United States District Court, D. Maryland
MR. JAMES M. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
HOLLY PIERCE, NP, Defendant.
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Holly Pierce, NP, filed a motion to dismiss or for summary
judgment (ECF No. 15) in response to this civil rights
complaint filed by Plaintiff James M. Williams, an inmate
incarcerated at North Branch Correctional Institution in
Cumberland, Maryland. Mr. Williams opposes the motion. ECF
No. 17. A hearing in this matter is deemed
unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For
the reasons stated below, Defendant's motion, construed
as one for summary judgment due to the court's reliance
on outside materials,  will be granted.
Williams suffers from diabetic neuropathy which causes
burning and numbness in his feet and hands. ECF No. 1 at p.
2. To address the pain caused by his condition, Mr. Williams
was prescribed Neurontin which he was taking for
approximately three or more years. Id. On February
20, 2018, when Mr. Williams placed a sick call slip
requesting renewal of his Neurontin prescription, he was
informed that the prescription was cancelled by Defendant
Holly Pierce, a Nurse Practitioner employed by the healthcare
contractor providing services to inmates confined to the
Maryland Division of Correction. Id. Mr. Williams
claims that in place of his prescription medication,
Defendant gave him fish oil pills for his pain. Id.
When Mr. Williams could no longer take his prescription
medication, the pain caused by his diabetic neuropathy
Williams states that Defendant took other steps deliberately
to cause him harm and explains that on June 15, 2018,
Defendant altered the standing order for the administration
of his insulin. Id. Mr. Williams was on a sliding
scale for the administration of insulin whenever his
“numbers are high.” Id. Defendant
changed the order to administration of 10 ml of insulin at
4:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Id. Mr. Williams states that
he believes Defendant is “now out to hurt me because of
these actions I am taking to get taken care of.”
relief Mr. Williams asks for an Order requiring the medical
care providers at NBCI to treat his diabetic neuropathy,
return his prescription for Neurontin, and award compensatory
damages of $5, 000 for his pain and suffering. ECF No. 1 at
admits that Mr. Williams suffers from type II diabetes,
claims she did not terminate his prescription for Neurontin,
nor did she write a prescription for 10 ml of insulin to be
administered to him twice daily. ECF No. 15-5 (Affidavit of
Holly Pierce, NP). Verified medical records submitted in
support of Defendant's motion establish that Mr. Williams
was seen by Dr. Mahboob Ashraf on November 16, 2017, in the
“chronic care clinic” for the monitoring of his
chronic health conditions, including diabetes. ECF No. 15-4
at pp. 2-5. At that time, a prescription for 800 mg of
Neurontin administered twice daily was in place. Id.
at p. 4 (list of medications showing start date of Neurontin
as October 16, 2017 and expiration date of February 16,
same date, Dr. Ashraf submitted a “non-formulary
request” for Gabapentin, 800 mg twice daily, for
treatment of “diabetic neuropathies.”
Id. at p. 6. Gabapentin is the generic name for
to Defendant's explanation, unnamed staff made an error
in Mr. Williams' prescription when the February 2018
medication administration record was prepared and a prior
order issued by Nurse Practitioner Self for a Neurontin
prescription covering the period of October 25, 2017 through
February 21, 2018 was recorded. ECF No. 15-5 at p. 2,
¶3. When Mr. Williams was again seen by Dr. Ashraf on
February 15, 2018, his prescription was not renewed but he
received Neurontin through the February 21, 2018 expiration
date. Id., see also ECF No. 15-4 at pp.
states that the only time she encountered Mr. Williams was on
January 26, 2018, when he reported suffering an injury to his
knee. ECF No. 15-5 at p. 2, ¶4; ECF No. 15-4 at pp. 7-8.
At that time, Mr. Williams had a current, unexpired
prescription for Neurontin. ECF No. 15-4 at p. 8. Defendant
had no further encounters with Mr. Williams until March 2,
2018, when she discussed his lab test results with him. ECF
No. 15-4 at p. 13.
March 9, 2018, Mr. Williams was seen by Stacie Mast, RN, for
complaints of pain in his feet and hands. ECF No. 15-4 at pp.
16-17. Mr. Williams told Ms. Mast that he needed his
Neurontin returned to address the pain he was experiencing as
a result of his diabetes. Id. at p. 16. Ms. Mast
noted that Mr. Williams had been non-compliant with his
medications and insulin schedule, resulting in several recent
high blood sugar levels. Id. Mr. Williams was also
not reporting to medical to have his blood sugar checked at
4:00 a.m. Id. She discussed the importance of having
his blood sugar checked and watching his weight. He was not
prescribed Neurontin but advised to continue taking the
medications he was already prescribed. Id. The
provider noted for this encounter is Defendant Holly Pierce,
NP. Id. at p. 17. There is no explanation regarding
why Mr. Williams's prescription for Neurontin was allowed
to expire in any of the records submitted by Defendant.
Rather, Tammy Buser, RN, states in a record dated June 29,
2018, that Mr. Williams was not interested in attempting
other solutions for his pain and that she “[e]xplained
that Neurontin was not a choice at this time.”
Id. at p. 21.
denies that she altered Mr. Williams' prescription for
insulin. She explains that the alleged dosage prescribed (10
ml, twice per day) is lethal if given once per day and
therefore would not have been written by any medical care
provider. ECF No. 15-5 at p. 2, ¶6. In addition, she
states that no order for insulin for Mr. Williams was entered
in June of 2018. Id.