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Bright v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

April 13, 2017

WILLIAM BRIGHT, #413-592 Plaintiff



         William Bright, a self-represented litigant formerly incarcerated at the Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland ("WCI"), [1] filed a civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), [2] as supplemented, claiming: (1) he has been denied heart and blood pressure medications by defendants Barrera, Lewis, Kimberly Martin and Carla Buck; (2) defendant Carls has failed to remove a broken orthopedic screw; (3) a treatment rendered by defendants Ryan and Hott caused severe burns that have become infected; (4) defendant Reese will not permit medical staff to provide him antibiotics to fight the infection; and (5) defendant McLaughlin prescribed medication that caused an allergic reaction. ECF No. 1 at 1-5 and ECF No. 3 at p. 3.[3]

         Defendants Carls, Ryan, Lott, McLaughlin, Dennis Martin, and Wexford Health Sources, Inc. were dismissed on July 28, 2016. ECF 6. The remaining defendants, Barrera, Lewis, Kimberly Martin, Buck, and Reese, now seek to dismiss the case or, alternatively, move for summary judgment. ECF 38. Bright opposes the dispositive motion (ECF 44), and defendants have filed a reply to the opposition response.[4] ECF 49. After review of the papers filed, the court finds a hearing on the pending matters unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016).

         Standard of Review

         Because matters outside the pleadings are presented in defendants dispositive motion, it shall be considered a motion for summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). Summary Judgment is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) which provides that:

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).

         "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) (alteration 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. Columbia Colleton 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, 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 Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986)).


         The medical defendants include Registered Nurses Kimberly Martin, Carl Buck, Tiffany Bennett, and Brenda Reese; Licensed Practical Nurse Maria Lewis; and Dr. Robustiano Barrera. As previously noted, Bright alleges that he was denied heart and blood pressure medications by Barrera, Lewis, Martin, and Carla Buck between December 4, 2015 and December 18, 2015. Bright also alleges that Reese instructed nursing staff to deny him antibiotics to fight the infection allegedly suffered due to burns incurred during post-surgical physical therapy. Bright seeks $250, 000, 000.00 in damages for alleged violations of his Eighth Amendment rights.


         The 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). "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. Setter, 501 U.S.294, 297 (1991). In 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 a serious medical need. See Estelle v. Gamble,429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). "Deliberate indifference is a very high standard - a showing of mere negligence will not meet it. . . . [T]he Constitution is designed to deal with deprivations of rights, not errors in judgments, even though such ...

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