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Kelly v. Conmed Healthcare Services

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 13, 2019

BRETT D. KELLY, Plaintiff,
v.
CONMED HEALTHCARE SERVICES, NURSE FELICIA SHONEKAN, HOWARD COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          PAUL W. GRIMM UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         In this civil rights suit, Brett Kelly, who is proceeding without counsel, alleges that, while he was incarcerated at the Howard County Detention Center (“HCDC”), he did not receive proper medical care for his diabetes, in violation of his Eighth Amendment right to remain free from cruel and unusual punishment. Am. Compl. 4, ECF No. 3. Pending are the motion to dismiss or for summary judgment and memorandum (ECF Nos. 30, 30-1) that Defendants Conmed Healthcare Services and Nurse Felicia Shonekan (“Medical Defendants”) filed and the motion to dismiss and memorandum (ECF Nos. 32, 32-1) that Defendant Howard County Department of Corrections filed. Although Plaintiff sought and was granted an extension of time in which to file oppositions to the pending motions, he has not filed anything further. See Jan. 8, 2019 Order, ECF No. 36; July 11, 2019 Order, ECF No. 38; Docket. A hearing in this matter is unnecessary and the unopposed motions shall be granted for the reasons stated below. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2018).

         Plaintiff's Allegations

         On March 27, 2018, Plaintiff entered a plea of guilty to a charge of identity theft and received a sentence of ten months in the District Court for Howard County, Maryland, which he has served. See State of Maryland v. Kelly, No. 0T00099883 (Howard Co. Dist. Ct.), http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/casesearch (last visited July 10, 2019). Plaintiff asserts that he arrived at HCDC in March of 2018, and shortly thereafter was identified as a chronic care patient because of his diabetes. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 2, 6. On or about April 8, 2018, Plaintiff became lightheaded and dizzy and sought medical attention. Id. ¶ 7. Plaintiff claims that a doctor at HCDC, whom he does not name, told him that the medication he was receiving was ineffective because he was not taking it in tandem with another medication. Id. Plaintiff was promised that the second medication, Januvia, would be delivered to him “as soon as possible.” Id. Plaintiff claims that, despite that promise, he “went several days without medication.” Id. ¶ 8.

         According to Plaintiff, between April 13 and 29, 2018, he “had several interactions with Nurse Felicia” regarding his medication. Id. ¶ 9. He claims that she told him that she “didn't care if he received his medication and she wasn't giving him anything.” Id. On April 24 and 25, 2018, Plaintiff filed formal grievances, claiming that he had spoken with Lieutenant Hayhurst about both the failure to provide him the medication he needed and the manner in which Nurse Shonekan treated him. Id. ¶ 10; Apr. 24, 2018 Grievance, ECF No. 3-1, at 3; Apr. 25, 2018 Grievance, ECF No. 3-3. Lieutenant Hayhurst escorted Plaintiff to the medical unit so that the matter could be resolved, and again he was told that he would receive his medication, but by the end of the day he had not received it. Am. Compl. ¶ 10.

         Plaintiff's outside primary care physician, Dr. Richard Lilly, was notified in early May 2018 that Plaintiff still had not received Januvia. Id. ¶ 11. According to Plaintiff, he was provided Januvia the following day “only because [Dr. Lilly] spoke with medical staff and the Plaintiff paid for the medication out-of-pocket.” Id. ¶ 12. The “Action” section of his Grievance states that Plaintiff's “medication from home was allowed and accepted by Medical Department on May 2 [2018].” Apr. 25, 2018 Grievance, ECF No. 3-3.

         Plaintiff alleges that on May 5, 2018, when Nurse Shonekan was on duty to hand out medications to inmates, she refused to give him both of his medications. Am. Compl. ¶ 13. Plaintiff claims that he saw both medications on the cart, labeled with his name. Id. Plaintiff informed Correctional Officer Bolden that Nurse Shonekan refused to dispense both medications to him. Id.

         On May 10, 2018, Plaintiff signed the Action section of the Grievance, acknowledging that it had been resolved. Apr. 25, 2018 Grievance, ECF No. 3-3; see also Am. Compl. 2 (“Matter was closed because I provided my own medication.”).

         As a result of Plaintiff not receiving both medications, he suffered elevated blood sugar levels, nausea, and severe foot pain. Am. Compl. ¶ 15. Plaintiff also alleges that the interruption in his medication regimen “could cause sever[e] long lasting damages to plaintiff's health.” Id. ¶ 16. He asserts that other inmates at HCDC have had problems receiving appropriate health care from Conmed. Id. ¶ 17. As relief, Plaintiff seeks “immediate oversight” of the health care provided by Conmed Healthcare Services, compensatory and punitive damages, and other unspecified injunctive[1] relief. Id. at 6.

         Standards of Review

         Motion to Dismiss

         Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), Kelly's claims are subject to dismissal if they “fail[ ] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A pleading must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), and must state “a plausible claim for relief, ” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Rule 12(b)(6)'s purpose “is to test the sufficiency of a complaint and not to resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses.” Velencia v. Drezhlo, No. RDB-12-237, 2012 WL 6562764, at *4 (D. Md. Dec. 13, 2012) (quoting Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006)).

         For purposes of resolving a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts the plaintiff's well-pleaded allegations as true. See Aziz v. Alcolac, 658 F.3d 388, 390 (4th Cir. 2011). While this Court is required to liberally construe documents that self-represented litigants file and hold them to a less stringent standard than those that attorneys draft, see Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Estelle v. Gamble, 429 US. 97, 106 (1976), the requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts that set forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal district court, see Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990). Rather, the Court must also abide by the “affirmative obligation of the trial judge to prevent factually unsupported claims and defenses from proceeding to trial.” Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 526 (4th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Motion for ...


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