United States District Court, D. Maryland
DAVID J. RIDGLEY, SR., Plaintiff
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., et al. Defendants
Xinis, United States District Judge
David Ridgley, an inmate confined at the Western Correctional
Institution, filed a civil rights complaint, contending that
the named defendants failed to provide adequate medical
treatment and in violation of his Eighth Amendment right to
be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Defendants Wexford
Health Sources, Inc. ("Wexford"), Mahboob Ashraf,
M.D., Fatima Hussein, M.D., Asresahegn Getachew, M.D., Ava
Joubert-Curtis, M.D., Robustiano Barrera, M.D., Janette
Clark, N.P., Holly Pierce, N.P., Stephen D. Ryan, Beverly
McLaughlin, N.P., Krista Self, N.P., Michael Klepitch, R.N.,
Terri Davis, P.A., Marion Diaz, R.N., Dennis Martin, R.N.,
Ashley Chucci, R.N., Linda Stair, R.N., Jami Wratchford,
R.N., and Jennifer Decker, R.N., (collectively the
"Medical Defendants”) (ECF Nos. 21 & 46) along
with Correctional Defendant Warden Richard J. Graham (ECF No.
34) filed Motions to Dismiss or in the alternative for
Summary Judgment. The Court notified Ridgley that failure to
oppose the motions may result in the Court ruling in
Defendants' favor without the benefit of his response.
ECF Nos. 22, 35, 47. The Court also gave Ridgley additional
time to respond (ECF Nos. 50, 51), but he did not do so.
After reviewing the pleadings, the Court finds no hearing
necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For
the reasons that follow, Defendants' motions, construed
as Motions for Summary Judgment, are GRANTED.
August 9, 2018, Ridgley initiated suit in this Court pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he was denied
constitutionally adequate medical care regarding his long
term knee pain and an array of skin infections. ECF No. 1 at
pp. 2-3. The Court required Ridgley to amend the Complaint.
ECF No. 3. In response, Ridgley reasserted the same claims
and named the individual Defendants. ECF No. 6. Ridgley next
filed a “Motion to Amend/Correct” the Complaint
to include claims arising in November of 2018 during which
time he developed a “staf bump” on his stomach.
ECF No. 24. In that same motion, Ridgley also supplemented
the facts on which he based his original claims arising from
the alleged lack of care for his knee. Id. at p. 2.
the above-described pleadings collectively, Ridgley brings
three primary claims. First, with regard to his knee, Ridgley
contends that Defendants delayed or denied him
constitutionally adequate medical care. Specifically, Ridgley
contends that he began seeking medical care for his knee in
June or July of 2017. ECF No. 1, p. 2. The analgesic
medication provided, however, did not alleviate his pain,
which prompted him to request a series of sick calls through
May of 2018. Id., p. 3. Ridgley also alleges an
array of medical deficiencies, including failure to timely
provide diagnostic and medical treatment, causing his
condition to worsen. ECF No. 24, p. 2.
separately raises that Defendants failed to treat his staph
infections. Ridgley particularly contends that in June of
2018, he developed an infection on the back of his right
upper leg that “ate all the way to the muscle.”
ECF No. 24, p. 3. Ridgley also complains of the inadequate
care surrounding a staph “bump” on his stomach
that he developed in November 2018. ECF No. 24, p. 1.
Although he was seen by medical providers, Ridgley avers that
they failed to culture the infections or provide
constitutionally adequate medical treatment, causing him to
suffer four staph infections and one case of MRSA
(Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) since January
2018. ECF No. 1, p. 3.
Ridgley contends that Defendant Clark ordered his assignment
to a bottom tier and bottom bunk and light work duty in
retaliation for his having initiated suit. He argues that
Clark knew her order would cause him to lose his prison job
and be moved off the preferred housing tier, and nonetheless
proceeded in retaliation for Ridgley asserting his claims.
Id. Ridgley asserts separate retaliation claims
against Dr. Getachew for how he administered Ridgely's
have moved for summary judgment and included as evidence
Ridgley's verified medical record (ECF No. 21-4; ECF No.
46-4) and declarations of Dr. Getachew (ECF No. 21-5; ECF No.
46-5), Warden Richard J. Graham, Jr., (ECF No. 34-2), and
Alicia A. Cartwright, Correctional Officer II (ECF No. 34-3).
Ridgley was therefore on notice that the Court construe the
motions as ones for summary judgment. Laughlin v. Metro.
Wash. Airports Auth., 149 F.3d 253, 261 (4th Cir. 1998).
The Court proceeds accordingly.
Ridgley's Medical History
26, 2017, Ridgley first complained of pain in both knees to
Defendant McLaughlin, a nurse practitioner. ECF No. 21-4, p.
2. Ridgley did not report any injuries and he had no
bruising, decreased mobility, instability, limping, or
swelling. Id. McLaughlin ordered x-rays of the
knees, prescribed Tylenol, and encouraged Ridgley to perform
exercises to stretch and strengthen his quadriceps and
hamstrings. Id. The x-rays, taken on June 1, 2017,
revealed no abnormalities. Id., p. 55.
14, 2017, Ridgley returned for a sick call visit, complaining
that Ibuprofen and Tylenol did not relieve his knee pain. ECF
No. 21-4, p. 5. The nurse on duty referred Ridgley for a
medical provider visit. Id., p. 6. Ridgley was seen
three days later by Defendant Terri Davis, a physician
assistant. Id., p. 7. Again, Ridgley reported pain
in both knees and Davis discussed with him that he should
take any prescribed pain relievers with food. Id.
later, on July 13, 2017, Defendant Nurse Klepitch saw Ridgley
during a sick call visit where he complained that he was
still having pain in both knees. ECF No. 21-4, p 8. Klepitch
referred Ridgley for a medical provider visit, and on July
23, 2016, Defendant Holly Pierce, a nurse practitioner saw
him. Id., p. 11. Pierce examined Ridgley and noted
that neither knee appeared swollen or was warm to the touch
and Ridgley had full range of motion. Id. Pierce
added capsaicin for Ridgley to use topically. Id.
Pierce also continued Ridgley on Ibuprofen, Glucosamine
Chondroitin, and Extra Strength Tylenol. Id., p. 12.
continued to complain of knee and leg pain. On September 8,
2017, Nurse Diaz evaluated him. ECF No. 21-4, p. 14. During
the visit, Ridgley reported that the medications “took
some of the pain off but not enough.” Id. He
described the “pain as needles and pins to lateral side
of right knee down leg.” Id. Diaz noted that
Ridgley had full range of motion and his knees were not
swollen. Id. Diaz referred Ridgley for a medical
provider visit. Id., p. 15.
two weeks, Defendant Klepitch evaluated Ridgley again. ECF
No. 21-4, p. 16. During that visit, Ridgley complained of
worsening pain in his left knee and that it “went out
on him a few days ago.” Id. Ridgley also
shared that the knee had been “scoped a few years
ago” and that the pain was near the scope area and
“feels like broken glass.” Id. Klepitch
documented minor swelling and decreased range of motion in
Ridgley's left knee. Again, Ridgley was referred for a
medical provider visit. Id., p. 17.
submitted a sick call slip on March 3, 2018, complaining of
knee pain. ECF No. 21-4, p. 82. Defendant, Nurse Dennis
Martin, examined Ridgley on March 6, 2018. Id., p.
27. Martin's notes reflect that Ridgley had last received
care for his knees in September of 2017. Id. Ridgley
reported during this visit that Ibuprofen was not effective
but he did not want to be given Naprosyn or Tylenol.
Id. Nurse Martin examined Ridgley and documented
that he had good range of motion, was able to bear full
weight, but that he had moderate swelling. Id.
Martin encouraged Ridgley to continue stretching exercises
and made another referral for a medical provider visit.
Id., pp. 27-28.
response to another sick call slip submitted on March 14,
2018 for knee pain (ECF No. 21-4, p. 83), Defendant Clark
evaluated Ridgley on March 17, 2018. Id., p. 29.
Again Ridgley complained of intermittent and worsening of
pain in his left knee as well as instability, stiffness,
tenderness and weakness. Id. Ridgley also reported
difficulty climbing stairs, exercising, kneeling and
performing unspecified activities of daily living.
Id. Clark noted that Ridgley's left knee was
tender with mildly reduced range of motion. Id., p.
30. Clark renewed the prescriptions for Glucosamine
Chondroitin and Capsaicin and referred Ridgley to physical
therapy. Id., p. 33.
March 29, 2018, Plaintiff was evaluated by Physical Therapist
Stephen Ryan. ECF No. 21-4, p. 34. Upon examination, Ryan set
as one goal to increase Ridgley's quadricep. Ryan also
intended to establish with Ridgley self-management program.
Id. Ridgley returned for physical therapy on April
8, 2018. Id., p. 35.
April 9, 2018, Ridgley inquired, via sick call slip, about
the status of his physical therapy and knee sleeve. ECF No.
21-4, p. 84. He was seen on April 12, 2018, by Nurse Diaz.
Id., p. 36. Diaz noted Plaintiff started physical
therapy on April 9, 2018 and advised Plaintiff that she would
look into the status of his knee brace. Id., pp. 37,
failed to appear for physical therapy on April 16, 2018. ECF
No. 21-4, p. 38. During physical therapy on April 18, 2018,
Plaintiff reported that his knee popped out while doing
sit-ups, and although he experienced some swelling, he did
not complain of pain and nothing was altered in his treatment
plan. Id., p. 39. However, at physical therapy two
days later, Plaintiff reported pain measuring nine of ten in
severity. Id., p. 40.
April 23, 2018, Ridgley complained that the physical therapy
exercises increases his pain and causes his knee to
“pop.” Id., p. 41. The physical therapy
assistant noted that he would discuss Ridgley's care with
the physical therapist prior to his next visit. On May 3,
2018, Ridgley was reevaluated by physical therapist Ryan.
Ridgley reported that physical therapy had not helped, his
left knee still gave out, and he experienced some numbness on
the back thigh. Id., ...