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Yilleda-Morales v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

March 14, 2018

DERIK YILLEDA-MORALES, Prisoner Identification Nos. 361700, Plaintiff,


          THEODORE D. CHUANG, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Derik Yilleda-Morales, currently incarcerated at the Roxbury Correctional Institution ("RCI") in Hagerstown, Maryland, has filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendanss Wexford Health Sources, Inc. ("Wexford", RCI's contracted medical services provider; Dr. Tessema; Physicianss Assistant ("P.A.") Crystal Jamison; Dr. Ava Joubert-Curtis; Dr. Mahboobeh Memarsadegh;; B. Bonner, a Nurse Manager; Registered Nurse ("R.N." or "Nurse") Teresa Folk; Dr. Memar; and P. Hiheuba were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs stemming from chronic joint pain, in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Presently pending before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss, or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Wexford, Tessema, Jamison, Joubert-Curtis, Folk, and Memarsadeghi (collectively, "the Medical Defendants".. Service of process was not properly effected on Defendants Bonner, Memar, or Hihueba because Wexford has not been able to identify these individuals. Villeda-Morales has also filed a Motion for Appointment of Counsel. No. hearing is necessary to resolve these motions. See D. Md. Local R. 105.6 (2016). For the reasons set forth below, the Medical Defendants' Motion is GRANTED. Villeda-Morales's Motion for Appointment of Counsel is DENIED.


         On September 24, 2015, Villeda-Morales was evaluated by Dr. Colin Ottey in the RCI Chronic Care Clinic ("CCC"). Villeda-Moralss reported that he had bilateral pain in his wrists, elbows, shoulders, and ankles, and stiffness in his joints. He was diagnosed with "arthritis with Reiter's Disease." Med. Records at 1, Mot. Dismiss Ex. 1, ECF No. 14-4.[2] Reiter's Disease, or Reiter's Syndrome, is a form of arthritis caused by an infection. Villeda-Morales was prescribed the medications Mobic (Meloxicam) and Glucosamine Chondroitin to address his pain and inflammaiion.

         On November 20, 2015, Villeda-Morales complained of shoulder pain to Carmen Griffith, R.N. Nurse Griffith noted that the condition was chronic, that Villeda-Morales had been diagnosed with Reiter's Disease, and directed him to continue taking his prescribed medications and submit a sick-call slip if the medications did not address his pain. He was sent back to his housing unit in stable condition. Three days later, on November 23, 205,, he again visited Nurse Griffith because of his shoulder pain. Nurse Griffithss report described Villeda-Moralesss skin as "dry, warm and intact, " with no evidence of swelling or infection. Med. Records at 6. Nurse Griffith told him to continue to take the prescribed Mobic and to use hot compresses for pain. On December 24, 2015, Villeda-Morales, during an examination in the CCC by Dr. Monica Stallworth, reported good symptom relief from his current medication for arthritis and requested refills.

         On April 25, 2016, Villeda-Morales had a medical visit with Deborah Keller, R.N. and complained of left shoulder pain. He described his pain as "9/10" and stated that he had experienced pain for two years, but that it had worsened over the past month. Id. at 10. At that time, Villeda-Morales did not have full range of motion. Five days later, on April 30, he visited Nurse Keller again and stated that he believed his shoulder was dislocated. His range of motion was within normal limits. Nurse Keller assessed his injury as related to a shoulder strain or sprain and directed Villeda-Morales to continue taking his medications.

         On May 22, 2016, Villeda-Morales was examined by Susan Myers, R.N. and complained of "strains, sprains [and] minor trauma." Id. at 13. His chief concern was pain in his left shoulder. Nurse Myers found the area over his anterior left clavicle to be tender. She recommended the immobilizaiion of the injury, either a sprain or strain, with an elastic bandage or splint, heat applications, and ice or cool compresses as needed. Six days later, on May 28, Villeda-Morales again visited Nurse Griffith and complained of "left shoulder pain and bone buildup." Id. at 18. Nurse Griffith found that on the "bones on each acromion process, " the "outside edge of bones" were "protruding"" and the "right wrist bones" were "protruding"" Id. He was referred to a physician.

         On June 2, 2016, Dr. Ava Joubert-Curtis examined Villeda-Morales. Villeda-Morales reported that his shoulders were "aching." Dr. Joubert-Curtis noted that Villeda-Morales was "formerly heavy into weight lifting." Id. at 22. She diagnosed him with bilateral shoulder pain of moderate severity and mildly reduced range of motion. Dr. Joubert-Curtis advised Villeda-Morales to take Mobic, to discontinue bench pressing, and to perform previously prescribed shoulder mobility exercises. An x-ray was ordered, and a follow-up examination was scheduled for one month later. On June 8, 2016, a right shoulder x-ray was taken but revealed no evidence of acute fracture, dislocation, or subluxation.

         During a chronic care visit on June 10, 2016, Dr. Belay Tessema discussed the x-ray results with Villeda-Morales and noted that Villeda-Morales had no joint swelling and good shoulder mobility. Dr. Tessema observed that the left shoulder showed osteoarthritis, while the right shoulder was normal. Dr. Tessema changed Villeda-Morales's Mobic prescription to Naproxen and continued his prescription for Glucosamine Chondroitin. On June 14, 2016, Villeda-Morales visited Nurse Myers because he had not yet received his Naproxen. He received the Naproxen on June 17, 2016. On June 18, 2016, Dr. Stallworth reviewed his x-ray results with him and advised him to avoid weightlifting. However, on June 30, 2016, Villeda-Morales reported that "his right shoulder is hurting the same way the left shoulder pain started out" and that "the naproxen is not helping." Id. at 31.

         Villeda-Morales continued to go to medical appointments because of his shoulder pain. On July 13, 2016, P.A. Crystal Jamison, noted that the left shoulder x-ray reflected a degenerative joint disease in Villeda-Morales's left acromioclavicular ("AC") joint. Villeda-Morales requested a trial Kenalog (corticosteroid) injection, which he received on August 15, 2016. Four days later, on August 19, Villeda-Moralss reported that the shoulder area that was originally painful was better, but that he still had mild discomfort. However, by August 24, 2016, he complained to Kim Morrison, R.N. that he had sharp pain at the site of the injection. Nurse Morrison discussed heat and cold therapies with Villeda-Morales and referred him for further evaluation.

         On September 8, 2016, Villeda-Moralss was examined by P.A. Jamison for continued right shoulder pain. P.A. Jamison requested additional x-rays, which revealed no acute fracture, but did reveal a seven-millimeter left AC joint separation. On September 29, 2016, Villeda-Morales told Marion Diaz, R.N. that he could not sleep at night because of the shoulder pain. On October 7, 2016, Villeda-Morales was examined by Harlan Woodward, R.N., who noted a clicking sound in Villeda-Morales's clavicle and shoulder. After another visit with a nurse on October 27, 2016, Villeda-Morales was seen in the CCC by Dr. Mahboobeh Memarsadeghi on November 7, 2016. After noting the September 2016 x-ray results, including the "remarkable" seven-millimeter separation of the left AC joint, Dr. Memarsadeghi ordered a consultation with an orthopedic specialist. Id. at 56.

         On December 2, 2016, Villeda-Morales met with Dr. Manning, the orthopedic specialist. Dr. Manning noted that Villeda-Morales had experienced two years of shoulder pain since lifting weights. Dr. Manning diagnosed Villeda-Morales as having a Grade II AC sprain, directed a physical therapy program to strengthen his right and left shoulders, prescribed a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug ("NSAID") gel to be applied to each shoulder, and ordered additional x-rays and a follow-up orthopedic evaluation after the completion of physical therapy.

         On January 10, 2017, the RCI pharmacy declined to provide the NSAID gel prescribed by Dr. Manning and recommended a capsaicin ointment instead. On January 16, 2017, Villeda-Morales became angry and was asked to leave the RCI dispensary when he was told that his medication had been declined. On January 25, 2017, however, pursuant to a request from Dr. Memarsadegh,, the pharmacy approved the NSAID gel.

         Villeda-Morales was evaluated for physical therapy on January 17, 2017. The physical therapist, Stephen D. Ryan, defined the goals of the physical therapy program as increasing the strength of left shoulder stabilizers and establishing a self-management program. Villeda-Morales underwent physical therapy sessions throughout January and into February 2017. Approximately three weeks after his last physical therapy session, Villeda-Morales requested a consult with the "bone doctor" and became upset when RCI medical staff refused to provide him with the exact date of his appointment.. Id. at 78. After Villeda-Morales again requested, on March 12, 2017, to see an orthopedics, the consultation was ordered on March 24, 2017. On April 5, 2017, P.A. Jamison noted that the physical therapist had not yet conducted a post-therapy evaluation ...

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