United States District Court, D. Maryland
STEVEN M. JOHNSON, #155-865, Plaintiff,
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., DR. AVA JOUBERT, TERRI DAVIS, P.A., N.P. JANETTE CLARK, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, DAYENA M. CORCORAN, SHARON BAUCOM, Defendants.
Xinis United States District Judge.
M. Johnson, an inmate presently incarcerated at Western
Correctional Institution (“WCI”) in Cumberland,
Maryland, originally brought this action in the Baltimore
City District Court against Wexford Health Sources, Inc.
(“Wexford”), Ava Joubert, M.D., Terri Davis,
P.A., and Janette Clark, N.P (collectively, “Medical
Defendants”). ECF No. 2. Johnson claimed that the
Medical Defendants have conspired to deny him medication and
medical treatment. Id. On April 16, 2018, the
Medical Defendants removed the matter to this Court, where
the Complaint was construed as alleging violations of
Johnson's civil rights, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. ECF No. 1.
17, 2018, the Medical Defendants moved to dismiss the claims
or, alternatively for summary judgment in their favor. (ECF
No. 33). In light of the Medical Defendants' dispositive
motion, Johnson moved to amend his Complaint to add the
Department of Corrections (“DPSCS”), former
Commissioner of Corrections Dayena M. Corcoran, and DPSCS
Medical Director Sharon Baucom (collectively,
“Correctional Defendants”) as Defendants. ECF No.
49. The Court granted Johnson's motion (ECF No. 52), and
the Correctional Defendants moved to dismiss or for summary
judgment in their favor. ECF No. 74. Johnson has responded
and submitted several supplements to those
responses. ECF Nos. 74, 76, 79, 82. After review of
the record, exhibits, and applicable law, the Court deems a
hearing unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.
2018). Defendants' motions shall be granted.
originally brought this action on December 28, 2017, alleging
that the Medical Defendants conspired to deny him medication
and treatment. ECF No. 2. Based on his numerous filings, it
appears that Johnson's chief complaint is the delay and
lapse in his receipt of the medication Neurontin.
to the Medical Defendants, Johnson, a 60-year-old inmate at
WCI, suffers from significant and degenerative joint disease,
temporomandibular joint disorder and shoulder arthropathy,
idiopathic peripheral neuropathy, esophageal reflux, Diabetes
Type II, rhinitis and hyperlipidemia, and a history for
depressive disorder. ECF No. 33-5 at &4. While
incarcerated, Johnson had been receiving Neurontin for
diabetic neuropathy and neuropathic pain related to
degenerative disc disease of the spine. ECF Nos. 33-4, 33-5.
He also received steroid injections for his shoulder and
joint disorder. Id.
August 29, 2017, Johnson saw Terri Davis, P.A. during a sick
call visit for his chronic back pain. ECF No. 33-4 at 3-4.
Johnson requested an increase in the dosage of Neurontin from
his currently prescribed dosage of 800mg. Johnson also
complained the that prescribed Tylenol gets stuck in his
esophagus. Id. Davis changed his Tylenol
prescription to smaller capsules to be taken twice daily and
continued the Neurontin prescription with no change in
September 19, 2017, Johnson saw Peggy Mahler, N.P. at chronic
care clinic. Id. at 5-10. Mahler noted that
Johnson's polyneuropathy has been treated and controlled,
as reported by Johnson, by 800mg twice daily Neurontin and
Tylenol. Id. Mahler renewed those prescriptions.
Id. On October 12, 2017, Johnson again saw Mahler
during a sick call visit for complaints of pain in his feet
due to diabetic neuropathy. Id. at 11-13. Mahler
advised Johnson to continue his medications and to follow up
if the condition worsens or if there is no improvement within
a few days. Id. On November 14, 2017, Dr. Joubert
ordered a chest x-ray for Johnson due to reports of a
persistent cough. Id. at 14-15. An x-ray performed
on November 21, 2017, revealed no acute cardiopulmonary
disease. Id. at 16.
December 22, 2017, Defendant Clark saw Johnson at the chronic
care clinic. Id. at 17-24. At that time, Clark noted
that Johnson had cervical and lumbar disc degeneration, a
history of a left zygomatic arch fracture with plating, left
arm dyesthesia, moderate degenerative joint disease, and
multilevel mild scoliosis. Id. Clark ordered a
tapering dose of Neurontin and offered alternative
medication, which Johnson refused. Id.
initiated this lawsuit on December 28, 2017. On January 5,
2018, Johnson saw Krista Self, N.P. during a scheduled
medical visit. Id. at 25-28. Self prescribed
Tramadol 50mg twice daily for pain. Id. On January
7, 2018, Clark saw Johnson for his annual physical exam.
Id. at 29-35. Johnson's exam was unremarkable
except the nurse noted tenderness in the lumbar region of his
spine. Id. Clark discontinued Johnson's
prescription for Neurontin and prescribed
Cymbalta and Medrol for pain. Id.
February 2, 2018, Clark saw Johnson during a sick call visit
following Johnson's complaints of persistent lower back
pain radiating to his thighs. Id. at 36-39. Johnson
reported that Neurontin was the only medication that
alleviated his pain. Id. Johnson also reported that
Cymbalta caused nausea, chest pain, numbness, and drowsiness;
Elavil made him too sleepy; Tegretol made him sick to his
stomach and did not improve pain; Medrol did not help pain;
Mobic and Motrin induced allergic reactions, chest pain, and
bloody stool; Baclofen gave him chest pain; and Effexor gave
him chest pain and made him disoriented. Id. Johnson
asked for a referral to a physician and indicated that he had
filed a lawsuit against Clark. Id. Clark renewed
Johnson's prescription for Tramadol and submitted a
referral to a physician via telemedicine. Id.
February 12, 2018, Mahler saw Johnson during a sick call
visit following Johnson's complaints of back and shoulder
pain. Id. at 41-42. Johnson stated that he was
taking Tylenol 325mg and did not appear to be aware of his
prescription for Tramadol. Id. Mahler advised
Johnson to refrain from heavy lifting, to continue taking his
medication, and to follow his exercise and stretching
March 7, 2018, Clark confronted Johnson about his supposedly
walking away with medications that were to be taken in front
of the nurse. Id. at 43. Clark warned Johnson that
any future similar reports would result in the
discontinuation of Johnson's medications. Id. On
March 16, 2018, Clark saw Johnson for a sick call visit.
Id. at 44-46. Johnson again complained that his
medication regimen did not alleviate his pain. Id.
Although Johnson could perform activities of daily living, he
could not bend to pick up things at work and found it
difficult to exercise. Id. Clark directed Johnson to
continue his current medication. Id.
March 22, 2018, Asresahegn Getachew, M.D. conducted a chronic
care telemedicine visit with Johnson. Id. at 47-52.
Dr. Getachew noted Johnson's history of diabetes and
chronic back pain, and that Johnson preferred Neurontin over
Tramadol. Id. Dr. Getachew ordered a hip x-ray,
approved a prescription for Neurontin for 120 days, and
recommended tapering Tramadol over the course of one week.
Id. A hip x-ray performed on ...