Maziaz v. Corinzon, Inc. et al

Filing 82

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 9/21/2017. (kns, Deputy Clerk) Modified to include (c/m on 9/21/2017). (kns, Deputy Clerk)

Download PDF
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND Southern Division * DONALD MAZIARZ, * Plaintiff, * v. Case No.: G.JH-14-3615 * CORIZON, INC., et aI., * Defendants. * * * * * * * * * MEMORANDUM filed a Complaint * * at the Jessup Correctional pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ~ 1983 alleging that beginning been denied constitutionally adequate pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary following employees of Wexford Syed Rizvi; John Moss; Lashuana * Institution in 2010, he has medical care for his cervical spine injury. ECF NO.5. Currently No. 71. Two responses * OPINION Plaintiff Donald Maziarz, who is incarcerated ("JCI"). * Health Sources, Judgment Inc. ('"Wexford"): Grier; and Emanual have been tiled on Maziarz's tiled on behalf of the Dr. Andrew Moultrie; Esianor (collectively, "Defendants Dr. ..).1 ECF behalf; one pro-se and one by an attorney upon his entry into the case. ECF Nos. 75 and 77. Counsel for Plaintiff also tiled a Motion for Continuance, ECF No. 76. In addition, Request for Admission, motions. Summary ECF No. 78. Defendants have filed a Motion to Quash Maziarz's See ECF No. 80. No hearing is necessary to resolve the Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow. Defendants' Judgment is granted, Maziarz's Motion for Continuance Motion for is denied, and Defendants' Motion to Quash is denied as moot. I Pursuant to this Court's March 14,2016 Order, the Court dismissed Corizon employees, and JCI Warden John Wolfe. See ECF No. 66. defendants Wexford, Corizon, Inc, individual I. BACKGROUND2 Maziarz was diagnosed with degenerative disk disease and spondylosis of the cervical spine while serving time in the custody of the Maryland Department of Correction at .ICI. ECF NO.1 at 4.3 Maziarz underwent surgery on February 29. 2012 and received follow-on treatment from that time through filing his Amended Complaint on .Ianuary 7, 2015. ECF NO.5. Maziarz alleges that the medical care he received was not consistent, timely, or effective and his condition remains untreated or possibly exacerbated due to ".IC1 Medical Dept. and its overseers" not working together to coordinate appointments and provide complete treatment. ECF No. 1 at 4. In his Amended Complaint, Maziarz named a number of defendants, including Corizon Inc. ("Corizon"), Wexford, JCI Warden John Wolfe, and individuals employed by Corizon or Wexford. ECF NO.5. Corizon provided health care services to Maryland inmates from January 2010 until June 30. 2012. at which time its contract with the State of Maryland was terminated and its health care responsibilities were transferred to Wexford. ECF No. 42 at 5-6. Thus. some individual defendants were employed by both corporations. On March 14,2016, this Court dismissed Maziarz's claims against defendants Corizon, Wexford, and Wolfe. ECF No. 67. The Court granted summary judgment in favor of individual defendants employed by Corizon. including Moss and Moultrie, for claims arising on or before June 30, 2012, because the evidence indicated that Maziarz received adequate medical treatment during the time in which Corizon provided him with health care services. ECF No. 66 at 15-16. However, the Court did not dismiss Maziarz's claims against the individual defendants employed A detailed factual and procedural background is provided in this Court"s March 14,2016 Order, ECF No. 66, and only facts necessary to the resolution of the pending motions are repeated herein. Unless stated otherwise. the facts are taken from the Amended Complaint, ECF NO.5, and assumed to be true. 2 Pin cites to documents by that system. 3 filed on the Court's electronic filing system (CM/ECF) 2 refer to the page numbers generated by Wexford because Maziarz's claim that these individual Amended defendants Complaint. ECF NO.5. alleged facts sufficient failed to provide Maziarz with constitutionally medical care as a result of delay, interference, and withholding of medical services. to state a adequate ECF No. 66 at 16-17. II. STANDARD OF REVIEW A. Motion for Summary .Judgment Summary Judgment is governed shall grant summary judgment by Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a), which provides that ..[t]he court if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment that the mere existence otherwise properly as a matter of law."' "This standard provides of some alleged factual dispute between the parties wi II not defeat an supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of male rial fact." Anderson v. Liberly Lobby. Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986) (emphasis judgment in original). Thus, "[t]he party opposing 'may not rest upon the mere allegations a properly supported motion for summary or denials of [his] pleadings.' 'set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Ravens Foolball Club. Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 525 (4th Cir. 2003) (alteration but rather must BOl/chal v. Ballimore in original) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)). On a motion for summary judgment, favorable to ... evidence or assessing F.3d 639, 644-45 genuine the nonmovant. the court must "view the evidence and draw all inferences the witness' credibility."' in the light most in her favor without weighing the Dennis v. Columbia Collelon Med. Clr .. Inc .. 290 (4th Cir. 2002). The moving party bears the burden of showing that there is no issue as to any material party fails to make a sufficient fact. No genuine issue of material fact exists if the nonmoving showing on an essential element of his case as to which he would 3 have the burden of proof. See Celolex Corp. v. Calrell, 477 U.S. 317,322-23 (1986). Therefore, on those issues on which the nonmoving party has the burden of prooL it is his responsibility to confront the summary judgment motion with an affidavit or other similar evidence showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. B. Constitutionally Adequate Medical Care The Eighth Amendment prohibits "unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain" by virtue of its guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment. Cregg 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 'Lonla v. Angelone, 330 F. 3d 630, 633 (4th Cir. 2003) (citing Wilson v. Seiler, 50 I U.S. 294, 297 (1991)). In order to state an Eighth Amendment claim for denial of medical care, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the actions of the defendants-or failure to act-amounted their to deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. See Eslelle v. Camble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). Deliberate indifference to a serious medical need requires proof that, objectively, the prisoner plaintiff was suffering from a serious medical need and that, subjectively. the prison staff were aware of the need for medical attention but failed to either provide it or ensure the needed care was available. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825. 837 (1994). The medical condition at issue must be objectively serious. See Hudson v. Melv/illian. 503 U.S. I, 9 (1992) (there is no expectation that prisoners will be provided with unqualified access to health care). The subjective component requires "subjective recklessness" in the face of the serious medical condition. See Farmer, 511 U.S. at 839-40. "True subjective recklessness requires knowledge both of the general risk. and also that the conduct is inappropriate in light of that risk:' Rich v. Bruce, 129 F.3d 336, 340 n. 2 (4th Cir. 1997). "Actual knowledge or awareness on the 4 paI1 of the alleged inflicter ... becomes essential to proof of deliberate indifference 'because prison officials who lacked knowledge of a risk cannot be said to have inflicted punishment. ,.. Brice v. Va. Beach Correctional Center. 58 F.3d 101, 105 (4th Cir. 1995) (quoting Farmer 5\\ U.S. at 844). If the requisite subjective knowledge they responded reasonably U.S. at 844. Reasonableness is established, officials may avoid liability "if to the risk, even if the harm ultimately was not averted:' Farmer. 511 of the actions taken must be judged in light of the risk the defendant actually knew existed at the time. See Brown v. Harris, 240 F.3d 383, 390 (4th Cir. 2000). In essence, the treatment rendered must be so grossly incompetent shock the conscience or to be intolerable to fundamental 851 (4th Cir. 1990) (citation omitted). "Deliberate actual intent or reckless disregard:' or inadequate as to fairness. Miltier v. Beorn. 896 F.2d 848. indifference may be demonstrated by either Miltier, 896 F.2d at 851. Reckless disregard occurs when a defendant "knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or safety: the [defendant] must both be aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists and he must also draw the inference." care provider must have actual knowledge Fanner, 511 U.S. at 837. Thus, a health of a serious condition, not just knowledge of the symptoms. Quinones, 145 F.3d at 168. Mere negligence or malpractice deprivation of constitutional does not rise to a rights. Russell v. Sheffer. 528 F.2d 318. 319 (4th Cir. 1975): Donlan v. Smith, 662 F. Supp. 352, 361 (D. Md. 1986). III. DISCUSSION Maziarz's medical records, provided by Wexford. indicate that once Wexford assumed health care responsibilities surgery examinations, for .ICI in .Iuly of 20 12. the Defendants conducted multiple post- administered medication and treatment instructions, and CT scans. ECF Nos. 71-3 and 71-4. 5 and performed MRI From July 2012 through January 2014, Maziarz met with Moultrie seven times whereby Moultrie conducted examinations, reviewed the results of a June 14,2012 MR1, ordered additional MRI and CT scans to be performed at the Bon Secours Hospital due to Maziarz's complaints of numbness in his extremities, and reviewed the results of these additional scans with Maziarz. ECF No. 71-2 ~~ 26,27,29,33,36,38,40. Maziarz's June 14,2012 MRI revealed, among other things, that "Ieft foraminal stenosis at C7- T1, not seen previously ... could be artifact resulting from differences in the exact level scan. Correlation with CT is suggested to assess bony detail." ld. ~ 22. Maziarz received the additional CT scan on March I, 2013 and the additional MRI on May 8, 2013. ld. ~ 30, 34. Following his CT scan, Maziarz was examined by Dr. David Blanton. who noted that Maziarz's "cervical fusion was stable and no other abnormality found." ld. at 30. Following his MRI, Dr. Matthew Kalman reviewed the results and noted "that there was slight atrophy of the spinal cord at C6-7 level with no cord compression. It was also noted that there was moderate bilateral neural foraminal stenosis at C6-7 with severe left foraminal stenosis at C7-TI." ld. ~ 34. From July 2012 through November 2014, Physician's Assistant Moss met with Maziarz five times to examine him and refill his medication and at no time noted Maziarz to be in any apparent distress. ld. ~~ 31,32,39,42,45. Maziarz was examined by Rizvi on March 18.2014 and June 2, 2014 due to complaints of neck pain, and Rizvi similarly noted that Maziarz was not in any apparent distress. ld. ~ 41, 43. Due to his complaint of numbness, Maziarz was also examined by Dr. Bolaji Onabajo on August 12,2013, who again noted that Maziarz was not in distress and did not have bone or joint pain or swelling. ld. ~ 37. In response to Defendants' Motion. Maziarz repeats statements made in his Amended Complaint regarding Defendants' failure to provide adequate care but does not contest any of the 6 facts set forth by the Defendants.4 Kanji, which provides ECF No. 75 and 77. Maziarz introduces an assessment a letter from Dr. Ali D. May 8. 2013 MRI results.s ECF No. 75-1. of Maziarz's Kanji opines that at the time of his review, Maziarz's severe left foraminal stenosis at C7-Tl was "just as bad if not worse than it was at the time of the last scan" and that Maziarz "would seem to need an immediate professional as needed." going treatment, performed assessment for present deficits by an orthopedic Id. At worst, in light of evidence this letter could be construed correctly or that Defendants' severe left foraminal demonstrating that he was receiving to suggest that Maziarz's treatment stenosis at C7-TI. surgeon or pain management on- surgery was not plan was unsuccessful in addressing Even if true, this falls short of deliberate Maziarz's indifference to a serious medical need. The record is clear that Defendants additional evaluations Defendants satisfied believed based on Maziarz's to be a reasonable with the care he received continually monitored complaints of numbness, course of action for Maziarz's (for example, Defendants' ECF No. 71-2 ~ 31, and Maziarz missed a neurosurgery ~ 44), but his treatment violation under Wexford, of his constitutional Maziarz's progress, performed and provided recovery. what Maziarz was not denied his request for feed-in status. consult due to a scheduling mix-up. id. like that received under Corizon, does not amount to a rights. The Defendants are entitled to summary judgment.6 As this While Maziarz does not dispute the veracity of the medical records, he has filed a second Request for Admission as to the authenticity of the certified medical records. ECF No. 51 and 78. Maziarz's request does not preclude the Court from ruling on Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment, and Defendants Motion to Quash this request. ECF No. 80, is denied as moot. 4 The letter is undated but was presumably written in January 2014 as Kanji notes that "we are now 8 months away from that last [May 8. 2013] MRI." ECF No. 75-1. Notwithstanding the discussion that follows, Kanji's signed but unsworn and undated letter cannot be used to oppose a motion for summary judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)( I). 5 Maziarz's Amended Complaint alleges that both Grier, who was vested with the authority to coordinate inmates' medical care and concerns with security staff, ECF NO.5 at 6, and Esianor, another Physician's Assistant, id. at 7, failed to properly treat Maziarz. Those claims are not addressed in Defendants' Statement of Facts Not in Genuine Dispute, ECF No. 71-2, but Plaintiff has failed to provide evidence demonstrating their reckless indifference. Maziarz's medical records do not indicate that Maziarz was personally seen by either Grier or Esianor, and Maziarz 6 7 Court previously stated: Any delays in providing treatment, diagnostic evaluations, or follow up care which have occurred do hot appear to be deliberate. nor have they resulted in any harm to Maziarz. Maziarz's numerous grievances with the medical decisions made regarding what tests and treatments are necessary in Iight of the symptoms presented are reflecti ve 0 f his frustration, but "(d]isagreements between an inmate and a physician over the inmate's proper medical care do not state a ~ 1983 claim unless exceptional circumstances are alleged." Wright v. Collins, 766 F.2d 841, 849 (4th Cir. 1985) (citing Gilllemacker v. Prasse, 428 F.2d 1,6 (3rd Cir. 1970)). There are no exceptional circumstances alleged in this case. ECF No. 66 at 15. In addition to responses to Defendants' Motion filed by both Maziarz and Maziarz's attorney, ECF Nos. 75 and 77, Maziarz's attorney filed two identical Motions for Continuance. ECF Nos. 75 and 76. The only support offered for the request is that Maziarz has only recently retained counsel, and he requires time to sufficiently prepare his case. Id. Maziarz has not provided any specific reasons as to why he cannot present facts, or what additional discovery he may need, to oppose Defendants' Motion. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); see also Works v. Colvin, 519 Fed. Appx. 176, 183 (4th Cir. 2013) ("parties wishing to obtain additional discovery must specifically allege why information sought would have been sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact such that it would have defeated summary judgment") (internal citation omitted). Maziarz has not elected to support his claim with additional evidence beyond the allegations made in his Amended Complaint, and the Motion for Continuance is denied. IV. CONCLUSION For the reasons stated, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 71. is granted. Plaintiffs Motion for Continuance, ECF No. 76. is denied, and Defendants' Motion to offers no additional evidence to suggest otherwise. The Court finds that the staff of Wexford as a whole did not violate Maziarz's rights and has no basis to infer that Grier or Esianor individually violated Maziarz's constitutional rights. 8 Quash, ECF No. 80, is denied as moot. A separate Order follows. Date: September Zd .2017 • ~~- GEORGE J. HAZEL United States District Judge 9

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?