United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the Medical
Defendants, Nurse Practitioner Janette Clark
(“Clark”), Nurse Practitioner Krista Self
(“Self, ” also known as Krista Bilak or Krista
Swan), and Registered Nurse Robert Claycomb
(“Claycomb”). (ECF No. 21). The Court, having
reviewed the Motions and supporting documents, finds no
hearing necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md.
2016). For the reasons outlined below, the Court will grant
the Motion to Strike Surreply and will grant the Medical
Defendants' dispositive Motion.
Complaint filed August 31, 2017, Plaintiff Andrew Joseph
Dicks, a Maryland prisoner currently incarcerated at Patuxent
Institution in Jessup (“Patuxent”), alleged
unconstitutional conditions of confinement and denial of
medical care, in violation of his First, Fourth, Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights. (Compl. at 3, ECF No. 1).
Dicks' allegations, for which he seeks money damages and
injunctive relief, are directed at correctional and medical
personnel employed at North Branch Correctional Institution
(“NBCI”) and encompass a period between October
7, 2014 and October of 2017,  prior to his transfer from NBCI
states that on July 4, 2015, he slipped while climbing into
his top bunk, injuring his neck and shoulder and exacerbating
his chronic back pain. (Id. at 17). He claims he
never should have been assigned a top bunk, due to a 2012
knee injury requiring him to use a cane. (Id.).
Dicks claims he reported his injury to medical personnel who
gave him four Motrin and an x-ray, but provided no further
diagnostic testing. (Id. at 18). Corrections
personnel kept him from a July 9, 2015 follow-up visit.
(Id.). He renewed his sick call request on July 20,
2015, and was seen by Clark on July 28, 2015. (Id.
at 19). Clark discussed the x-ray results, suggested Dicks
try yoga stretching, and provided no further assessment.
states that after the July 4, 2015 injury, medical personnel
did not provide an order mandating his assignment to a bottom
bunk, and Claycomb refused his September 12, 2015 request for
a bottom bunk. Dicks claims he slept on the floor of his cell
from the date of his injury until October 26, 2015.
(Id. at 19-20).
claims that on January 11, 2016, Bilak responded to his sick
call request concerning neck and shoulder pain. He claims
Bilak did not address his neck and shoulder pain, but
increased the medications he used to alleviate his back
spasms. (Id. at 20). Dicks states that his March 3,
2016 sick call request was answered on March 23, 2016. At
that visit, he was promised back pain treatment and physical
therapy, but neither modality was provided. (Id.).
Medical Defendants provide a somewhat different
interpretation of Dicks' medical care. Dicks, in his
mid-forties, suffers from esophageal reflux, back pain, neck
pain, hypertension, dermatitis, and bipolar disorder.
(See generally Joubert Aff., ECF No. 21-5).
to the Complaint, on July 4, 2015, Dicks reported to the
medical unit and was seen by Registered Nurse Tammy Buser.
(Defs.' Mot. Dismiss Summ. J. Ex. 1 at 2- 3, ECF No.
21-4). Buser assessed his gait as steady, but noted he was
bent over. (Id.). Dicks could move his shoulder and
extend his arm, but felt pain. His neck and upper back also
hurt, and was stiff when moving his head and neck.
(Id.). Buser determined the injury was muscular, but
ordered x-rays, provided Motrin, and referred Dicks to a
provider. (Id.). X-rays shows mild degenerative
changes in the right shoulder with no evidence of an acute
fracture, dislocation, or subluxation. (Id., at 4).
24, 2015, Dicks reported to nurse sick call complaining of
neck and should pain so severe he could barely lift his arms.
(Id. at 6). Palpation shows right side pain and
slight swelling was present. Dicks was in handcuffs and could
not demonstrate range of motion, but stated he could use the
arm normally. He was referred to a provider. (Id.).
days later, on July 28, 2015, Dicks was seen by Clark, who
reviewed his x-rays. He reported the right should still hurt.
At the time, Dicks was taking prescription medications,
including Tegretol, Mobic, Naproxen, and Baclofen.
(Id. at 7-8). He reported this combination of
medications helped, and no changes to this medication regimen
were made. (Id.). Examination revealed right
shoulder had anterior tenderness, normal extremities, and no
kyphosis or scoliosis (curvature) of the spine. Clark
suggested Dicks try some yoga books in the library for ideas
on how to stretch his muscles and alleviate his stiffness.
September 9, 2015, Dicks met with Self to review lab results,
adjust his chronic back pain medications, and issue an order
for clippers for one year (rather than a razor), for shaving
to mitigate atopic dermatitis rash. (Id. at 9-10).
Self noted Dicks was on a minimum dose of Mobic and Naproxen,
which would be increased before other medications would be
changed. Dicks' prescription dose for Mobic was increased
from 7.5mg to 15mg, and the Naproxen dose was increased from
250 mg to 500 mg. (Id.). Dicks voiced no complaint
specific to his neck, shoulder or back. (Id.).
days later, on September 12, 2015, Dicks was seen at nurse
sick call by Claycomb, to obtain paper work for use of the
clippers and to request a bottom bunk. (Id. at
11-12). Dicks, who complained of gastric reflux, walked with
a steady gait and was able to get on and off the exam table
without difficulty. He stated he used Prilosec twice daily
for heartburn, even though the prescription was only for once
daily. Dicks had an esophagogastroduodenoscopy
(“EGD”) in 2009 and wanted another, due to right
neck pain with swallowing and right chest burning during and
after eating. (Id.). He was referred to a provider
to obtain an order for the bottom bunk and EGD testing.
September 27, 2015, Dicks complained to Claycomb at nurse
sick call that his Baclofen prescription had not been
increased. (Id. at 13-14). He was informed that his
Naproxen was increased instead, a decision Dicks said was not
supposed to happen. He showed no acute distress and had a
steady gait. Dicks was referred to a provider for evaluation.
November 13, 2015, Dicks complained to Dr. Ashraf of a sore
throat, and requested the renewal of all his medications.
(Id. at 15-16). The medications were all current,
with the exception ...