Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ward v. Hammond et al. (Maryland U.S.D.C.) (Not approved for publication)

Filed March 30, 2007 --Opinion by Judge Catherine Blake

Ward, an inmate at the Western Correctional Institution ("WCI"), alleged that medical personnel at WCI had denied him medical treatment and housing for his complaints regarding knee and lower back problems related to an old automobile accident. The court considered motions to dismiss and/or for summary judgment, granting all but those pertaining to Plaintiff's claims against defendants Hammond, Van Meter, and Tessema (respectively, a nurse practitioner, nurse, and physician at WCI) for his medical treatment prior to July 1, 2005, based on a delay in providing treatment prior to that date.

The count asserted against Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services ("DPSCS") was dismissed because DPSCS is not a "person" under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. Defendants CMS and PHS were dismissed because the doctrine of respondeat superior liability does not apply to § 1983 claims. The count asserted against those defendants stemmed from violations of prison directives, which the court held did not give rise to a § 1983 claim or a private right of action.

The court explained that a denial of medical care claim in violation of the Eighth Amendment required the plaintiff to prove an objectively serious medical condition and a subjective component of deliberate indifference on the part of prison officials or health care personnel. The Court determined that there was no dispute that Ward had a medical problem involving his knees relating to injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident in the mid 1980's. The Court found a genuine dispute of material fact regarding the constitutionality of the level of care received by Ward for his orthopedic condition prior to July 1, 2005. Thus summary judgment was not granted for that time period as to the medical defendants.

The Opinion and Order are available in PDF.

No comments: