United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
JAMES E. HOUCK, #421-1323, #1474477 Plaintiff,
VINCENT SIRACUSANO, M.D. Defendant.
J. HAZEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant Vincent Siracusano, M.D.'s
Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 57. Plaintiff James
Houck filed an opposition to Defendant's Motion, ECF No.
60, self-titled filings captioned “Motion for Default
to Move Forward with Summary Judgment in my Favor, or Motion
for Punitive Damages or Money Damages, ” ECF No. 58,
“Motion for Claim for Punitive Damage or Money Damage,
” ECF No. 59, “Motion for Complaint for Relief,
” ECF No. 64, “Motion to Meet with
Defendant's Counsel, ” ECF No. 71, and various
other filings to supplement his Motions, ECF Nos. 61, 62, 63,
65, 66, 67, 68, 72-78.
considering the pleadings, exhibits, and applicable law, the
Court finds a hearing unnecessary to resolve the issues.
See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). Siracusano's
Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 57, shall be granted and
Houck's pending Motions, ECF Nos. 58, 59, 64, 71, 75 will
procedural history and facts of this case were summarized in
the Memorandum Opinion, ECF No. 50, issued by the Court on
August 15, 2017. The Court incorporates that Memorandum
Opinion here, and shall repeat the history and facts of this
matter only as necessary to resolve the pending issues.
is an inmate incarcerated at Western Correctional Institution
(“WCI”). Siracusano, a psychiatrist, prescribed
psychotropic medication for Houck to treat his
schizoaffective disorder. ECF No. 35 at 5. Houck claims he
was prescribed Risperdal“for a long
time” for his bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, which
caused him to develop gynecomastia or enlargement of male
breasts, stomach discomfort, and blurred vision. ECF Nos. 1,
3. Houck documents that he was prescribed Risperidone (brand
name Risperdal) at WCI, and that he requested to be taken off
the medication. Id. ECF No. 25-3; ECF No. 50 n. 2;
see also ECF No. 33 at 2, ECF No. 2, ECF No. 37.
Memorandum Opinion issued with its August 15, 2017 Order, the
Court found Houck had stated a plausible claim for relief. In
denying Siracusano's Motion to Dismiss, the Court noted
there were unresolved questions as to whether Houck had
alerted Siracusano to the negative side effects of the
medication; when Siracusano was alerted to Houck's
medical concerns; what actions Siracusano took in response to
the concerns; whether Houck was forcibly administered
Risperdal or able to decline the medication; and, whether
Siracusano's actions in allegedly continuing the
prescription, despite Houck's concerns, amounted to
deliberate indifference. ECF No. 50 at 12-13. The Court
scheduled a deadline for Siracusano to file a dispositive
pleading or to advise as to the anticipated duration of
trial, ECF No. 51, and Siracusano filed the Motion for
Summary Judgment now under consideration.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the Court must draw
all justifiable inferences in the non-moving party's
favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 255 (1986) (citing Adickes v. S.H. Kress &
Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59 (1970)). Once a motion for
summary judgment is properly made and supported, the opposing
party has the burden of showing that a genuine dispute
exists. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). “[T]he mere
existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties
will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for
summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no
genuine issue of material fact.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48 (emphasis in original).
A “material fact” is one that might affect the
outcome of a party's case. Id. at 248; see
JKC Holding Co. v. Wash. Sports Ventures, Inc., 264 F.3d
459, 465 (4th Cir. 2001) (citing Hooven-Lewis v.
Caldera, 249 F.3d 259, 265 (4th Cir. 2001)).
party opposing a properly supported motion for summary
judgment ‘may not rest upon the mere allegations or
denials of [her] pleadings,' but rather must ‘set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial.' ” Bouchat v. Balt. Ravens Football
Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 525 (4th Cir. 2003)
(alteration in original) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). The
Court should “view the evidence in the light most
favorable to . . . the nonmovant, and draw all inferences in
[her] favor without weighing the evidence or assessing the
witness' credibility.” Dennis v. Columbia
Colleton Med. Ctr., Inc., 290 F.3d 639, 644-45 (4th Cir.
2002). The court must, however, also abide by the
“affirmative obligation of the trial judge to prevent
factually unsupported claims and defenses from proceeding to
trial.” Bouchat, 346 F.3d at 526 (quoting
Drewitt v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774, 778-79 (4th Cir.
parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment, the
Court “must consider each motion separately on its own
merits to determine whether either of the parties deserves
judgment as a matter of law.” Bacon v. City of
Richmond, 475 F.3d 633, 637-38 (4th Cir. 2007) (internal
quotation marks omitted). “‘Both motions must be
denied if the court finds that there is a genuine dispute of
material fact.[ ] But if there is no genuine dispute and one
or the other party is entitled to prevail as a matter of law,
the court will render judgment.[ ]'” Hicks v.
Stanford, No. ELH-14-928, 2016 WL 7426139, at *5 (D. Md.
Dec. 23, 2016) (quoting 10A C. WRIGHT & A. MILLER, FED.
PRACTICE & PROCEDURE, § 2720 (4th ed.)).
federal court must liberally construe pleadings filed by
pro se litigants to allow them to fully develop
potentially meritorious cases. See Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Cruz v. Beto,
405 U.S. 319 (1972). The requirement of liberal construction
does not mean the Court can ignore a clear failure in the
pleadings to allege facts which set forth a claim. See
Weller v. Department of Social Services, 901 F.2d 387,
391 (4th Cir. 1990). The Court cannot assume the existence of
a genuine issue of material fact where none exists.
asserts that he is entitled to summary judgment in his favor
because Houck cannot establish that Siracusano acted with
deliberate indifference to Houck's medical needs. In
support of his Motion, Siracusano has submitted his
declaration under oath, ...