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Hargett v. Armstead

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 10, 2017

KIM L. HARGETT. SR., Plaintiff
L. ARMSTEAD, et al., Defendants


          Frederick Motz, United States District Judge.

         Pending are motions to dismiss, or, in the alternative, for summary judgment filed by defendants Commissioner of Correction Dayena Corcoran, Warden Laura Armstead, and Chantell Sessions, ("correctional defendants") (ECF 11) and by Wexford Health Sources, Inc., ("Wexford",, Andrew Moultrie, M.D., and Oladipo Olaleye, R.N.P.[1] ("medical defendants".. ECF 14. Plaintiff has filed an opposition (ECF 22[2]) to which defendants have replied. ECF 23 & 24. The court finds a hearing in this matter unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow, defendants' motions, construed as motions for summary judgment, shall be granted.


         A. Complaint Allegations

         Plaintiff Kim L. Hargett, Sr., a state inmate confined at the Patuxent Institution in Jessup, Maryland, filed the instant verified complaint on May 31, 2016. ECF 1, p. 1. He alleged that in June of 2015, he began to feel pain in his right calf and knee. ECF 1, p. 2. He submitted a sick call slip and was seen by Oladipo Olaleye, R.N.P. who prescribed Motrin for pain relief. Id. He was again seen by Oleleye in July of 2015. At that time he was advised that there was nothing Olaleye could do for him and he should talk to Dr. Moultrie. Id. Moultrie asked plaintiff who sent him to his office and conferred with Olaleye, who then advised plaintiff there was nothing they could do. Id.

         Plaintiff wrote an administrative remedy complaint ("ARP") in August of 2015, concerning the pain in his right knee and calf, but the ARP was denied. ECF 1, p. 3.

         Moultrie evaluated plaintiff in September of 2015 during a chronic care visit. Plaintiff explained that he was in excruciating pain and Moultrie suggested plaintiff undergo an x-ray. Id. On September 24, 2015, plaintiff was called to see Moultrie. Plaintiff inquired about the x-ray to which Moultrie did not respond. Plaintiff states that he let Moultrie know he was upset and still needed an x-ray. Moultrie then got upset and plaintiff was placed on administrative segregation. Id., p. 3. Plaintiff states that he was subsequently found not-guilty at the ensuing adjustment hearing. Id.

         In November of 2015, plaintiff received the x-ray which showed a bullet lodged in the back of plaintiff s right knee. Id. Plaintiff was seen by a general surgeon in December of 2015 who suggested that plaintiff see a neurosurgeon. Id. Plaintiff saw the neurosurgeon on January 19, 2016. The neurosurgeon suggested plaintiff undergo a CT scan to determine the bullet's location to develop a plan to remove it. Id. As of the filing of plaintiff s complaint he had not received the CT scan. Id.

         On March 4, 2016, plaintiff was called to the chronic care clinic where Moultrie advised he would receive a Telemedicine appointment Id. At the time of the filing of the complaint that had not occurred. Plaintiff reported that he was in excruciating pain. !d.

         Plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief directing the removal of the bullet fragment from his knee. As indicated below, the bullet has been surgically removed and as such, plaintiffs request for injunctive relief is moot.[3]

         B. Medical defendants

         Medical defendants offer plaintiffs pertinent medical records as well as an affidavit from Dr. Temesgen in support of their motion. ECF 14-4 (medical records); ECF 14-5 (Temesgen affidavit).

         The undisputed records demonstrate that plaintiff has a medical history of chronic pain syndrome, muscle spasm and osteoarthritis of the knees. ECF 4-4.

         Plaintiff was seen on June 1, 2015, by Almon Baptiste, LPN, for a chronic care visit. Id., p. 2. Plaintiff denied any chronic pain since his last encounter. Id. That same day he was seen by Andrew Moultrie, M.D. Id., pp. 3-4. Moultrie noted that plaintiff suffered from chronic left shoulder pain that was helped with Neurontin. Id. Examination showed left shoulder pain with and without palpation. Mild tenderness of the cervical spine was also noted. Id. Plaintiffs non-formulary prescription for Neurontin was renewed. Id. p. 5.

         On June 24, 2015, plaintiff was seen for an urgent provider visit due to a cut on his hand. Id., p. 6. The cut had minimal bleeding and plaintiff requested a band -aid. He otherwise denied any pain. Id.

         Oladipo Olaleye, R.N.P., evaluated plaintiff on July 29, 205,, for a provider sick call. Id., p. 7. At that time plaintiff reported pain to the right leg and calf. He stated that the pain began six months earlier and was increasing in intensity. Id. He also reported more pain at rest and in the calf area. No swelling, warmth or redness were observed. It was noted that he had good pedal pulses to dorsalis pedis and posterior tibial and popliteal pulse. Plaintiff was advised that the pain was possibly nerve pain. Plaintiff disagreed, advising he had circulation problems and wanted to be treated. It was noted that plaintiff had been non-compliant with his Neurontin prescription and was advised to take the medication as prescribed. No skeletal tenderness or joint deformities were observed. Plaintiffs extremities appeared normal and no edema or cyanosis was noted. Id.

         Plaintiff was again seen by Olaleye on August 8, 2015, at sick call. Id., pp. 9-11. Plaintiff continued to complain of pain in the left calf that had started two weeks earlier and offered that he thought he had peripheral artery disease ("PAD"). Plaintiff reported that the pain was worse at rest. No swelling, redness, or skin discoloration was observed. Good pedal pulses were noted. There were no signs of arterial or venous disorders. Plaintiff was advised to take Neurontin consistently every 12 hours. Plaintiff refused and it was noted that his records indicated he had been noncompliant with his pain medication in the past. Olaleye discussed plaintiffs condition with the onsite physician. Id.

         On August 28, 2015, plaintiff was seen by Khadijat Adebayi, R.N. for complaints of chest paint. Id., pp. 12-13. Plaintiff reported throbbing pain in the chest diagonally from the mid-upper shoulder to the sternum. The pain was described as non-radiating and 5 on a 10 point scale. He was observed in no acute distress. His chest was clear to auscultation and his heart rate was regular and sounded normal. No edema was observed. Dr. Singh was notified and it was determined that emergency services were not necessary. Id.

         Plaintiff was evaluated by Almon Baptiste, L.P.N. for a nurse chronic care visit on September 1, 2015. He reported no symptoms relative to his chronic pain or medication. Id., p. 14. On September 3, 2015, plaintiffs prescription for Neurontin was renewed. Id., p. 15.

         Moultrie evaluated plaintiff on September 24, 2015, for follow-up of right knee, hip and ankle pain. Id. pp. 16-17. Plaintiff reported that his prescribed medications did not work; however, the Neurontin was helping his lower left extremity pain. Id. Plaintiffs prescription was changed from an NSAID to Mobic and a muscle relaxer was also prescribed. Id. Moultrie placed an order for x-rays of the knee and hip. Id.

         Plaintiffs x-rays were delivered to medical staff on November 4, 2015. Id., p. 18. Mild degenerative changes were noted bilaterally in the hip joints. Bullet fragments were present on the posterior aspect of the right knee. Id. No acute fractures, dislocations or subluxations were observed. Id.

         On November 10, 2015, plaintiff was seen by Olaleye at provider sick call. Id., pp. 19-20. He reported pain in the right lower leg of 7/10 and advised that he did not want any more medication but wanted the bullet removed. Id. Olaleye advised plaintiff that this condition would be discussed with his provider to determine a plan of action. Olaleye recommended plaintiff be referred to the onsite surgeon for evaluation and the consultation request was placed. Id., p. 21.

         Plaintiff was again seen by Olaleye on November 17, 2015. Id., pp. 22-23. Plaintiff inquired as to the plan for removing the bullet fragments and reported that he did not want any more pain medication. Id. The LPN/RN indicated plaintiff might be acting for secondary gain as he had been observed running quickly up two staircases going down, but limping back up. Id. Plaintiff was advised that the consultation request had been placed for a surgery evaluation and he needed to wait for the evaluation before any further plans would be made. Id.

         On November 25, 2015, plaintiff failed to appear of his morning medication. Id., p. 24. From November 25, 2055 to April 27, 2016, plaintiff failed to appear for his morning medication on 44 occasions. ECF 14-4, pp, 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 35, 38-41, 44, 49-55, 61, 62, 67, 68, 79-82, 86-93. He also failed to appear for evening medications on a number of occasions. Id., pp. 25, 45.

         Plaintiff was seen on November 30, 205,, by Patience Muson, L.P.N. for a chronic care visit. Id., p. 29. He reported no chronic pain symptoms or complications with medication.. Id.

         The following day plaintiff was seen by Moultrie in the chronic care clinic for pain in the left foot and right knee. /d., pp. 31-34. Plaintiff reported that the mediation helped the left foot pain but not the right knee pain. He complained of cramping in the right leg and stated that he wanted the bullet fragments behind the right knee removed if possible. Id. Plaintiff was advised that he was being referred to the general surgeon for evaluation as to whether than extraction was indicated. Id. Plaintiffs NSAID prescription was changed to Lodine and his Robaxin prescription was increased to help with ...

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