United States District Court, D. Maryland
RUPERT STAMPS, Inmate Identification No. 443-308, SID No. 415-6306, Plaintiff,
S. SHANE WEBER, JONATHAN HESS, and JOHN DOE, WCI Psychiatrist Dept., Defendants.
THEODORE D. CHUANG, United States District Judge
Rupert Stamps, an inmate at Western Correctional Institution
("WCI") in Cumberland, Maryland, has filed a civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. S 1983 in which he
complains that he has received inadequate mental health care
for depression, in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the
United States Constitution. Defendants Shane Weber and
Jonathan Hess have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment That Motion is now
ripe for disposition, and no hearing is necessary.
See D. Md. Local R. 105.6 (2016). For the reasons
set forth below, the Motion is GRANTED, and the claims
against Defendant John Doe, who has yet to be served with the
Complaint, are DISMISSED.
material facts of this case are not in dispute. Prior to his
December 18, 2015 transfer to WCI, Stamps was prescribed
Lexapro to treat depression. On December 23, 2015, a
psychiatrist at WCI, designated by Stamps as Defendant John
Doe, renewed his Lexapro prescription. Defendant Doe, who was
responsible for Stamps's mental health medication, is
employed by a private mental health services provider under
contract to the Maryland Department of Public Safety and
Correctional Services. The WCI dispensary did not fill the
prescription because Lexapro is a non-formulary medication.
As a result, on January 6, 2016, Defendant Doe prescribed
Celexa to Stamps as a substitute for Lexapro. Stamps refused
the medication, citing "18 to 25" serious side
effects of the drug. Supp. Compl. at 4, ECF No. 6. According
to Stamps, Defendant Doe did not follow up with him about the
new prescription or his general health and did not comply
with WCI general procedures for care of inmates with chronic
mental health conditions. Stamps has not specified the
procedures to which the psychiatrist allegedly failed to
adhere. Stamps further asserts that as a result of the
prescription change, he was without depression medication for
18 days, causing him distress.
filed a grievance about his prescription change. On February
4, 2016, he was seen by a regional psychiatrist in response
to that grievance. At that meeting, Stamps asserted that he
had been denied his medication for three weeks. He was again
offered Celexa as a substitute for Lexapro, but again
March 7, 2016, Stamps met with Defendant Hess, a Correctional
Psychology Associate, about his antidepressant prescription.
Hess is not licensed to prescribe medications. Stamps asserts
that when he recounted his difficulties with receiving
Lexapro, Hess laughed in response. Hess denies laughing at
Stamps or otherwise acting in an unprofessional manner.
Stamps also asserts that he asked Hess for a copy of his
mental health treatment records but was refused.
filed a grievance about the incident, prompting a meeting on
March 10, 2016 with Defendant Weber, who was then the
Supervisor of Psychological Services at WCI. Weber is not
licensed to prescribe medications. According to Stamps, Weber
informed him that he stood by Hess, whom he allegedly
described as a "dear friend, " and denied
Stamps's grievance. Supp. Compl. at 5. For his part,
Weber asserts that he explained to Stamps that prison
regulations did not permit Stamps to access his mental health
records, but that he could be provided a summary of his
record. According to Weber, Stamps became angry, prompting
Weber to terminate the meeting.
March 30, 2016, Hess attempted to meet with Stamps to provide
him with a treatment summary that he had prepared, but Stamps
refused to meet. According to a treatment summary dated June
7, 2016, Stamps was not receiving any mental health
medication at that time.
complains that neither Weber nor Hess followed WCI general
procedures for care of inmates with chronic mental health
conditions, but he does not specify the procedures to which
they allegedly failed to adhere. He asserts that both Weber
and Hess were unprofessional in their dealings with him, an
allegation that both deny, and that Weber failed adequately
to supervise Hess.
Complaint under 42 U.S.C. S 1983, Stamps asserts that Weber
and Hess have failed to provide him adequate mental health
treatment such that they have been deliberately indifferent
to his serious medical condition, in violation of his Eighth
Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment
Stamps seeks monetary relief. In their Motion, Weber and Hess
assert that Stamps's claim should be dismissed, or
summary judgment entered in their favor, because Stamps has
failed to state and establish a viable Eighth Amendment
deliberate indifference claim. Defendant John Doe, the WCI
psychiatrist who initially prescribed Stamps Lexapro and then
changed that prescription to Celexa, has not been served with
Weber and Hess have moved to dismiss Stamps's Complaint
for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) or, in the alternative, for summary
judgment under Rule 56. Where, as here, the nonmoving party
has not made a persuasive case that discovery is required,
the record appears to be complete, and there is no dispute
between the parties on the material elements of the record,
it is appropriate to consider Defendants' Motion as a
motion for summary judgment See Pisano v. Strach,
743 F.3d 927, 931 (4th Cir. 2015) (noting that a court should
hesitate to proceed to summary judgment when there is
"necessary information" that might be obtained in
discovery); Harrods Ltd. v. Sixty Internet Domain
Names, 302 F.3d 214, 244 (4th Cir. 2002) (stating that
if a non-moving party believes that further discovery is
necessary before consideration of summary judgment that party
must file a Rule 56(d) affidavit, and "the failure to
file an affidavit ... is itself sufficient grounds to reject
a claim that the opportuntty for discovery was
inadequate") (citations omitted).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), the Court grants
summary judgment if the moving party demonstrates there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322 (1986). In assessing the Motion, the Court
views the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party, with all justifiable inferences drawn in its favor.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,477 U.S. 242, 255
(1986). The Court may rely only on facts supported in the
record, not simply assertions in the pleadings. Bouchat
v. Bait. Ravens Football Club, Inc.,346 F.3d 514, 522
(4th Cir. 2003). The nonmoving party has the burden to show a
genuine dispute on a material fact. Matsushtta Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,475 U.S. 574, 586-87
(1986). A fact is "material" if it "might
affect the outcome of the suit under the ...