United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Hollander United States District Judge
self-represented plaintiff, John Rolph II, filed a civil
rights complaint when he was hospitalized at Spring Grove
Hospital (ECF 1), and amended it when he was incarcerated as
a pretrial detainee at the Baltimore County Detention Center
(“BCDC”). ECF 5. Of relevance here, Rolph alleges
that BCDC Warden Deborah Richardson and Program Manager
Sharon Tyler, defendants, refused to provide him with a
religious diet, failed to provide him with adequate medical
care, and subjected him to improper conditions of
confinement. See ECF 5 (Amended Complaint).
Defendants have moved to dismiss or, in the alternative, for
summary judgment. ECF 20 (“Motion”). Plaintiff
has not opposed the motion, but was advised of his right to
do so and of the potential consequences of failing to file a
response to the Motion. ECF 23.
hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion. See
Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow,
defendants' Motion shall be construed as a motion for
summary judgment and shall be granted. Judgment shall be
entered in favor of the defendants.
Factual and Procedural History
original Complaint was filed by plaintiff when he was
hospitalized at Spring Gove Hospital (ECF 1), and it
contained two disparate claims. The first was a claim
asserted by plaintiff against his father for the unauthorized
sale of plaintiff's motor vehicle during plaintiff's
incarceration. I dismissed that claim on March 2, 2016,
because it did not state a claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983.
See ECF 3; ECF 4. The second claim pertained to
Spring Grove Hospital. Plaintiff alleged that he was not
receiving proper medical care for multiple deteriorating and
bulging discs; an anxiety disorder; a large abdominal hernia;
and post-traumatic stress disorder. ECF 1 at 6 - 10. Because
Spring Grove Hospital is not a “person” within
the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §1983, but the allegation
otherwise stated a colorable claim, plaintiff was granted 28
days to supplement the claim by naming the individual staff
members allegedly responsible for the failure to provide
proper care. ECF 3; ECF 4.
supplemental complaint (ECF 5) did not address the
allegations regarding his medical care at Spring Grove.
Rather, the supplemental complaint raised entirely new claims
against the Warden and the Program Director at BCDC and did
not reference the claims arising at Spring Grove. ECF 5.
Therefore, the supplemental complaint is more properly viewed
as an Amended Complaint under Fed. R. of Civ. Proc. 15.
amended pleading ordinarily supersedes the prior pleading.
The prior pleading is in effect withdrawn as to all matters
not restated in the amended pleading.” Nisbet v.
Van Tuyl, 224 F.2d 66, 71 (7th Cir. 1955) (citing 71
C.J.S., Pleading, § 321 at 717). Thus, the only claims
addressed herein will be those raised in the Amended
Complaint (ECF 5).
states that he arrived at BCDC on March 8, 2016, and went
through the intake process the day he arrived. ECF 5 at 3.
Plaintiff states he showed the nurse with whom he spoke at intake
“documentation that [he] converted to Judaism
approximately eight months ago.” ECF 5 at 3. Further,
he informed her that he was “on a kosher diet”
and asked her to “enter that on the computer.”
Id. He claims he showed the nurse “one of two
papers” he had with him “proving [his] Jewish
plaintiff believes the nurse entered the information
regarding his religious preference into the computer, he
states that he was denied kosher meals. ECF 5 at 3. He states
that from March 8, 2016 through March 14, 2016, all he had to
eat was “two eggs and a bag of chips.”
Id. Plaintiff claims he “wrote multiple 118s
to everyone” at BCDC in an effort to obtain his
religious diet. Id. Specifically, he states he wrote
to “multiple shift captains, . . . the head hancho in
charge of the meals, ” church services staff, and to
the defendants, Program Director Sharon Tyler and Warden
Deborah Richardson. Id.
addition to plaintiff's request for kosher meals, he
informed BCDC staff in his written correspondence that he was
allergic to turkey, beef by-products, white bread, and sugar.
Id. Plaintiff explains that he experiences allergic
reactions when exposed to these food items, causing his
throat to close and producing hives on the back of his arms.
Id. According to Rolph, he had to fast due to his
multiple food allergies. Id.
March 14, 2016, Rolph received a letter from Tyler stating
that he would need to provide the name of his Rabbi and
synagogue in order for him to be approved for a kosher diet.
ECF 5 at 3. Further, Tyler informed plaintiff that Richardson
forwarded to the medical staff the information regarding
plaintiff's food allergies. Id. Plaintiff
responded to Tyler's letter, indicating that he had shown
the intake nurse proof of his religion; that Tyler could see
the paperwork he had proving his religious preference; he was
“absolutely starving”; and he was invoking his
“fifth amendment rights as far as the personal
information she requested.” Id.
also points out that he is “obviously new to the
[Jewish] faith, ” but claims that he studies every day
and feels “horrible” that he has been
“forced . . . to come close to fasting totally.”
ECF 5 at 5. According to plaintiff, defendants were
“forcing [him] to break [his] faith by consuming their
regular meals.” Id. He also points out that he
had a kosher diet for the eight months that he was at Spring
Grove Hospital. Id.
addition, plaintiff claims that when he got to BCDC he was
“placed on a boat [sic] (on the floor), ” despite
his having informed correctional staff that he has a prior
diagnosis of a “deteriorating disc, protruding disc,
bulging disc, and sciatica problems.” ECF 5 at 4.
Plaintiff states that he told “the sheriff's deputy
that [he] needed to be placed on a bunk (bottom) and [he]
needed an extra mat for [his] back.” Id. at 3.
The sheriff told Rolph that “the best [he] can
do” for plaintiff was to provide him with a “boat
[sic] on the floor.” Id. at 5. Plaintiff
claims that his “back locked up” because he was
forced to sleep on the floor. Id. at 3. After
sleeping on the floor, plaintiff claims it felt as though he
had a pinched nerve so he went to the medical department,
where he received an x-ray. Id. at 4.
the pain plaintiff claims he experienced, he was still
required to sleep on a “boat” on the floor and
was simply moved to a different housing unit, which he refers
to as the “crazy side.” ECF 5 at 4. When
plaintiff asked to be moved to the medical housing unit, he
was told he had to be cleared by psychiatry before he could
be moved. Id. Plaintiff states that he
“subpoenaed [his] arrest records” and discovered
notations that he was psychotic and schizophrenic.
Id. Plaintiff disputes those diagnoses and states
that he had been cleared by Spring Grove as “100%
mentally competent.” Id. at 5. But, he also
states: “Please know I want to go back to Spring Grove
. . . .” Id. at 4.
explains that in the housing unit where he was kept (2C),
“they kick on the doors all hours of the day and night
and scream loudly.” ECF 5 at 4. Further, Rolph asserts
that the noise causes an increase in his anxiety.
Id. Plaintiff states that he had been remanded to
Spring Grove on March 4, 2016, following a court appearance
and a “nervous breakdown” he experienced as a
result of not receiving his medication,
Clonazepam. Id. He explains he was sent to
Spring Grove so that his medication could be straightened
out; that he was much happier when he was there because a
social worker was helping him to find a place to live so he
could complete his sentence on home detention; and that he
needs to go back to Spring Grove to get his medication
corrected again. Id. He claims he should not have
been removed from Spring Grove because it violated a
judge's order remanding him there. Id. at 5.
heading titled “negligence” plaintiff adds that
staff at BCDC were not doing enough to find him a permanent
residence and had only provided him with a list of homeless
shelters. ECF 5 at 5. Further, he alleges that he was having
“panic attacks all day long” and a nervous
breakdown, “possibly caused by not being detoxed
properly off my medication.” Id. He states he
was taking narcotics twice a day for eight months and
“they gave [him] Librium for detox” but that he
had an allergic reaction to it. Id. He adds that he
had a staph infection in his nose causing it to be
“swollen and bright red, ” but adds he was being
sent to “see medical tomorrow.” Id. In
addition, Rolph claims that he had an open wound that was
caused by Dr. Sabba at Spring Grove, because he ordered a
larger abdominal binder,  causing the wound. Id.
support of the Motion, Tyler provided an Affidavit explaining
that she is the Program Manager at BCDC, and she is
responsible for supervising all inmate programs, including
religious services. ECF 20-2 at 1 - 2, ¶5. Further, she
avers that when plaintiff was admitted to BCDC on March 8,
2016, he identified his religion as Roman Catholic.
Id. at 2, ¶8; ECF 20-4; ECF 2-5.
March 11, 2016, Tyler received an Inmate Request Form #118
dated March 20, 2016, from plaintiff stating that he had been
on kosher meals for religious reasons for the past eight
months while he was confined at Spring Grove State Hospital.
ECF 20-2 at 2, ¶ 9. Plaintiff stated that he needed to
be placed on a kosher diet “ASAP” and also
claimed he was allergic to turkey, beef byproducts, and white
bread. Id. In response to plaintiff's Inmate
Request Form, Tyler wrote the following on March 11, 2016,
I reviewed your file and it indicates you have reported to be
Roman Catholic every time you have been admitted to BCDC;
please provide me with the name of your Rabbi and
congregation and once the information is confirmed you will
be provided with kosher meals; and Director Richardson has
forwarded your dietary allergies to medical to resolve.
See also ECF 20-2, ¶ 10.
March 15, 2016, Tyler received two more Inmate Request forms
from plaintiff, repeating his request for kosher meals and
claiming food allergies. ECF 20-2 at 2 - 3, ¶ 11.
Plaintiff also threatened legal action if his request for
kosher meals was not granted. Id. And, plaintiff
claimed that he was “‘absolutely
starving.'” Id. at 3, ¶ 12.
plaintiff's claims that he was starving, Tyler notes that
plaintiff's commissary receipts indicate that as soon as
he had money in his inmate account, he bought numerous
packages of Ramen (beef), five beef jerky packages, tuna
packages, a cinnamon roll, and an iced honey bun.
Id. Tyler also notes that many kosher meals contain
beef and turkey products and further notes that all of the
items plaintiff purchased at the commissary are
contraindicated for his stated food allergies and to a kosher
diet. Id. at ¶13.
to Tyler, while plaintiff claimed to have documentation
proving his conversion to Judaism, he never provided it to
her, despite her advice that he could not receive kosher
meals absent such proof. ECF 20-2 at 3, ¶ 14. Tyler
further advised plaintiff that none of the meals at BCDC
included pork products and that he could request and receive
a vegetarian meal. Id. Tyler states that Jewish
religious services are provided for inmates on the first
Wednesday of each month. Id. at ¶15.
Representatives from Jewish Big Brothers and Sisters and
Rabbi Yanki Dinovitz are available to meet with Jewish
inmates at BCDC. Id. Despite the availability of
such services, plaintiff never attended the services nor did
he request to meet with either Rabbi Dinovitz or a
representative of the Jewish Big Brothers and Sisters.
Id. at 4, ¶ 16. In light of the discrepancies
between what plaintiff claimed regarding his faith and his
food allergies, Tyler concluded that plaintiff did not meet
the requirements to receive kosher meals and that he simply
requested kosher meals because he did not want to eat the
institutionally prepared meals. ECF 20-2 at 5, ¶ 20.
Tyler explains that there is an increased cost to BCDC in
providing kosher meals. An institutionally-prepared meal
costs $1.25 per meal. ECF 20-2 at 4, ¶ 17. However,
because BCDC does not have a kosher kitchen, kosher meals
must be ordered from an outside vendor at a cost of $6.28 per
meal. Id. Tyler states that she is required by BCDC
policy and directives to verify a request for a religious
diet and either approve or deny it within seven days of
receipt of the request. Id. at ¶ 18. Pursuant
to that policy, Tyler denied plaintiff's request for
kosher meals for multiple reasons: he indicated he was Roman
Catholic on his intake statement; he failed to provide the
name of his Rabbi; he failed to provide the name of his
congregation; he failed to provide documentation of his
conversion, which he claimed to have in his possession; he
did not participate in any of the programs established for
Jewish inmates; he made commissary purchases of beef products
despite his claimed allergies to same; and because of the
increased cost involved in providing a kosher meal.
Id. at 4-5, ¶ 19.
Cosgrove, the Medical Liaison for BCDC, investigates inmate
complaints regarding medical services provided to inmates at
BCDC by the contractual medical services provider, Correct
Care Solutions. ECF 20-3 at 1, ¶¶ 2 - 4. In
Cosgrove's Affidavit, she explains that on March 10,
2016, plaintiff informed a nurse that he was not eating
because he was not receiving kosher meals. Id. at 2,
¶ 7. In response, plaintiff was advised that only
program staff could approve religious diets and medical care
staff were prohibited from doing so; plaintiff was notified
of the proof required for a religious diet several times
while at BCDC. Id.
plaintiff indicated that he was allergic to turkey and beef
products during his intake interview with a nurse, BCDC
medical staff never received any official documentation of
the allergies from an outside doctor or allergist. ECF 20-3
at 2, ¶ 8. Plaintiff did not provide the name of the
physician who tested him for the allergies, despite requests
for that information. Id. Cosgrove states that,
absent such documentation, a notation indicating a food
allergy could not be placed into his jail record.
Id. Further, she notes that it is not unusual for
inmates to claim food allergies simply because they do not
like the institutional food. Moreover, she points out that
when plaintiff was incarcerated at BCDC on July 31, 2016, he
claimed an allergy to kiwi, but made no mention of an allergy
to turkey or beef. Id. at 2 - 3, ¶ 9.
respect to plaintiff's physical and mental health issues,
Cosgrove indicates that the intake nurse noted a history of
gunshot wounds to plaintiff's abdominal area, right leg,
and left arm as well as a history of bipolar disorder,
anxiety, and schizophrenia. ECF 20-3 at 3, ¶ 10.
Plaintiff reported taking Clonazepam and Seroquel, both
psychotropic medications. Id. Plaintiff was referred
to a ...