). The court, however, need not accept unsupported legal allegations, see Revene v. Charles County Comm'rs, 882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989), or conclusory factual allegations devoid of any reference to actual events. See United Black Firefighters v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979). Moreover, "because the court is testing the legal sufficiency of the claims, the court is not bound by plaintiff's legal conclusions." Takacs v. Fiore, 473 F.Supp.2d 647, 651 (D. Md. 2007).

         B. Motion for Summary Judgment

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) provides that:

[Summary judgment] should be rendered if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that 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).

         "The 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) (alternation in original) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). 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. ColumbiaColleton Med. Ctr., Inc., 290 F.3d 639, 644-45 (4th Cir. 2002). The court must, however, also abide by the "affirmative obligation of the trial judge to prevent factually unsupported claims and defenses from proceeding to trial." Bouchat, ...


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