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Henson v. Gilmore

United States District Court, D. Maryland

February 20, 2018

JAMES A. HENSON, JR., Plaintiff
v.
JANICE GILMORE, et al., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          James K. Bredar Chief Judge

         Defendants Wexford Health Sources, Inc., and Janice Gilmore[1] filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion for summary judgment, as supplemented. ECF 20, 22, [2] & 25. Plaintiff has responded[3] (ECF 23), and defendants have replied. ECF 26. Upon review of the papers and exhibits filed, the court finds an oral hearing in this matter unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons stated below, the motion will be granted.

         Background

         This case was instituted upon receipt of a civil rights complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 from plaintiff James Henson, an inmate held at the Western Correctional Institution (“WCI”). ECF 1.[4] Plaintiff claims he is the subject of a “hit” and is treated with racial animus by inmates and correctional staff. Id. Plaintiff claims that Janice Gilmore, whom he identifies as the Regional Healthcare Manager for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (“DPSCS”), Barbara Newlon, whom he identifies as the former DPSCS Regional Healthcare Manager, and Wexford Health Sources are deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. ECF 1 at 4. He claims that defendants “blatantly, knowingly disregard an excessive risk to [his] health, safety and welfare.” Id. He does not explain how the named defendants have disregarded his health, safety, or welfare. Additionally, he complains about his “prolonged years in solitary confinement” but does not explain how the named defendants are responsible for the same. Id. Plaintiff filed a “Supplemental Complaint” (ECF 6), which is a copy of an administrative remedy grievance he filed raising the same conclusional statements regarding the named defendants' alleged deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Id.

         The following facts are undisputed or construed in favor of plaintiff, unless otherwise noted. Janice Gilmore avers that she was employed as the Regional Administrator for Wexford Health Sources, Inc. ECF 20-2, ¶ 1. She is not a clinician and does not prescribe, administer, or approve medications. Id., ¶ 3. Gilmore avers that she has no personal knowledge of appointments where plaintiff's treatment was discussed and that she was not involved in his treatment in any way. Id., ¶ 4. She states that if she had received a complaint from Plaintiff, then she would have directed him to use the sick call process. Id. ¶ 5. She indicates that she has no personal knowledge of a “hit” placed on him and has no personal knowledge of any racist conduct directed toward him. Id. at ¶¶ 6 & 7. Defendants have submitted 117 pages of plaintiff's pertinent medical records, which demonstrate that he is seen regularly by medical providers. ECF 22-1; ECF 25-1.

         Applicable Legal Standards

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         The purpose of a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is to test the sufficiency of the plaintiffs complaint. See Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999). The dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted does not require defendant to establish “beyond doubt” that Plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 561 (2007). Once a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint. Id. at 563. The court need not, however, accept unsupported legal allegations, see Revene v. Charles County Comm 'rs, 882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989), legal conclusions couched as factual allegations, see Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986), or conclusional factual allegations devoid of any reference to actual events, see United Black Firefighters v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979).

         B. Motion for Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), which provides in part,

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 ...

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