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Dixon v. Bishop

United States District Court, D. Maryland

March 22, 2018

WILLIAM K. DIXON, Prisoner Identification No. 212-5347, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN FRANK B. BISHOP, JR., KRISTI CORTEZ, R.N., KRISTA BILAK, R.N.P., and MULUGETA AKAL, M.D., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          THEODORE D. CHUANG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff William K. Dixon, a prisoner confined at North Branch Correctional Institution (“NBCI”) in Cumberland, Maryland, has filed this self-represented civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on an injury he sustained when he fell in the shower. Dixon alleges that Defendant Warden Frank B. Bishop, Jr. (“the Warden”) failed to protect him from this injury, and that Defendants Kristi Cortez, R.N., Krista Bilak, R.N.P., and Mulegata Akai, M.D. (collectively “the Medical Defendants”), failed to provide adequate medical care for his injury, in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Dixon seeks money damages and an injunction mandating the installation of floor mats and safety rails in the NBCI shower area. Pending before the Court are separate Motions to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment filed by the Warden and the Medical Defendants, as well as Dixon's Motion for Inspection of Compelling Discovery (“Motion to Compel”). Having reviewed the pleadings and submitted materials, the Court finds that no hearing is necessary. See D. Md. Local R.

         105.6. For the reasons set forth below, Dixon's Motion to Compel will be DENIED, and Defendants' Motions to Dismiss will be GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         On February 2, 2017 at approximately 4:50 p.m., Correctional Officer II (“C.O. II”) Gregory Edwards was escorting Dixon and other inmates to the showers in Housing Unit No. 1. When Edwards opened the door to Shower No. 1-B-234, Dixon stepped into the shower and immediately slipped and fell to the floor. Edwards called for assistance, and Sgt. April Carr, C.O. II Jacob Northcraft, C.O. II Ryan Lewis, C.O. II Joshua Reikie, and Defendant Kristi Cortez, R.N., a registered nurse employed by Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”), arrived on the scene. Nurse Cortez placed a neck brace on Dixon. Under her supervision, the correctional officers placed Dixon onto a backboard and carried him to the housing unit's medical room.

         Once inside the medical room, Dixon complained of severe neck and back pain and stated that he could not move his arms or legs. Nurse Cortez examined Dixon and found no visible signs of injury. After Nurse Cortez called 911, Dixon was taken by ambulance to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center (“WMRMC”). Dixon was evaluated and received routine laboratory tests, CT scans of his head and spine, and x-rays of his spine and right shoulder, all of which had normal results. He received a prescription for Flexeril, a muscle relaxer, and orders for Tylenol or Motrin for pain, and then was released to the infirmary at Western Correctional Institution (“WCI”).

         Although Dixon was soon released from the infirmary, he was readmitted the next day, February 4, 2017, after he fell in his cell. Dixon was able to move all extremities, but when he was assisted to the medical examination table, he requested muscle relaxers and stated that he could not walk. Dixon was given medication and remained in the infirmary until February 5, 2017. On that date, Dixon reported that he did not remember falling because he had lost consciousness.

         On February 8, 2017 at approximately 12:55 p.m., Dixon requested a medical shower. While being escorted back to his cell, Dixon stated “I'm going to pass out, ” before slowly lowering himself to the floor and lying down. He was taken to a holding cell and examined while sitting on the floor. After a nurse examined him and he was held for observation, Dixon was returned to his cell at approximately 4:49 p.m. that same day.

         Throughout February and March 2017, Dixon requested medical showers and stronger pain medication. He also requested a medical mattress and bottom bunk status. On February 10, 2017, Dixon complained of occasional episodes of dizziness and loss of consciousness, and that he was in constant pain in his back, arm, and neck. On February 23, 2017, Defendant Krista Bilak, R.N., told Dixon that there was no medical need for stronger pain medication or medical showers. She noted that Dixon acknowledged that he continued to go outside in the prison yard, and that he exhibited a normal gait and good upper and lower body strength. Because his speech was slurred, Nurse Bilak requested that prison custody personnel conduct a urinalysis on Dixon to test for drugs.

         On March 8, 2017, Dixon was seen by Stacie Mast, R.N. During that visit, he moved without difficulty and did not report current problems with pain, yet he demanded stronger medication than the 800 mg of Ibuprofen that had been recommended. He was provided with Motrin and a muscle rub to address soreness. Dixon saw Nurse Mast again on March 27, 2017, when he requested a better mattress. He was told that if he submitted a formal request, he would receive the mattress. On that visit, Dixon was able to move without difficulty and to bend at the waist. On March 30, 2017, Dixon declined a proposed medical examination.

         On April 12, 2017, Dixon submitted a sick-call request form in which he asserted complaints of neck, back, and arm pain and requested pain medications, a second mattress, and a pillow. The next day, on April 13, 2017, Tammy Buser, R.N., examined him and found no tenderness, spasms, pain upon movement, or weakness.

         On April 18, 2017, Dixon submitted another sick- call request form in which he complained of hearing voices and seeing blood stains on the ground wherever he went. He reported that correctional personnel were acting “queer” towards him. Med. Records at 62, Med. Defs.' Mot. Dismiss Ex. 1, ECF No. 24-4. He further complained he was “not getting good health treatment” and that unidentified persons were trying to “zapp (sic) [ his] mind.” Id.

         On May 22, 2017, Dixon again was seen by Nurse Mast for complaints of back pain. At that time, he could walk without difficulty and bend at the waist, and he reported no active pain. Nurse Mast ordered Motrin and a topical muscle rub for Dixon.

         On June 15, 2017, Dixon submitted a sick- call request form complaining of constant back pain when he moved his neck that had not improved with Ibuprofen and muscle relaxers. On June 28, 2017, Nurse Mast examined Dixon and noted that he walked without difficulty and could move all of his extremities. Dixon was able to bend and move from side to side without difficulty. He was reissued Motrin and the muscle rub. Nurse Mast declined to provide the medication Baclofen as not medically ...


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