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Henson v. Weber

United States District Court, D. Maryland

February 26, 2018

JAMES A. HENSON, JR. Plaintiff
v.
RONALD SHANE WEBER, et al., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          James K. Bredar Chief Judge.

         Pending is a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion for summary judgment filed by defendants Assistant Warden Ronald Weber, Melanie Gordon, MHPCA and William Taylor, Social Worker V, Bruce Liller, Lauren Beitzel, Melissa Harr, and Laura Wilson.[1] ECF 9. Plaintiff has responded. ECF 11.[2] Upon review of the papers filed, the court finds a hearing in this matter unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons stated below, defendants' dispositive motion will be granted.

         I. Background

         The case was instituted upon receipt of a civil rights complaint filed by plaintiff James Henson, an inmate currently confined at the Western Correctional Institution (“WCI”). ECF 1. Plaintiff named as defendants Ronald Weber, Melanie Gordon, William Taylor, Bruce Liller, Lauren Beitzel, Melissa Harr, Laura Wilson, “WCI Medical Staff, ”[3] Nurse Monica, and Jeanette Simmons.[4] ECF 1 at 1. Plaintiff states that he suffers from two broken collarbones and a severely damaged rotator cuff that causes numbness and pain throughout his extremities. Id. at 3. He states that he is in need of an MRI and medication for pain relief.[5] Id. He seeks access to the courts, an MRI, 24-hour medication for pain, reconstructive surgery, protective custody, an independent federal investigation, and a “Section 20 interstate correction compact (ICC).” ECF 1 at 3.

         A. Administrative Remedies

         Plaintiff filed an administrative remedy on February 1, 2017 (WCI-329-17), raising the same allegations as he does in the instant complaint. ECF 1-1 at 1; ECF 9-2 at 10-11. The ARP was dismissed on February 2, 2017, pending submission of more information regarding the location of each physical injury. Plaintiff failed to submit the requested information, and the ARP was dismissed on February 18, 2017, for failing to follow the instructions. ECF 9-2 at 10. Plaintiff did not appeal the dismissal to the Commissioner of Correction (“headquarters appeal”). Rather, on March 22, 2017, he filed a grievance with the inmate grievance office (“IGO”), which dismissed the appeal on May 17, 2017. Id. pp. 8-9, ¶ 3(b) (Neverdon Decl).

         B. Factual Response to Claims

         There is no evidence in plaintiff's medical records that he suffers from broken clavicles as he alleges in his complaint. ECF 9-3 (Medical Records). An x-ray of his shoulder was taken in July of 2014, following an altercation, and it showed no fracture, dislocation, or subluxation. Id. at 27-28. X-rays of both of plaintiff's shoulders were taken in October of 2014, due to plaintiff's continued complaints. Id. at 56. No. evidence of fracture, dislocation, or subluxation was found in either shoulder. Id. The medical records demonstrate that plaintiff is regularly seen by medical staff (ECF 9-5) and regularly refuses to cooperate with his health care providers. ECF 9-3 at 5, 7-9, 12-14, 34, 36-40, 42-43, 45, 50-51, 58-61, 63-85, 87-89, 92-112, 114-116, 118-119, 122.

         Moreover, Assistant Warden Weber, formerly a Mental Health Professional Supervisor at WCI, avers that medical services at WCI are provided to inmates by a private medical contractor. ECF 9-2, p. 2, ¶¶ 1-2. In both his position as Mental Health Professional Supervisor and Assistant Warden, Weber states that he had no personal involvement in the provision of medical care. Id. at ¶ 2. He had no authority to order medical staff to perform any particular medical procedure or treatment. Id. He also avers that he had no responsibility to monitor the provision of medical services to inmates. Id. He further states that he is not licensed to practice medicine and defers the medical care and treatment of inmates to the expertise of the contracted medical staff. Id. Weber states that inmates can fill out sick call slips if they wish to be seen by medical contractors, who determine the dates and times for those appointments. Id. at p. 3, ¶ 3.

         Taylor and Gordon each aver that they have no personal involvement in the provision of medical care to any WCI inmate. ECF 9-2, p. 4, ¶ 2 (Taylor Decl.); ECF 9-2, p. 6, ¶ 2 (Gordon Decl.). They state that they have not hindered access to treatment in any way. Id. They each confirm that they have no authority to order contracted medical staff to perform any particular procedure or provide any particular treatment and have no responsibility to monitor the provision of medical services. They further aver they are not licensed to practice medicine and defer the medical care and treatment of inmates to the expertise of medical staff. Id.

         In affidavits filed in another case involving plaintiff, Beitzel, Harr, and Wilson each aver that they have no role in providing medication to manage an inmate's pain. See Henson v. Speir, et al., Civil Action No., JKB-16-289, ECF 17-2 at 4-9. Wilson, Harr, and Beitzel advise that they are mental healthcare providers at NBCI (not WCI where plaintiff is currently confined) and as such do not participate in the provision of any medical treatment or the prescription of medications for inmates. Id. Each states that she has never been involved in, interfered with, or delayed the provision of medical care to plaintiff. Id.

         II. Standard of Review

         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 plaintiff's 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 ...


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