United States District Court, D. Maryland
CATHERINE C. BLAKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Bryant-El is suing defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 for allegedly denying him adequate medical care at North
Branch Correctional Institution (NBCI). Defendants'
former Commissioner Dayena Corcoran and Assistant Warden Jeff
Nines (collectively, the "State Defendants") filed
a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for
Summary Judgment. Also pending is defendants Ryan Browning
and Dawn Showalter's (collectively, the "Medical
Defendants") Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative,
Motion for Summary Judgment. The State and Medical Defendants
have filed declarations and verified records in support of
their dispositive motions. Plaintiff filed an
opposition to which the Medical Defendants filed a
reviewed the pleadings, briefs, and exhibits, the court finds
that a hearing is unnecessary at this time. See
Local R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For the reasons set forth
below, the State Defendants' motion for summary judgment
(ECF 25) will be granted. The Medical Defendants' motion
for summary judgment (ECF 27) will be granted in part and
denied in part.
was transferred to NBCI on January 26, 2017, and claims that
he was not provided medical care for asthma when he arrived
and that, when he was prescribed various medications for
asthma, allergies, and reflux, he was denied timely refills
of the medications. ECF 1; ECF 15 at p. 9. In his complaint
plaintiff sought emergency injunctive relief to require
refills on his medication and sought "permission to
pursue damages" after he received an answer to a
"complaint lodged with [the] Commissioner of
Correction." ECF 1 at pp. 3, 7, 10.
light of plaintiffs alleged need for emergency injunctive
relief, the court directed counsel for the Department of
Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) to file an
expedited response addressing why injunctive relief (to
provide his prescribed medications) should not be granted.
ECF 8. Plaintiff then filed an Amended Complaint to add new
claims and new defendants. ECF 9. After the matter was fully
briefed, the court denied plaintiffs request for injunctive
relief, permitted his claim that he was denied prescription
medications prior to December 11, 2017 to proceed for service
on defendants, and granted him additional time to supplement
his claim. ECF 13 at pp. 3-5. Plaintiff was instructed to
file a separate case if he wished to raise additional claims
against new defendants.
April 23, 2018, plaintiff filed a supplement to the Complaint
to request compensatory and punitive damages. He claims the
Medical Defendants have violated his rights under the Eighth
Amendment, unlawfully retaliated against him, and violated
Maryland Law, and claims the State Defendants have violated
his rights under the Eighth Amendment, the Equal Protection
Clause, "Maryland law, and Departmental
regulations." ECF 15 at pp. 4-6, 12-13.
The Medical Defendants
January 26, 2017, plaintiff was involved in a use of force
incident at Western Correctional Institution (WCI) during
which correctional officers used pepper spray. Following the
incident, plaintiff was examined at 2:22 p.m. by Ryan
Browning, LPN, who reported plaintiffs respiration was
"even and nonlabored" and there were no signs or
symptoms of distress. ECF 27-3 at p. 3; Browning Decl. ECF
27-5 at p. 2 ¶¶3-4. Plaintiff voiced no concerns of
injury, denied any pain, had no difficulty breathing or
seeing, and returned to his cell without difficulty.
Id., After plaintiff was transferred to NBCI later
that day, he was examined by Dawn Showalter, R.N. at 4:34
p.m. Showalter determined plaintiff s respiration was
"even and unlabored," his lungs were clear, and he
had no injuries or complaints. ECF 27-3 at p. 5; Showalter
Decl. ECF 27-5 at p, 4 ¶¶3-4. After examination,
plaintiff returned to his cell without difficulty.
provides a different account of his medical evaluations. He
asserts the pepper spray made it difficult for him to breathe
and caused burning in his eyes and over his body. Plaintiff
states he informed Browning and Showalter that he has asthma.
ECF 15 at pp. 2-3, 5; Civil Action 18-1519, Bryant-El Decl.
ECF 17-3. Browning allegedly responded, "Well you have
too much mace on you for me to do anything for you." ECF
15 at p. 2. Plaintiff claims Browning "purposely
prevaricated" about his need for treatment by falsely
claiming that plaintiff s breathing was even and nonlabored,
and plaintiff reported "I'm good." Id.
at p. 3. Plaintiff denies ever stating, "I'm
good," and claims any assertion that his breathing was
even and unlabored is "a lie." Civil Action
18-1519, Bryant-El Decl. ECF 17-3 at ¶¶6, 7.
plaintiff explained to Showalter his need for an asthma
inhaler because he was unable to breathe without
"strenuous labor due to the effects of the chemical
compound still adhering to [his] hair and skin on [his]
respiratory condition," Showalter allegedly replied,
"[o]fficers protect us and we look out for them."
ECF 15 at p. 4. Plaintiff claims Browning and Showalter's
demeanors were hostile and they failed to respond to his
requests for medical care in retaliation for the incident
involving correctional staff. ECF 15 at p. 3; Civil Action
18-1519, ECF 17-3 ¶¶4, 9. He faults them for
failing to provide him with his inhaler or instructing
custody staff to do so. ECF 15 at p. 3-4. Plaintiff accuses
Showalter of "lying" on his medical report by
stating that he was in no distress, when in fact, he was.
Id. at p. 5; Civil Action 18-1519, ECF 17-3 ¶7.
He faults Browning and Showalter for failing to follow
protocols outlined in the DPSCS Chronic Disease Management
Manual which states asthma inhalers are "Keep On
Person" medications. ECF 15-1 at p. 1. He claims
Browning and Showalter allowed their loyalty to prison guards
to "impact their medical judgment." ECF 15 at p. 9.
and Showalter dispute these assertions in their declarations.
They state the information in the medical reports is
accurate. Browning Decl. ECF 27-5 at p. 2 ¶5; Showalter
Decl. ECF .27-5 at pp. 4-5 ¶5. Further, they deny any
aspect of the care they provided to plaintiff was motivated
by retribution or malicious intent. Browning Decl. ECF 27-5
at p. 3 ¶6; Showalter Decl. ECF 27-5 at p. 5 ¶6.
alleges that for twelve days after the January 26, 2017,
incident, he was denied the use of his prescribed Albuterol
inhaler. ECF 15 at p. 2. On February 7, 2017, custody staff
gave him his personal property, which included his inhaler.
By February 21, 2017, the medicine in the inhaler had run
out, and he had no access to an inhaler until he purchased
one from another inmate on March 11, 2017. ECF 15 at p. 6.
submitted a sick call slip on February 17 and February 21,
2017, asking for something to wash pepper spray residue from
his hair. ECF 27-4 at pp. 5-6. The medical record indicates
that he refused to attend the February 23, 2017 appointment
scheduled for him. ECF 27-3 at p. 9; ECF 27-4 at p. 6. He
filed an additional sick call slip on March 24, 2017 for
shampoo to remove the pepper spray, and on March 28, 2017,
was seen by a medical provider who gave him Turns for
indigestion at night when he is lies down, tar shampoo for
his hair, and suggested exercises to alleviate his back pain.
Plaintiff expressed no other concerns to the medical
provider. ECF 27-4 at pp. 8, 11; ECF 27-3 at p. 10.
response to his March 30, 2017 sick call slip, asking for
milk of magnesia, plaintiff was seen by a nurse on April 4,
2017, for complaints of stomach discomfort when lying down
and after eating. He was provided Omeprazole (Prilosec). ECF
27-3 at p. 12; ECF 27-4 at p. 12.
April 21, 2017, plaintiff filed a sick call slip seeking care
for his allergies to pollen, grass, and dust, and was seen by
a provider two days later. Plaintiff stated that he gets
"allergies each year and usually gets multiple
respiratory medications to help him." ECF 27-3 at p. 14;
ECF 27-4 at pp. 15-16. It was noted that he has been provided
an inhaler in the past. Plaintiff was in no acute distress
and was referred to see a physician. Id.
April 26, 2017, plaintiff was seen by Dr. Mahboob Ashraf for
allergies. ECF 27-3 at p. 16-17. Ashraf ordered guaifenesin,
turns, omeprazole, Nasacort AQ, T-gel, chlortrimeton
(chlorphenirame maleate), and Ventolin HFA (albuterol
sulfate). Id. Plaintiff states these
medications were to treat his asthma, reflux, allergies and
the "harmful impact of the chemical compound having been
left so long in my hair and on my scalp." ECF 1 at p. 3;
ECF 15 at p. 6 ¶6. Plaintiff states he received the
medications "once without undue delay." ECF 15 at
p. 6 ¶6.
asserts that when his supply of these medications ran out,
the refills were not provided despite his filing "a
multitude of sick call requests and medication re-fill
requests." ECF 1 at p. 4; ECF 15 at p. 7; ECF 27-4 at
pp. 17-18, 20-22, 24-27, 29-30, 33-34. Plaintiff claims he
was "forced to purchase asthma inhalers" from other
inmates because his prescription was not refilled. ECF 1 at
p. 4; ECF 15 at p. 7. He claims that for "a nine month
period [he] did not receive ...