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Haley v. Bishop

United States District Court, D. Maryland

February 21, 2019

LEONARD LEE HALEY, Prisoner Identification No. 325235, Plaintiff,
v.
FRANK BISHOP, Warden KRISTA SELF, R.N.P., and GLEN HOOVER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          THEODORE D. CHUANG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Leonard Lee Haley, an inmate confined at the North Branch Correctional Institution ("NBCI") in Cumberland, Maryland, has filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendants Warden Frank Bishop, Nurse Krista Self, and Correctional Officer Glen Hoover violated his First Amendment right against retaliation for filing a grievance and his Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. Pending before the Court are Defendants' Motions to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motions for Summary Judgment. Having reviewed the Amended Complaint and the submitted materials, the Court finds no hearing necessary. See D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, the Motions will be GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         On November 16, 2016, Haley filed a civil rights complaint in this Court against Hoover for the alleged wrongful use of chemical spray against Haley. Hoover was never served in that case. In May 2017, Haley voluntarily withdrew the Complaint before service of process issued "due to working out our issues." Haley v. Hoover, No. TDC-16-3723 (ECF No. 7).

         Haley suffers from Bell's Palsy, esophageal stricture, achalasia, heel pain, arthritis, nerve damage, and nerve pain. In December 2016, Haley was receiving, among other medications, Tramadol, a pain medication to treat his chronic heel pain.

         On December 11, 2016, Hoover was assigned to work in Housing Unit 1, in which Haley was located. According to Hoover, he found a small packet outside of Haley's cell. Haley asked if Hoover could pass the packet to another inmate on the same tier in exchange for coffee. Hoover declined and advised Haley that he did not pass items from cell to cell. Hoover then opened the packet and found five 50 mg tablets of Tramadol inside a paper cup. Pursuant to Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services ("DPSCS") policy, Hoover turned the medication over to Nurse Krista Self, then known as Krista Bilak ("Self). Hoover also filed a report relating to this incident. Haley denies that he attempted to pass medication to another inmate.

         After the medical department received the Tramadol, Self entered an order discontinuing Haley's Tramadol prescription and placed an alert in Haley's medical record. According to Self, termination of the Tramadol prescription was medically appropriate because Haley was hoarding and trading the Tramadol rather than ingesting it, which reveals that Haley did not have a medical need for it. Following this incident, Haley continued to be seen by medical staff and to receive other pain medication, including Neurontin, Cymbalta, Naprosyn, Baclofen, and Tegretol.

         On July 5, 2017, Haley filed a complaint against Self and Warden Bishop. On May 16, 2018, after these Defendants had filed Motions to Dismiss, Haley was granted leave to file an Amended Complaint limited to facts and causes of action relating to the factual allegations raised in the initial Complaint, to include claims against Hoover, whom he had previously failed to name as a Defendant. Haley filed the Amended Complaint, including Hoover as an additional Defendant, in which he alleges that Hoover's report that Haley had passed Tramadol was fabricated and was in retaliation for Haley's filing of his civil rights complaint against Hoover, a claim that is construed as an alleged violation of Haley's First Amendment rights. He also alleges that in discontinuing of his Tramadol prescription, Self violated Haley's Eighth Amendment rights.

         Haley included additional claims alleging that he was improperly prescribed Cymbalta and that his usage of Ensure was improperly discontinued. Because the Court's grant of leave to amend did not permit these new claims unrelated to the original allegations, they will not be considered and will be dismissed.

         Defendants have each filed a Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. Although Haley was advised of his right to file a memorandum in opposition to the Motions, he has failed to do so.

         DISCUSSION

         Defendants seek either dismissal of the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), or summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56, on the grounds that Haley has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and has otherwise failed to state a constitutional claim regarding retaliation and denial of medical care.

         I. Legal Standards

         To defeat a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the complaint must allege enough facts to state a plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A claim is plausible when the facts pleaded allow "the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. Legal conclusions or conclusory statements do not suffice. Id. The Court must examine the complaint as a whole, consider the factual allegations in the complaint as true, and construe the factual allegations in the light most favorable ...


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