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Williams v. Medical Corrective Services

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 24, 2018



          Paul W. Grimm United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Wayne Williams, a state inmate held at the North Branch Correctional Institution (“NBCI”), filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF No. 1. Pending are Motions to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment filed by Sergeant Gregory Forney, ECF No. 19, and Wexford Health Sources, Inc. and Krista Self (f/k/a Bilak) (“Medical Defendants”), [1] ECF No. 22. The parties briefed the motions. Forney Mem., ECF No. 19-1; Med. Defs.' Mem., ECF No. 22-3; Pl.'s Opp'n, ECF No. 24; Med. Defs.' Reply, ECF No. 25. Having reviewed the parties' briefs and exhibits, I find that a hearing is unnecessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons stated below, the Motions will be granted.


         Plaintiff claims that he is allergic to the metal and plastic in the bunkbed in his double cell, and that his allergies cause chronic swelling in his legs and knees and poor circulation, leading to numbness and loss of sensation. Compl. 3-4. Plaintiff states that his allergies force him to sleep on the concrete floor of his cell rather than in his bunk. Id. He alleges that, despite his allergies, Krista Bilak (now Self), [2] Nurse Practitioner, refused to allow him to be seen by a doctor and refused to recommend that he be seen by an allergy specialist. Id. at 3. Also, he asked for an assignment to a single cell due to his allergies, but his request was denied. Id. at 4. He alleges that the failure to place him in a single cell adversely impacts his health. Id. As relief, he seeks an injunction requiring reassignment to a single cell and consultation with an allergy specialist, as well as compensatory damages. Id. at 3.

         The affidavits and medical records that Defendants have provided in support of their dispositive motions demonstrate that Plaintiff suffers from benign prostatic hyperplasia, Hepatitis C, a detached retina, hypertension, and exercise induced asthma. Joubert Aff. ¶ 4, ECF No. 22-5. On November 5, 2014, he was evaluated by James Hunt, R.N., regarding a request to be removed from his prescribed cardio-vascular diet. Med. Recs. 1, ECF No. 22-4. At that time, Plaintiff advised Hunt he was allergic to foods but was vague in describing his allergies. Id. at 2. Hunt advised Plaintiff there was no information in his chart indicating he suffered from allergies. Id.

         Mahboob Ashraf, M.D., evaluated Plaintiff on December 23, 2014. Id. at 3-5. Dr. Ashraf recommended Plaintiff change from a cardio-vascular diet to a regular diet as he had no history of cardiac issues. Id. Examination was normal and Plaintiff was directed to follow up in three months. Plaintiff did not offer any complaints of allergies or symptoms related to allergies. It was noted that his asthma was well controlled but triggered by dust or allergy symptoms. Id. at 3.

         In June of 2016, Plaintiff submitted two sick call requests complaining that his blood was not circulating properly when he slept on his “nylon-polyester” mattress and accordingly, he slept on the floor. Id. at 6-7. He also indicated he could not sleep on plastic. Id. He was seen by Ricky Moyer, R.N. on June 22, 2016. Id. at 8-9. No signs or symptoms of distress were observed. Id. Moyer noted that there was no prior history of Plaintiff having difficulty with his mattress. Plaintiff was advised that his mattress could not be changed and that his blood work was within normal limits. Id. at 8.

         Plaintiff was seen by Krista Bilak, R.N.P., on July 1, 2016 and September 23, 2016, for regular chronic care visits. Med. Recs. 10-17. Plaintiff's chronic conditions were noted to be controlled and his examinations were otherwise unremarkable. Plaintiff did not express any complaints regarding allergies to his bedding, metal, or other materials. Id. He was scheduled to return to the chronic care clinic in three months. Id.

         Plaintiff submitted a sick call slip on October 25, 2016, complaining that his body became numb when resting on his bunk and that sleeping on his bunk caused his blood to not circulate freely. Med. Recs. 18. He was seen on October 27, 2016, by Bilak for a scheduled follow-up regarding a urine culture. Id. at 19-20. Bilak advised Plaintiff that his urinary problems were related to his prostatic hyperplasia and his medication was increased. Id. at p. 19. At that time Plaintiff requested a “thicker” mattress due to chronic pain which he associated with poor circulation caused by the bedding. Bilak advised Plaintiff that the mattress was “a custody issue.” Id. She did not note any complaints or findings regarding an allergic condition. Id. at 19-20.

         Plaintiff filed a sick call slip on November 2, 2016, seeking a medical order to sleep on the floor to address his circulation issues. Id. at 21. Katrina Opel, R.N. saw Plaintiff on November 4, 2016. Id. at 22. Plaintiff told Opel that he wanted a medical order that allowed him to sleep on the floor: that he “like[d] sleeping on the floor because it [was] better for [his] circulation.” Id. Opel advised Plaintiff that sleeping on the floor was “a custody issue” and that “[c]ustody stated that they don't care if [Plaintiff] sleeps on the floor.” Id. Plaintiff did not report suffering from allergies and did not attribute his desire to sleep on the floor to issues with allergies. Id. at 22-23.

         On November 19, 2016, Plaintiff filed a sick call slip indicating he felt numbness when he slept on his bunk and requesting he be seen by a doctor and be provided a single cell. Med. Recs. 26. Bilak saw Plaintiff on November 25, 2016, for a routine examination. Id. at 24-25. The examination was unremarkable and Plaintiff did not raise any concerns at that time regarding allergies or issues sleeping in his bunk. Id.

         Mahboob Ashraf, M.D. evaluated Plaintiff for a scheduled chronic care clinic on December 15, 2016. Id. at 27-30. The doctor conducted a full examination and did not note any abnormalities or specific changes in Plaintiff's chronic health conditions; Plaintiff did not raise any concerns regarding allergies during the examination. Moreover, Dr. Ashraf did not make any clinical finding regarding allergies. Id.

         On January 1, 2017, Plaintiff submitted a sick call slip requesting to see the doctor due to poor circulation. Med. Recs. 31. It was noted that he had been evaluated by a physician on December 15, 2016. Id. Patricia Rose, R.N. evaluated Plaintiff on January 4, 2017. Id. at 32. Plaintiff expressed concern that his lower legs often swelled. She noted there was no evidence of ankle or leg edema present but also noted “1-2 plus pitting edem[a] noted.” Id. Palpable but faint pulses were observed with good capillary refill. Id. Plaintiff told the nurse that the swelling occurred when he touched plastic or metal. Id. The nurse referred Plaintiff to a provider and advised him to elevate his feet. Id. at 33.

         On January 4, 2017, Plaintiff submitted another sick call slip requesting to see a doctor due to swelling in his legs and knees. Durst Decl. & Recs. 15, ECF No. 19-2. It was again noted that Plaintiff had seen a physician on December 15 and the registered nurse on January 4, 2017, and a referral to the provider was pending. Id. On January 6, 2017, Plaintiff again submitted a sick call request indicating that he needed to see a doctor due to his allergies to metal and polyester. Durst Decl. & Recs. 14; Med. Recs. 34. He made a request to see an allergist. Id. On January 11, 2017, Plaintiff was seen by Bilak due to his complaints of an allergic reaction to metal and requests for a single cell. Durst Decl. & Recs. 8; Med. Recs. 35. Bilak noted that Plaintiff requested a single cell so that he could sleep on the floor. Med. Recs. 35-36. Plaintiff was advised that a single cell was not warranted and he left the ...

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