United States District Court, D. Maryland
MICHAEL J. HOFFMAN, Plaintiff,
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, et al., Defendants.
L. RUSSELL, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court on Defendants Krista Bilak (n/k/a
Krista Self), N.P., Robustianno Barrera, M.D., Mahboob
Ashraf, M.D., Holly Pierce, N.P., William Beeman, R.N.,
Stacie Mast, R.N., Wexford Health Source, Inc.,
(collectively, “Medical Defendants”) Motion to
Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment
(ECF No. 19) and Department of Public Safety and Correctional
Services' (“DPSCS”) Motion to Dismiss (ECF
No. 30). The Motions are ripe for disposition, and no hearing
is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2018). For
the reasons outlined below, the Court will deny Medical
Defendants' Motion without prejudice and grant
Verified Complaint,  Hoffman alleges that he has been denied
constitutionally adequate medical care. He states that he has
been “diagnosed with: chronic interstitial lung
disease, degenerative bone disease in both knees and right
foot, significant abnormal areas of activity involving
urinary bladder and both kidneys.” (Compl. ¶ 1,
ECF No. 1) (alteration to capitalization).
the issues regarding his chronic lung pain, Hoffman alleges
that on May 27, 2016, Bilak told Hoffman that he has Chronic
Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and refused to order a PET scan
or pain medication to treat his disease because Hoffman was
“making everything up.” (Id. ¶ 11).
6, 2016, Dr. Ashraf saw Hoffman and prescribed him Tylenol
for the lung pain he was experiencing. (Id. ¶
12). Dr. Ashraf examined Hoffman again on July 7, 2016, and
because “the treatment plan along with one (1) Tylenol
#3 twice a day proved to stabilize pain and vitals, ”
Dr. Ashraf continued Hoffman's medication until August 7,
2016. (Id. ¶ 13).
August 9, 2016, Pierce refused to renew Hoffman's
prescription for Tylenol #3, advising him that she would not
give him narcotics and noting that he was getting Baclofen
for pain relief. (Id. ¶ 14). She advised
Hoffman that she would refer him to Dr. Ashraf but failed to
do so. (Id. ¶¶ 14-15). After ten days of
“suffering with pain in [his] lungs and upper back,
” Hoffman submitted a sick call slip. (Id.
¶ 15). On August 19, 2016, Rick Moyer, RN saw Hoffman
and also advised that she would refer Hoffman to Dr. Ashraf.
(Id. ¶ 16). She failed to do so. (See
id. ¶¶ 16-19). Ten days later, Hoffman
submitted another sick call slip requesting “relief of
pain in his lungs and test[s] to determine the damage to his
lungs.” (Id. ¶ 17). Hoffman submitted yet
another sick call slip complaining of “lung pain”
on August 26, 2016. (Id. ¶ 18). On August 29,
2016, Amy Booth, RN saw Hoffman. (Id. ¶ 19).
Hoffman requested to see a provider, and Booth indicated she
would submit the referral. (Id.).
August 30, 2016, Pierce saw Hoffman. (Id. ¶
20). Hoffman states that while it is not reflected in
Pierce's report, she was patronizing to him, displayed
hatred towards him, and “put[ ] a show on for the
correctional officers who were in attendance.”
(Id.). He alleges that Pierce “showed
satisfaction” that she had denied him pain medication.
(Id.). At the appointment, Hoffman again requested
to be seen by Dr. Ashraf. (Id.).
September 2, 2016, Hoffman was scheduled for an appointment
with Pierce, but she “made a false claim stating,
‘issue resolved on previous visit.'”
(Id. ¶ 21). Pierce saw Hoffman again on
September 29, 2016. (Id. ¶ 22). Hoffman alleges
that, except for the anxiety and stress that she noted
Hoffman was suffering from, Pierce falsified the report from
the appointment. (Id.). She refused to refer Hoffman
to see the doctor. (Id.). Hoffman questions why he
was prescribed Mobic and Prednisone for pain if he was not
complaining of pain during this encounter. (Id.).
October 5, 2016, Marilyn Evans, RN saw Hoffman due to
continued pain from his chronic interstitial lung disease
that his medication did not alleviate. (Id. ¶
23). Evans advised Hoffman that she would refer him to a
provider. (Id.). The following day, while in
“terrible pain, ” Hoffman was scheduled to see
Pierce for a chronic care visit. (Id. ¶ 24).
Hoffman alleges that Pierce violated her duties as a medical
provider during this visit but does not explain how.
October 12, 2016, Hoffman submitted another sick call
request, again seeking relief from the pain caused by his
chronic interstitial lung disease. (Id. ¶ 25).
Hoffman explains that he later learned that Beeman is
responsible for assigning care providers for scheduled
visits. (Id.). He further explains that Beeman was
aware of the conflict between Hoffman and Pierce and was
informed of the grievance Hoffman filed against Pierce on
October 12, 2016 (No. NBCI 2305-16). (Id.). Beeman
scheduled Pierce to see Hoffman on October 14, 2016, which
Hoffman alleges Beeman did despite “knowing she [was]
going to retaliate against [him] for filing a grievance
against her.” (Id.).
evaluated Hoffman on October 14, 2016, in the presence of
Officer Michael Gutillo. (Id. ¶ 28). Hoffman
advised Pierce that he was experiencing chest and lung pain
and requested a referral to a doctor. (Id.). Pierce
refused to refer Hoffman, instead pointing to herself and
saying, “I am a doctor.” (Id.). Hoffman
advised Pierce he was going to file a grievance against her
to which she replied, “Join the club.”
(Id.). Later, Pierce “willfully filed and
fabricated” a report about the encounter. (Id.
October 17, 2016, Hoffman filed a grievance (NBCI 2295-16)
against Pierce concerning what he alleged were her
“unprofessional conduct and negligence” during
his October 14, 2016 appointment. (Id. ¶ 30).
In retaliation for that grievance, on October 27, 2016,
Pierce made a false claim that Hoffman had threatened her.
(Id. ¶ 31). That same day, Hoffman was placed
on administrative segregation for forty days. (Id.).
Hoffman alleges that due to the personal relationship between
Pierce and a correctional officer, he was removed from
general population without an infraction being written
against him. (Id.).
November 13, 2016, Hoffman filed a sick call slip complaining
of pain caused by his chronic interstitial lung disease.
(Id.). Bilak saw Hoffman on November 17, 2016.
(Id. ¶ 32). Because Hoffman was on
administrative segregation at the time, his hands were cuffed
behind his back and he was escorted to the exam room by
Officer Deist who was present for the examination.
(Id.). Bilak was hostile and unprofessional to
Hoffman. (Id.). When Hoffman advised that the
medication was no longer working, she responded, “What
do you want me to do about it!” She also told Hoffman
that he had been given a CT and bone scan which showed he had
“mild COPD.” (Id.). She explained that
because they had done “all that is medically required,
” they were not going to do any further investigation
into the source of his lung pain, and that Hoffman needed to
“deal with it!” (Id.). When Hoffman
persisted in asking what was causing him pain, Bilak
responded by hitting Hoffman in the arm with her blood
pressure cuff and yelling for Officer Deist to “Get him
out of here!” (Id.). As Officer Deist escorted
Hoffman back to his cell he said, “I am surprise[d] she
still works here.” (Id.). Hoffman states that
Bilak's account of this encounter is “imaginative,
deceitful, and fabricated.” (Id. ¶ 34)
(spelling altered). Bilak reported that Hoffman threatened
her, stating, “I will get you, you wait, this isn't
over, ” and was then escorted out of the medical
department. (Id. ¶ 35). Hoffman asserts that
the fact that Officer Deist was present for this alleged
threat and yet Hoffman was not formally charged with
threatening staff demonstrates that the threat did not
happen. (Id.). On November 30, 2016, Hoffman filed a
grievance against Bilak (NBCI-2646-16). (Id. ¶
December 3, 2016, Hoffman submitted a sick call slip
complaining of pain in his lungs. (Id. ¶ 36).
On December 6, 2016, Mast saw Hoffman and she referred him to
a provider. (Id. ¶ 37). Beeman, aware of the
grievances Hoffman had filed against Pierce and Bilak,
assigned Hoffman to see Bilak on December 12, 2016.
(Id. ¶ 38). Hoffman states that he was walking,
unescorted, to the examination room in his housing unit when
he saw Bilak in the hallway with three correctional officers
and heard her tell them that he had threatened her.
(Id. ¶ 40). The officers appeared dumbfounded
by the charge and took no action. (Id.). Hoffman
claims that Bilak did not put in her report that she told the
officers that Hoffman had threatened her and instead made
“up another story claiming [Hoffman] was loud and
agitated.” (Id. ¶ 41).
December 20, 2016, Moyer saw Hoffman in response to his sick
call filed on December 16, 2016, complaining of pain
throughout his body. (Id. ¶¶ 42-43). One
day later, Bilak saw Hoffman for a chronic care visit.
(Id. ¶ 44). Hoffman indicates that it is odd
that Bilak would see him again when she twice claimed that he
had threatened her. (Id.). He alleges that Bilak
“cherry picked” through his medical records to
demonstrate her concern for his health. (Id. ¶
45). He states that her report of the December 21, 2016
appointment was an effort to “make her look like a
professional caregiver. If [he] had a computer and a printer
he can fool people with a made[-]up report to make him look
like a professional to[o].” (Id.).
7, 2017, Hoffman sent a fact sheet from the American Cancer
Society regarding interstitial lung disease through the sick
call box, attached a copy of the fact sheet to a grievance he
filed, and took the sheet with him to his sick call visits.
(Id. ¶ 53). When Hoffman attempted to give the
sheet to medical providers, they refused to accept it.
(Id.). Hoffman alleges that he has received no
treatment for his lung condition and that the condition is
worsening. (Id. ¶ 50).
29, 2017, Mast saw Hoffman. (Id. ¶ 51). She
advised Hoffman that “there [is] no treatment for
‘chronic interstitial lung
disease.'” (Id.). Hoffman notes that her
report indicates that he was not complaining of pain and yet
the chief complaint noted on the report is “lung
pain.” (Id. ¶ 55). She also noted that
Hoffman had previously told her that he was in end stage lung
disease for which there is no cure other than a lung
transplant. (Id. ¶ 56). Hoffman questions if
this were true why his relaying the information about his
lung disease was not contained in earlier medical reports.
(Id.). That day, Hoffman filed a grievance against
Mast for what he deemed to be her unprofessional conduct.
(Id. ¶ 52).
believes that he has “lung cancer or tumors in his
lungs.” (Id. at 26). He states that he needs
an “MRI, lung biopsy[, ] and PET scan.”
(Id. at 27). Hoffman pleads that he knows he has
cancer due to the increase in his pain and that Medical
Defendants refuse to treat him because of the grievances he
has filed. (Id. at 29). Hoffman alleges that Medical
Defendants wait until a patient is diagnosed with end state
cancer before providing treatment. (Id. at 28). He
states that he has “never met a[n] inmate with early
stage cancer who has received treatment for said
cancer.” (Id.). He further alleges that
Medical Defendants have a policy of not providing tests such
as MRIs or PET scans that could catch early stage cancer.
(Id. at 29). Rather, they wait until the cancer is
not treatable and then move the inmate to another institution
to die. (Id.).
6, 2017, Hoffman filed a grievance regarding his
uncontrollable urination that started in January 2017.
(Id. ¶ 47). He states that although he received
“two treatments with antibiotics[, he] still
couldn't control his urination.” (Id.). On
June 8, 2017, Lt. George McAlpine dismissed the grievance
without investigation. (Id.). Hoffman pleads that as
of the filing of his Complaint, he continues to suffer and
that his condition was worsening to the point that he is
experiencing uncontrollable urination three to four times a
day. (Id.; id. at 25). He states that he
filed “numerous” sick call slips but was not
getting any treatment for this condition. (Id.
¶ 47). Hoffman believes he has “irreversible . . .
bladder and ...