United States District Court, D. Maryland
RICKEY B. TIBBS, #4410-362/166-9140, Plaintiff
WARDEN PHILIP J. MORGAN, THE WEXFORD UM, EMMANUEL NWOSU, R.N., YETUNDE P. ROTIMI, N.P., DOCTOR YONAS SISAY, DOCTOR ATANFU, Defendants
Xinis United States District Judge.
B. Tibbs, an inmate currently confined at Eastern
Correctional Institution (“ECI”), filed suit
against Philip J. Morgan, the Warden of Maryland Correctional
Institution in Jessup (“MCIJ”), Maryland; the
contractual prison health care provider, Wexford Health
Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”); and several medical
providers who appear to be Wexford employees. Tibbs asserts
that while incarcerated at MCIJ, he received constitutionally
inadequate medical care on several occasions in 2018, in
violation of his right to be free from cruel and unusual
punishment as guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment to the
United States Constitution. ECF No. 1, pp. 5-23; ECF No. 20,
pp. 1-2. Warden Morgan (“Morgan”) now moves for
dismissal or alternatively summary judgment in his favor. ECF
No. 15. This motion is ripe and ready for review, and a
hearing is unnecessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md.
2018). For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants
not a medical provider (ECF No. 15-5, Morgan Decl., ¶
2), Defendant Morgan has submitted relevant medical records
which this Court considers in the light most favorable to
Tibbs. It is undisputed that 58-year-old Tibbs suffers from
hypothyroidism (low thyroid levels), deep vein thrombosis and
pulmonary embolism. ECF No. 15-3 at p. 2. On February 20,
2018, Tibbs reported that his right arm and leg were numb, he
had fallen, and found it difficult to speak. Id.
Medical staff examined Tibbs, noting no focal neurological
deficit or arm weakness, and that Tibbs spoke clearly with
normal facial movement. Id. Finding no evidence that
Tibbs had suffered a stroke, staff continued to hydrate Tibbs
and kept him for two hours of observation. Id.
Although records reflect that Tibbs “left the clinic
against medical advise (sic), ” Tibbs maintained that
staff ignored his needs. ECF No. 15-3, p. 2.
little over a month later, on March 24, 2018, Tibbs became
dizzy, started to cough, and fell down the stairs, cutting
the back of his head. He was seen by in-house medical staff
who assessed that Tibbs sustained a “superficial injury
to the skin.” ECF No. 15-3, p. 9. Tibbs reported
occasional dizziness on March 29, 2018. Id., p. 10.
After additional visits to the medical unit, Tibbs was
approved for an outside neurological consult at Bon Secours
Hospital which occurred on May 23, 2018. ECF No. 1-2, p. 40.
The consult revealed no serious neurological deficits. ECF
No. 1-2, p. 41. Tibbs also underwent an MRI on July 20, 2018
which revealed “no evidence of . . . lesion, hemorrhage
. . . [or] acute CVA (cerebrovascular accident, ” also
known as a “stroke”). ECF No. 15-3, pp. 19.
Despite these findings, Tibbs reported on June 10, 2018, that
he continued to experience dizziness and headaches since his
fall down the stairs. Id., p. 21.
thereafter complained to the Warden through the
Administrative Remedy Procedure (“ARP”) about his
medical care. ECF No. 15-4, pp. 3-4. On May 14, 2018, Morgan
dismissed the grievance, reasoning that the medical records
did not document any neurological deficits or any medical
findings that required an emergency room visit for either a
stroke or concussion. Id., p. 5. Tibbs appealed this
decision to the Commissioner. The appeal, which was not
processed initially, was resubmitted on June 5, 2018, and
dismissed on July 26, 2018, based on a determination that
Tibbs' condition had improved after his arrival at the
medical unit. Id. 
again complained in a separate ARP about the episode on March
24, 2018, in which he suffered a sudden onset of dizziness,
fell down a flight of stairs, and cut his head. ECF No. 1-2,
pp. 4-6. Tibbs contended that the medical staff were
“generally unprofessional” and not acting
“in the best interest of me” by failing to follow
concussion protocol and treat his laceration properly.
Id., pp. 5-6. On May 14, 2018, Morgan dismissed the
second grievance as “repetitive” of the first.
ECF No. 15-4, p. 7. Tibbs appealed Morgan's determination
to the Commissioner of Correction who dismissed the action on
July 26, 2018. Id., pp. 11, 13.
Standard of Review
moves to dismiss the Complaint or alternatively for summary
judgment in his favor. A motion to dismiss brought pursuant
to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules if Civil Procedure
tests the sufficiency of the Complaint. When reviewing such a
motion, the Court takes all well-pleaded Complaint
allegations as true and most favorably to the plaintiff.
Venkatraman v. REI Sys., Inc., 417 F.3d 418, 420
(4th Cir. 2005), citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v.
Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993); Ibarra
v. United States, 120 F.3d 472, 473 (4th Cir. 1997). To
survive a motion to dismiss, “a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009)
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “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. “But
where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer
more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint
has alleged -- but it has not ‘show[n]' --
‘that the pleader is entitled to relief.'”
Id. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).
the parties have also submitted evidence that go beyond the
facts averred in the Complaint.  Accordingly, the Court may
construe the motion as one for summary judgment brought
pursuant to Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Summary judgment is proper where no genuine issue
as to any material fact entitles the moving party to judgment
as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c);
see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 250 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986). The movant bears the burden of demonstrating
no genuine issue of material fact. See Fed. R. Civ.
P. 56(c); Pulliam, 810 F.2d at 1286 (citing
Charbonnages de France v. Smith, 597 F.2d 406, 414
(4th Cir. 1979)). “A party opposing a properly
supported motion for summary judgment ‘may not rest
upon the mere allegations or denials of [his] pleadings,'
but rather must ‘set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial.'” Bouchat
v. Baltimore Ravens Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514,
522 (4th Cir. 2003) (alteration in original) (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). When assessing the propriety of summary
judgment, the Court views the evidence in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party and draws all inferences in
his favor. Dennis v. Columbia Colleton Med.
Ctr., Inc., 290 F.3d 639, 644-45 (4th Cir.
Eighth Amendment prohibits “unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain” through the guarantee against cruel
and unusual punishment. Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S.
153, 173 (1976). Scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment is not
limited to those punishments authorized by statute and
imposed by a criminal judgment, ” De'Lonta v.
Angelone, 330 F.3d 630, 633 (4th Cir. 2003), and may
include claims premised on denial of medical care. To sustain
this claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate that
defendants' acts or omissions amounted to deliberate
indifference to a serious medical need. See Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976).
indifference is a very high standard - a showing of mere
negligence will not meet it. . . . [T]he Constitution is
designed to deal with deprivations of rights, not errors in
judgments, even though such errors may have unfortunate
consequences.” Grayson v. Peed, 195 F.3d 692,
695-96 (4th Cir. 1999). To demonstrate a defendant's
deliberate indifference to a serious medical need, the
plaintiff must show that, objectively, he was suffering from
a serious medical need and that, subjectively, the prison
staff were aware of the need for medical care but failed to
provide it or assure that necessary care was available.
See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994).
Objectively, the medical condition at issue must be serious.
See Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9 (1992). A
medical condition is serious when “ diagnosed by a
physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious
that even a lay person would easily recognize the necessity
for a doctor's attention.” Iko v. Shreve,
535 F.3d 225, 241 (4th Cir. 2008).
primarily contends that summary judgment is warranted because
he is not involved in any aspect of providing medical care to
the MCIJ inmates, including Tibbs. Rather, Tibbs focuses on
Morgan's failure to fully investigate Tibbs's
administrative grievances against the medical provider and
its staff. ECF No. 21, pp. 5-8. In an uncontroverted
Declaration, Morgan avers that he had no personal involvement
in the provision of medical care to any MCIJ inmate, and no
authority to order contractual medical staff to perform any
particular medical procedure or ...