United States District Court, D. Maryland
PAUL W. GRIMM UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
March 14, 2018, the Department of Public Safety and
Correctional Services was directed to show cause why
injunctive relief should not be granted regarding Plaintiff
Jeff Farmer's claim that his life was endangered by
correctional officers who refused to put him in protective
custody. ECF No. 6. Thereafter, Mr. Farmer filed an Amended
Complaint, Am. Compl., ECF 10, and Defendants filed a
response to the show cause order, Defs.' Resp. to Show
Cause, ECF No. 12. In addition, Mr. Farmer moves for an
extension of time to amend the complaint, for appointment of
counsel, and for injunctive relief. Pl.'s Mot., ECF 11.
Although service of the complaint, as amended and
supplemented, has not yet been directed by the Court, counsel
have entered their appearance on behalf of Wexford Health
Source, Inc., Dr. Orioku Ijoma, Dr. Clem, and Bruce Ford. ECF
Nos. 13-15. Because Mr. Farmer is pursuing identical claims
against Wexford Health Source, Inc., Dr. Ijoma, Dr. Clem, and
Mr. Ford in a separate litigation, these defendants will be
dismissed and their motion for extension of time to respond,
ECF No. 16, and motion to dismiss, ECF No. 18, will be denied
as moot. Plaintiff has not demonstrated he is likely to
succeed on the merits, and therefore, his request for
injunctive relief shall be denied. Further, service of the
remaining claims shall take place as set out in the
Litigation on Medical Treatment
Farmer v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc., No.
PWG-17-346 (“Farmer I ”),
Farmer raised the following claims against medical care
providers: he was denied back surgery and effective pain
management pending the surgery; his prescription for pain
medication was cut in half for non-medical reasons; his
allergy medication was changed to something less effective;
and he had not received treatment for a shoulder injury
sustained during a fall from a prison van. Farmer I
Compl., ECF No. 1 in PWG-17-346. Defendants motion for
summary judgment was granted in part and denied in part the
remaining and dismissed claims were as follows:
• Claims [against] Drs. Onabajo, Obsu, and
Wright regarding failure to provide prescribed
testing to determine cause of chronic back and
• Claim against Wexford Health Sources, Inc.
regarding failure to approve or make arrangements
for full treatment and diagnosis of chronic back
and shoulder pain
• All claims concerning changes in medication.
• All claims against Rebecca Barnhardt, RN and
Jonathan Thompson, MD
Farmer I Mem. Op. 23, ECF No. 42 in PWG-17-346.
Counsel was appointed for Plaintiff for the resolution of the
remaining claims. Farmer I Order Appt. Counsel, ECF
No. 44 in PWG-17-346.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Bruce Ford, P.A., has
discontinued pain medications, delayed his receipt of an MRI,
cut off allergy medications, and has postponed needed surgery
for Plaintiffs shoulder and back; that Dr. Ijoma refused to
explain why Plaintiffs surgery has been delayed, denied an
increase in prescribed pain medications and told Plaintiff to
buy over-the-counter medications in the commissary, and lied
about getting his allergy medications returned; and that Dr.
Clem supervises Dr. Ford and Dr. Ijoma but has failed to
correct their errors. Am. Compl. Facts 22-31, ECF No. 10-1.
These claims may not be litigated anew in this case. To the
extent that the claims name new Defendants or differ slightly
from the claims litigated in Farmer I, raising them
in a new complaint is still prohibited. “The rule
against claim splitting ‘prohibits a plaintiff from
prosecuting [his] case piecemeal and requires that all claims
arising out of a single wrong be presented in one
action.'” Lee v. Norfolk S. Ry. Co., 802
F.3d 626, 635 (4th Cir. 2015) (quoting Sensormatic Sec.
Corp. v. Sensormatic Elecs. Corp., 273 Fed. App'x.
256, 265 (4th Cir. 2008)).
entered their appearance in this case on behalf of Wexford
Health Source, Inc., Dr. Orioku Ijoma, Dr. Clem, and Bruce
Ford, and moved for an extension of time to respond to
Farmer's request for injunctive relief. ECF No. 16.
Service of the Complaint has not been directed by this Court
and, upon review, the need for a response to the claims
asserted against these defendants is obviated. As the same or
related claims against Defendants Wexford Health Source,
Inc., Dr. Orioku Ijoma, Dr. Clem, and Bruce Ford are being
pursued in Farmer I, these defendants are dismissed
from this case, see Lee, 802 F.3d at 635, and their
motions to dismiss, ECF No. 18 and for an extension of time,
ECF No. 16, are denied as moot.
against Judicial Officials and Employees
Farmer names Robert Duckworth, Clerk of the Circuit Court for
Anne Arundel County and Theodore Phoebus, Clerk of the
Circuit Court for Somerset County as Defendants. Am. Compl.
Facts 3-4, 7. He alleges that Mr. Duckworth refused to
“comply with [his] occupational duties/responsibilities
and instead of justice only offered hindrance and
interference.” Id. at 3. Mr. Farmer alleges
that he repeatedly filed motions in the court to
“preserve and send [him a] copy of the video
footage” of an incident on November 26, 2015, where he
claims he was assaulted by Officer W. Taylor when he slammed
another inmate's wheelchair down on his foot.
Id. Farmer also faults the judge who denied his
motions, but does not name him as a Defendant. Id.
The claim against Mr. Phoebus is less clear as Farmer simply
states that Mr. Phoebus and Judge Daniel Long of Somerset County Circuit
Court were “notified of my intention to file
claim” “but chose to disregard my attempts to
have the courts help in this matter just as they had done in
numerous other cases many times previously.”
Id. at 4.
claims against Mr. Duckworth and Mr. Phoebus are frivolous
and must be dismissed. These claims in essence seek to impose
liability on the basis of the content of the judge's
decisions denying Mr. Farmer's motions or dismissing his
cases and are barred by judicial immunity. See Forrester
v. White, 484 U.S. 219, 226-27 (1988). It is the
“nature of the function performed, not the identity of
the actor who performed it” that determines whether
absolute immunity applies to bar a claim. Id. at
229. Mr. Farmer's attempt to sue Mr. Duckworth and Mr.
Phoebus for their roles in enforcing decisions by a state
court judge, who denied Mr. Farmer's motions, therefore
must be dismissed.
Supplement, and Amended Complaint
the Complaint, ECF No. 1 and Supplement to the Complaint, ECF
No. 5, concern incidents occurring at Eastern Correctional
Institution (“ECI”) beginning December 20, 2017,
and raise the following new claims: that Officer Pedro and
Lt. Elliott assaulted Mr. Farmer; that Mr. Farmer was
convicted of a “fraudulent” disciplinary
violation written by Officer Healey and Lt. Elliott; that he
was denied access to the administrative remedy procedure
(“ARP”); that he was denied showers and meals
while confined to segregation; that Officer Christopher
harassed him and refused to remove inmates who pose a threat
to Mr. Farmer from his cell; and that Mr. Farmer was
assaulted by three unnamed gang members on July 13, 2017, and
that subsequently officers have failed to keep
Plaintiff's reports regarding the attack confidential
from other inmates. Id. Mr. Farmer has amended his
complaint by filing 42 pages of allegations including some
reaching back to 2015, claims concerning conditions at ECI;
and the medical claims that were and are being litigated in
Farmer I. See Am. Compl. Facts 22-31. Mr.
Farmer's claims regarding his treatment at ECI and the
alleged attacks by officers and gang members will proceed for
a response from those Defendants.