Maziaz v. Corinzon, Inc. et al
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)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
Case No.: G.JH-14-3615
INC., et aI.,
filed a Complaint
at the Jessup Correctional
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ~ 1983 alleging that beginning
been denied constitutionally
pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary
Syed Rizvi; John Moss; Lashuana
in 2010, he has
medical care for his cervical spine injury. ECF NO.5.
No. 71. Two responses
Plaintiff Donald Maziarz, who is incarcerated
Grier; and Emanual
have been tiled on Maziarz's
tiled on behalf of the
Dr. Andrew Moultrie;
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
ECF No. 76. In addition,
Request for Admission,
ECF No. 78.
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'
is granted, Maziarz's
Motion for Continuance
is denied, and Defendants'
Motion to Quash is denied as moot.
to this Court's March 14,2016 Order, the Court dismissed
Corizon employees, and JCI Warden John Wolfe. See ECF No. 66.
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.
Pin cites to documents
by that system.
filed on the Court's
filing system (CM/ECF)
refer to the page numbers generated
claim that these individual
ECF NO.5. alleged facts sufficient
failed to provide Maziarz with constitutionally
medical care as a result of delay, interference,
of medical services.
to state a
ECF No. 66 at
A. Motion for Summary .Judgment
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
as a matter of law."' "This standard provides
of some alleged factual dispute between the parties wi II not defeat an
motion for summary judgment;
is that there be no
genuine issue of male rial fact." Anderson v. Liberly Lobby. Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986)
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,
F.3d 639, 644-45
the court must "view the evidence
and draw all inferences
in the light most
in her favor without weighing
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
have the burden of proof. See Celolex Corp. v. Calrell, 477 U.S. 317,322-23
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
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
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
paI1 of the alleged inflicter ... becomes essential to proof of deliberate indifference
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
U.S. at 844. Reasonableness
officials may avoid liability "if
to the risk, even if the harm ultimately was not averted:'
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.
may be demonstrated
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
Quinones, 145 F.3d at 168. Mere negligence or malpractice
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).
medical records, provided by Wexford. indicate that once Wexford assumed
health care responsibilities
for .ICI in .Iuly of 20 12. the Defendants conducted multiple post-
and treatment instructions,
and CT scans. ECF Nos. 71-3 and 71-4.
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
facts set forth by the Defendants.4
Kanji, which provides
ECF No. 75 and 77. Maziarz introduces
a letter from Dr. Ali D.
May 8. 2013 MRI results.s ECF No. 75-1.
Kanji opines that at the time of his review, Maziarz's
severe left foraminal
stenosis at C7-Tl
"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
for present deficits by an orthopedic
Id. At worst, in light of evidence
this letter could be construed
or that Defendants'
severe left foraminal
that he was receiving
to suggest that Maziarz's
stenosis at C7-TI.
surgeon or pain management
surgery was not
plan was unsuccessful
Even if true, this falls short of deliberate
serious medical need.
The record is clear that Defendants
based on Maziarz's
to be a reasonable
with the care he received
course of action for Maziarz's
ECF No. 71-2 ~ 31, and Maziarz missed a neurosurgery
~ 44), but his treatment
of his constitutional
Maziarz was not
denied his request for feed-in status.
consult due to a scheduling
like that received under Corizon, does not amount to a
rights. The Defendants
are entitled to summary judgment.6
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.
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).
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
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
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.
For the reasons stated, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 71. is
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
Quash, ECF No. 80, is denied as moot. A separate Order follows.
GEORGE J. HAZEL
United States District Judge
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