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Bell v. Department of Public Safety and Correctional Service

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 27, 2018

KENT BELL, #451565, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, [1]et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          George L. Russell, III, United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services' (“DPSCS”) Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 17) and Defendants Erwin Aldana, M.D. and Jonathan Thompson, M.D.'s, (collectively, “the Medical Defendants”) Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 19). Also pending before the Court is the Medical Defendants' Motion to Strike Surreply (ECF No. 23) and Plaintiff Kent Bell's “Motion for Court to [Accept] Surreply” (ECF No. 24). The Motions are ripe for disposition, and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2016). For the reasons outlined below, the Court will grant DPSCS's and the Medical Defendants' Motions to Dismiss. The Court will deny as moot the Medical Defendants' Motion to Strike and Bell's Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND[2]

         Bell is incarcerated at the Maryland Correctional Training Center (“MCTC”) in Hagerstown, Maryland. (Am. Compl. at 1, ECF No. 5).[3] Bell alleges that he was denied his diabetes medication, metformin (Glucophage), for sixty-two days from February 2, 2017 to April 1, 2017. (Id. at 2). This, he pleads, had a “direct effect” on his eyes, kidneys and nerves.” (Compl. at 2, ECF No. 1). Bell states that he filed eleven or twelve sick call slips “to no avail.” (Am. Compl. at 2). Bell also alleges that he wrote a letter on an unspecified date to Dr. Thompson and to RN Pitsnagel at MCTC, but he does not specify what he said in the letter. (Id.). Bell pleads that he filed Administrative Remedy Procedure (“ARP”) requests to Warden Dovey on March 2, 2017 and March 9, 2017. (Id.).

         On September 11, 2017, Bell filed this action against the DPSCS and MCTC Medical Staff. (ECF No. 1). On September 22, 2017, the Court directed Bell to supplement the Complaint to include the names of the individuals whom he claims are responsible for the alleged wrongdoing, the dates of the alleged incidents, and the facts supporting his claim. (Sept. 22, 2017 Order at 1, ECF No. 4). Bell filed an Amended Complaint on October 6, 2017, which added Dr. Aldana, Dr. Thompson, and “RN Pitsnagel.”[4] (Am. Compl. at 1-2). The Court construes Bell's Amended Complaint as bringing two counts: (1) violations of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs; and (2) medical malpractice. (See Am. Compl.). Bell seeks compensatory damages “for pain and suffering as relief for malpractice.” (Id. at 3).

         On January 12, 2018, DPSCS filed a Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 17). Bell filed an Opposition to DPSCS's Motion on January 24, 2018.[5] (ECF No. 21). To date, the Court has no record that DPSCS filed a Reply.

         On January 18, 2018, the Medical Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 19). Bell filed an Opposition to the Medical Defendants' Motion on January 31, 2018.[6] (ECF No. 22). To date, the Court has no record that the Medical Defendants filed a Reply.

         On February 2, 2018, the Medical Defendants filed a Motion to Strike Bell's Opposition. (ECF No. 23). Bell has filed a Motion styled as a “Motion for Court to [Accept] Surreply” on February 14, 2018. (ECF No. 24).[7] Neither Motion is opposed.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. The Medical Defendants' Motion to Strike and Bell's “Motion to [Accept] Surreply”

         The Medical Defendants assert that Bell filed an opposition to their dispositive motion on January 24, 2018, and then filed a surreply on January 31, 2018. (Mot. Strike Surreply at 1-2, ECF No. 23). Under Local Rule 105.2 (D.Md. 2016), surreply memoranda are not permitted unless ordered by the Court. A surreply may be permitted “when the moving party would be unable to contest the matters presented to the court for the first time in the opposing party's reply.” Khoury v. Meserve, 268 F.Supp.2d 600, 605 (D.Md. 2003) (citing Lewis v. Rumsfeld, 154 F.Supp.2d 56, 61 (D.D.C. 2001)). The Medical Defendants assert they did not file a reply and raise new arguments. (Mot. Strike at 2). A careful reading of Bell's filings, however, shows that his first Opposition, (ECF No. 21), was filed in response to DPSCS's Motion. The second Opposition, (ECF No. 22), listed on the docket as a “Reply” is an Opposition to the Medical Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. Bell's “Motion to [Accept] Surreply” also suggests that Bell intended that the filings to respond to DPSCS's and the Medical Defendants' Motions separately. (Mot. Leave File Surreply at 1, ECF No. 24). The Court will, therefore, direct the Clerk to correct the docket to reflect that ECF No. 21 is a Response in Opposition to DPSCS's Motion to Dismiss, (ECF No. 17), and that Bell's Reply, docketed at ECF No. 22, is a Response in Opposition to the Medical Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 19). Accordingly, having determined that Bell did not file a surreply, the Court will deny as moot the Motion to Strike and the “Motion to [Accept] Surreply.”

         B. Defendants' Motions

         1. Conversion of the Medical Defendants' Motion

         The Medical Defendants style their Motion as a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) or, in the alternative, for summary judgment under Rule 56. A motion styled in this manner implicates the Court's discretion under Rule 12(d). See KensingtonVolunteer Fire Dep't., Inc. v. Montgomery Cty., 788 F.Supp.2d 431, 436-37 (D.Md. 2011), aff'd, 684 F.3d 462 (4th Cir. 2012). This Rule provides that when “matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the [Rule 12(b)(6)] motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). The Court “has ‘complete discretion to determine whether or not to accept the submission of any material beyond the pleadings that is offered in conjunction with a Rule 12(b)(6) motion and rely on it, thereby converting the motion, or to reject it or ...


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