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McBride v. Warden

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 12, 2019

AMY McBRIDE, Plaintiff
v.
WARDEN, et al., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         In response to this civil rights complaint, Defendants the Warden, Governor Larry Hogan, and Secretary Stephen T. Moyer move to dismiss or for summary judgment in their favor. ECF 34. Self-represented Plaintiff Amy McBride, despite being notified of her opportunity to respond to the motion, (ECF 35) has failed to respond. No hearing is necessary for the disposition of the matters pending before the Court. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For the reasons that follow, Defendants' motion, construed as one for summary judgment, is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Plaintiffs Allegations

         McBride is an inmate at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCIW). She filed the instant complaint presenting a laundry list of grievances about her incarceration. Primarily, Plaintiff alleges that she was: denied adequate medical care (ECF 1 at pp, 3-4), denied legal resources (id. at p. 5), suffered issues with her legal mail (id. at p. 6) and the administrative remedy process (id., p. 4), and was housed in a gender discriminatory, filthy, vermin-infested infirmary (id. at p. 6).

         Plaintiff alleges that she had "issues with the chronic care medical doctor" regarding her request to have a skin biopsy performed. The request was denied and four years later she was diagnosed with skin cancer. ECF 1, p. 1. She alleges she was left with a scar and needs a biopsy for a growth in her nose. Id., p. 2.

         Plaintiff states that in 2015 she began to suffer from incontinence issues which have adversely affected the quality of her life. ECF 1, p. 2. She explains that she was referred to a gastroenterologist and later a gynecologist in order to ascertain the cause of her condition. Id., p. 3. She indicates that the incontinence led to vaginal infections for which she received several rounds of antibiotics. Id. Ultimately she was referred for consultation with a surgeon. Id.

         Plaintiff states that she has several allergies including sulfur and preservatives in food. ECF 1, p. 3. She was provided a rescue inhaler but she claims that when she used the inhaler her "nose would begin to swell closed." Id., p. 4. In 2013 she reports she needed to use an epipen due to a reaction to food she ate. She claims that she did not receive any assistance from the chronic care doctor after 2015 and that the dietary department "served her allergies." Id., p. 4. She also generally claims that she has not received dental care. ECF I, p. 5.

         On December 17, 2016, Plaintiff claims she began a hunger strike due to her complaints about her medical treatment, access to grievances, legal materials, and legal mail.. ECF 1, p. 6, In January of 2017 she was placed in the infirmary. Id. She was later removed from the infirmary despite her continuation of the hunger strike. Id., p. 7. She was subsequently returned to the infirmary and provided intravenous fluids. Id., p. 8.

         She also states that she unsuccessfully attempted to use the administrative remedy process. ECF 1, p. 4.

         Plaintiff states that access to adequate and effective legal resources does not exist. ECF 1, p. 5. Additionally she states that, "The State is out of the U.S. Federal standards for what constitutes legal mail." ECF 1, p. 5.

         Plaintiff alleges that the conditions in the infirmary are gender discriminatory, filthy, and vermin are present. ECF 1, p. 7. She also claims that the building loses heat. Id.

         B. Defendants' Response

         Defendants submit exhibits, including the affidavits of Ami Jalloh, R.N., MOW Warden Margaret Chippendale, and MCIW Librarian Hananya Cohen, and relevant portions of McBride's medical records from June 23, 2015 to January 25, 2018. ECF 34-2 (Jalloh Affidavit); ECF 37-3 (medical records 6/23/15-1/25/18); ECF 34-4 (Chippendale Affidavit); ECF 34-5 (Cohen Affidavit).

         1. Medical Care

         Plaintiffs initial Complaint included allegations that she was on a hunger strike. In light of the concern for her safety, the Court directed the Office of the Attorney General to show cause why injunctive relief should not be granted. ECF 3. The Office of the Attorney General responded and attached affidavits and medical records (ECF 6) which demonstrated that at that time Plaintiff was housed in the infirmary at MCI where she was receiving constant medical care and was regularly treated by physicians, mid-level providers, and nursing staff. ECF 6-1, ¶ 3. Despite proclaiming that she was on a hunger strike, Plaintiff was observed picking and choosing foods that she wanted to eat and was not refusing all foods. Id.

         Thereafter, Plaintiff filed additional documents including two Motions for Injunctive Relief again alleging she was on a hunger strike and was weak. ECF 7, 8, 9, 10-13, 15. The Office of the Attorney General was directed to supplement their Response concerning Plaintiffs medical care. ECF 16. The response (ECF 17) demonstrated that while Plaintiff was regularly seen by medical staff and that while Plaintiff regularly complained of allergies and offered this as the basis for her declining food, allergy testing was negative. ECF 17-1 at pp. 3-5. Additionally, it was reported that Plaintiff regularly ate and had stopped refusing meals. Id. Her requests for preliminary injunction were denied. ECF 18.

         Ami Jalloh, R.N., B.S.N, is the Health Services Administrator for Wexford Health Sources, Inc. ECF 34-2, ¶ 2. She avers that Plaintiff is housed in the medical infirmary where she receives regular treatment and evaluation by physicians, mid-level providers and nursing staff. ECF 34-2, ¶3. Although Plaintiff has claimed to be on a hunger strikes she has been observed picking and choosing foods that she wants to eat and is not refusing all meals. Id.

         2. Legal Mail

         Mailroom staff are responsible for handling legal mail which is delivered to the inmates by custody staff on the 3-11 shift. ECF 34-4, ¶ 2. The MCIW Legal Mail Logbook demonstrates that Plaintiff received legal mail on October 2, 10, 13, 2017, December 26, 2017 and January 12 and 26, 2018.Jtf.

         3. Administrative ...


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