United States District Court, D. Maryland
HADDEN I. CLARK[] Plaintiff
MR. RICKY FOXWELL, WARDEN Defendant
RICHARD D. BENNETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
response to this civil rights complaint Defendant Warden
Ricky Foxwell filed a Motion to Dismiss or for Summary
Judgment. ECF 16. Plaintiff opposes the motion via a Motion
for Appropriate Relief. ECF 19. The Court deems a hearing
unnecessary for the resolution of the matters pending before
it. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the
reasons that follow. Defendant's motion, construed as a
Motion to Dismiss, shall be GRANTED and Plaintiffs Motion for
Appropriate Relief shall be DENIED.
Hadden Clark, an inmate confined to Eastern Correctional
Institution (ECI), claims that following his transfer to ECI
from Western Correctional Institution (WCI) he has not
received appropriate medical care. Specifically, he claims
that he is not receiving the same type of medical care at ECI
that he was receiving at WCI, that he is a chronic care
patient, and medical staff at ECI have taken away all of his
prescriptions for his "heart, eyes, sinus, etc."
ECF 1 at p. 2. He claims the actions of the medical staff in
refusing to renew his medications and refusing to examine him
on one occasion when he complained about a rash on his groin
amount to discrimination against him because of the nature of
his crimes. ECF 1-2 at pp. 3-4. He further avers that
because he is retired from the United States Navy, the
Maryland Department of Corrections is supposed to give him
all of his medical care. Id. at pp. 1-2, and 4.
Plaintiff claims female nurses and female doctors are
refusing to provide him with medical care. Id. at p.
relief, Plaintiff seeks reimbursement of the filing fee for
this case, $45, 000 in damages against Warden Foxwell, and a
transfer to another medium security protective-custody
facility "since ECI Medical Dept doesn't want to
provide me with the same medical care I would get from the
V.A. Hospital." ECF 1 at p. 3.
reviewing the complaint in light of a Motion to Dismiss
pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6) the court accepts all
well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true and
construes the facts and reasonable inferences derived
therefrom in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Venkatraman v. REI Sys., Inc., 417 F.3d 418, 420
(4th Cir. 2005) (citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v.
Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)); Ibarra
v. United States, 120 F.3d 472, 473 (4th Cir. 1997).
Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires
only a "short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief." Migdal v.
Rowe Price-Fleming Ml Inc., 248 F.3d 321, 325-26 (4th
Cir. 2001); see also Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A.,
534 U.S. 506, 513 (2002) (stating that a complaint need only
satisfy the "simplified pleading standard" of Rule
Supreme Court of the United States explained a
"plaintiffs obligation to provide the
"grounds" of his "entitlement to relief
requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555 (2007) (internal citations omitted). Nonetheless, the
complaint does not need "detailed factual
allegations" to survive a motion to dismiss.
Id. at 555. Instead, "once a claim has been
stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of
facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint."
Id. at 563. To survive a motion to dismiss, "a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'" Ashcroft v, Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 677-78 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570). "A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678. "But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the
court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct,
the complaint has alleged -- but it has not 'show[n]'
-- 'that the pleader is entitled to relief"
Id. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).
a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by
showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in
the complaint." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563
(citing Sanjuan v. Am. Bd. of Psychiatry and Neurology,
Inc., 40 F.3d, 247, 251 (7th Cir. 1994)) (once a claim
for relief has been stated, a plaintiff 'receives the
benefit of imagination, so long as the hypotheses are
consistent with the complaint').
Eighth Amendment prohibits "unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain" by virtue of its guarantee against
cruel and unusual punishment. Gregg v. Georgia, 428
U.S. 153, 173 (1976); see also Hope v. Pelzer, 536
U.S. 730, 737 (2002); Scinto v. Stansberry, 841 F.3d
219, 225 (4th Cir. 2016); King v. Rubenstein, 825
F.3d 206, 218 (4th Cir. 2016). "Scrutiny under the
Eighth Amendment is not limited to those punishments
authorized by statute and imposed by a criminal
judgment." De'Lonta v. Angelone, 330 F.3d
630, 633 (4th Cir. 2003) (citing Wilson v. Setter,
501 U.S. 294, 297 (1991)); accord Anderson v.
Kingsley, 877 F.3d 539, 543 (4th Cir. 2017). In order to
state an Eighth Amendment claim for denial of medical care, a
plaintiff must demonstrate that the actions of the
defendants, or their failure to act, amounted to deliberate
indifference to a serious medical need. See Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); see also
Anderson, 877 F.3d at 543. Deliberate indifference to a
serious medical need requires proof that, objectively, the
prisoner plaintiff was suffering from a serious medical need
and that, subjectively, the prison staff were aware of the
need for medical attention but failed to either provide it or
ensure it was available. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511
U.S. 825, 834-7 (1994); see also Heyer v. U.S. Bureau of
Prisons, 849 F.3d 202, 209-10 (4th Cir. 2017); King
v. Rubenstein, 825 F.3d 206, 218 (4th Cir. 2016);
Iko v. Shreve, 535 F.3d 225, 241 (4th Cir. 2008).
Objectively, the medical condition at issue must be serious.
See Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9 (1992) (there
is no expectation that prisoners will be provided with
unqualified access to health care); Jackson v.
Lightsey, 775 F.3d 170, 178 (4th Cir. 2014). Proof of an
objectively serious medical condition, however, does not end
subjective component requires "subjective
recklessness" in the face of the serious medical
condition. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 839,
40 (1994); see also Anderson v. Kingsley, 877 F.3d
539, 544 (4th Cir. 2017). Under this standard, "the
prison official must have both 'subjectively recognized a
substantial risk of harm' and 'subjectively
recognized that his[/her] actions were inappropriate in light
of that risk.'" Anderson, 877 F.3d at 545
(quoting Parrish ex rel. Lee v. Cleveland, 372 F.3d
294, 303 (4th Cir. 2004)); see also Rich v. Bruce,
129 F.3d 336, 340 n.2 (4th Cir. 1997) ("True subjective
recklessness requires knowledge both of the general risk, and
also that the conduct is inappropriate in light of that
risk."). "Actual knowledge or awareness on the part
of the alleged inflicter . . . becomes essential to proof of
deliberate indifference because 'prison officials who
lacked knowledge of a risk cannot be said to have inflicted
punishment." Brice v. Va. Beach Corr. Ctr., 58
F.3d 101, 105 (4th Cir. 1995) (quoting Farmer, 511
U.S. at 844). The subjective knowledge requirement can be met
through direct evidence of actual knowledge or through
circumstantial evidence tending to establish such knowledge,
including evidence "that a prison official knew of a
substantial risk from the very fact that the risk was
obvious." Scinto v. Stansberry, 841 F.3d 219,
226 (4th Cir. 2016) (quoting Farmer, 511 U.S. at
842). If the requisite subjective knowledge is established,
an official may avoid liability "if [he] responded
reasonably to the risk, even if the harm ultimately was not
averted." Farmer, 511 U.S. at 844; see also
Cox v. Quinn, 828 F.3d 227, 236 (4th Cir. 2016)
("[A] prison official's response to a known threat
to inmate safety must be reasonable.")-Reasonableness of
the actions taken must be judged in light of the risk the
defendant actually knew at the time. See Brown v.
Harris, 240 F.3d 383, 390 (4th Cir. 2001) (citing
Liebe v. Norton, 157 F.3d 574, 578 (8th Cir. 1998)
(focus must be on precautions actually taken in light of
suicide risk, not those that could have been taken)) see
also Jackson v. Lightsey, 775 F.3d 170, 179 (4th Cir.
2014) (physician's act of prescribing treatment raises
fair inference that he believed treatment was necessary and
that failure to provide it would pose an excessive risk).
only named Defendant in this case is Warden Foxwell, but the
complaint contains no allegation against Foxwell indicating
that he either prevented Plaintiffs medical care or otherwise
interfered with prescribed care. Further, Foxwell avers in
his declaration under oath that he has no personal
involvement in the provision of medical care to inmates;
rather, the private medical care contractor is responsible
for overseeing those matters. ECF 16 at Ex. 1. "Section
1983 liability on the part of. . . supervisory defendants
requires a showing that: (1) the supervisory defendants
failed promptly to provide an inmate with needed medical
care; (2) that the supervisory defendants deliberately
interfered with the prison doctors' performance; or (3)
that the supervisory defendants tacitly authorized or were
indifferent to the prison physicians' constitutional
violations." Miltier v. Beorn, 896 F.2d 848,
854 (4th Cir. 1990) (internal citations omitted),
abrogated on other grounds by Farmer v. Brennan, 511
U.S. 825, 837 (1994); see also Slakan v. Porter, 131
F.2d 368, 372-73 (4th Cir. 1984) (discussing supervisory
liability for an inmate's beating by prison guards);
King v. Rubenstein, 825 F.3d 206, 224 (4th Cir.
2016). Here there is no allegation, let alone evidence, that
Foxwell engaged in any conduct that would expose him to
supervisory liability. Thus, the complaint fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted and must be dismissed.
extent that Plaintiff simply named the wrong Defendant, his
claim, even if it were raised against an appropriate party,
still fails. The right to treatment is "limited to that
which may be provided upon a reasonable cost and time basis
and the essential test is one of medical necessity
and not simply that which may be considered merely
desirable." United States v. Clawson, 650 F.3d
530, 538 (4th Cir. 2011) (emphasis added) (quoting
Bowring v. Godwin,551 F.2d 44, 47-48 (4th Cir.
1977)). "[A]n inadvertent failure to provide adequate
medical care" does not amount to deliberate
indifference." Estelle v. Gamble,429 U.S. 97,
105-06 (1976); accord Anderson v. Kingsley, 877 F.3d
539, 543 (4th Cir. 2017) ("It is obduracy and
wantonness, not inadvertence or error in good faith, that
characterize the conduct prohibited by the Cruel and Unusual
Punishments Clause."). "Disagreements between an
inmate and a physician over the inmate's proper medical
care do not state a § 1983 claim unless exceptional
circumstances are alleged." Wright v. Collins,766 F.2d 841, 849 (4th Cir. 1985) (citing Gittlemacker v.
Prasse,428 F.2d 1, 6 (3d Cir. 1970)); accord
Jackson v. Lightsey,775 F.3d 170, 178 (4th Cir. 2014)
("[W]e have consistently found such disagreements to
fall short of showing deliberate indifference.")-
Plaintiffs belief he is entitled to the same medical care he
would be provided at a V.A. Hospital has no basis in law.