United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Hollander United States District Judge.
U.S.C. § 1983 prisoner civil rights action (ECF 1) and
indigency motion (ECF 2) was filed by Tevin Blake on December
1, 2017. Blake, who is self-represented, seeks $100, 000.00
in compensation and miscellaneous relief (prison transfer,
reduction in time, and a dental implant) for alleged injury
experienced as a result of a dental procedure. Blake names as
defendants Dr. Blake,  the dentist who performed the procedure,
as well as “Wexford Health Services”
(“Wexford”), the private corporation that
furnishes medical services to and utilization review for
inmates of the Maryland Division of Correction
(“DOC”). ECF 1.
relevant time, Blake was housed at “WCI.” ECF at
3. He is now imprisoned at “NBCI.” Id.
at 4. Blake's statement of claim reads as follows, ECF 1
Around March, April of 2016, I was housed in WCI. I was
examined by dentist Dr. Blake. Upon examination it was
decided I needed fillings in various teeth. 2 weeks later my
fillings were done. I experienced sever [sic] pain a few
weeks later and put in sick calls. Nothing was done until
8-18-16 on another sick call. Upon examination they
acknowledged that Dr. Blake had hit a nerve going to[o] far
and they had to extract it. They also told me that I never
need a filling because I had no cavaties [sic] from the get
go. My tooth was pulled on 8-22-2016 and I experienced pain
once #29 tooth was removed.
when affording Blake's complaint a generous construction,
his claims are subject to dismissal. Plaintiff's claims
regarding Dr. Blake's misdiagnosis as to the need for the
dental procedure and Dr. Blake's performance of the
procedure itself state, at best, a claim of dental
malpractice. The allegations are not reviewable by the court
under the Eighth Amendment because negligence is not
actionable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See
Davidson v. Cannon, 474 U.S. 344, 347-48 (1986);
Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 333-34 (1986);
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); see
also Green v. Khrisnaswamy, 328 F.Supp. 417, 419-20 (W.
D. N.Y. 2004) (placing of metal dental fillings on nerve
ending of teeth states at most a claim of negligence.
Therefore, the complaint against Dr. Blake shall be
dismissed, without prejudice.
claims against defendant Wexford are more problematic. In
effect, Blake claims that after the dental procedure in March
or April of 2016, he experienced severe pain and placed a
number of sick-call slips with the medical department, with
no response until August 18, 2016. ECF 1 at 3. Wexford, which
provides medical care to inmates, not dental care, is also
responsible for management and DOC medical utilization review
and may be answerable for the alleged delays in Blake's
receipt of post-procedure examination and care.
complaint submitted by Blake, however, does not state with
adequate particularity the dates or approximate dates that he
submitted sick-call slips in relation to his claim of delayed
response. Nor does he particularize the injury attributable
to the delay, as opposed to the alleged dental malpractice.
Because complaints drafted by self-represented plaintiffs are
held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by
attorneys, a plaintiff who submits an inartfully pled
complaint that contains a potentially cognizable claim should
have the opportunity to particularize the complaint in order
to define the issues and to name proper defendants. See
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
I shall dismiss the complaint against Dr. Blake, without
prejudice, Blake shall be granted the opportunity to
supplement his allegations against Wexford to provide the
additional information sought by the court. When filing his
supplemental complaint, Blake must place the case number
“ELH-17-3605” in the caption. He is cautioned
that the failure to file a timely and responsive supplemental
complaint will result in the dismissal of his case, without
prejudice, and without further notice. A decision on
Blake's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
shall be stayed until further notice.
separate Order follows.
 The Court assumes plaintiff Blake and
Dr. Blake are not related.
 To the extent that Blake claims
negligence with regard to the procedure performed by Dr.
Blake, he is required to comply with the requirements of
Maryland's Health Care Malpractice Claims Act
(“HCMCA”) prior to bringing a medical malpractice
claim. He must exhaust his medical malpractice claim before
the Maryland Health Claims Alternative Dispute Resolution
Office as a condition precedent to any judicial action.
See Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-2A-02.
This exhaustion requirement applies to claims of medical
malpractice filed in federal courts. See Davison v. Sinai
Hospital of Baltimore, Inc., 462 F.Supp. 778, 779-81 (D.
Md. 1978); see also Lewis v. Waletzky, 576 F.Supp.
732, 736-387 (D. Md. 1978).
However, the condition precedent of exhaustion does
not take away the subject matter jurisdiction of a state
circuit court to hear and render judgments in cases involving
claims that fall within the Health Care Malpractice Claims
Act. See, e.g. Octopi v. McGowan, 294 Md. 83, 447
A.2d 860, 864-65 (Md. 1982). Notably, under Maryland law, a
malpractice claim may be filed within the earlier of five
years from the time the injury was committed or three ...