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Moody v. Williams

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

February 11, 2014

Marvin Moody, Plaintiff,
Alisa Williams, et al., Defendants.


GERALD BRUCE LEE, District Judge.

This Matter comes before the Court on defendants Branch and Burnett's joint Motion for Summary Judgment, docket #77, and defendants Cushionberry, Motsumi Moja, Nixon, Williams, Alisa Williams, and Carolyn Williams's joint Motion for Summary Judgment, docket # 80. Marvin Moody, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, has filed a civil rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. By Order dated June 29, 2012, the Court dismissed with prejudice plaintiff s retaliation claim. The Court then dismissed without prejudice defendants Muhammad and Pabla pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m), by Orders dated February 12, 2013 and February 25, 2013, respectively. Defendants Branch and Burnett filed their joint Motion for Summary Judgment on May 14, 2013, and gave plaintiff the notice required by Local Rule 7(K) and Roseboro v. Garrison , 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975). Defendants Cushionberry, Motsumi Moja, Nixon, Williams, Alisa Williams, and Carolyn Williams filed their joint Motion for Summary Judgment on May 16, 2013 and gave plaintiff the notice required by Local Rule 7(K) and Roseboro. Plaintiff has filed an opposition to both of the motions. For the reasons below, defendants Branch and Burnett's joint Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted, in part, and denied, in part. Defendants Cushionberry, Motsumi Moja, Nixon, Williams, Alisa Williams, and Carolyn Williams's joint Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted.

I. Background

Plaintiff's Statement of Fact

Plaintiff alleges that since June 2011, he has sought medical treatment for "an unknown heart condition, " that causes him to shake, experience uncomfortable vibrations, and causes slight numbness and pressure in his chest. Compl. at 5, ECF No. 1. He also alleges that his condition has also affected his ability to sleep because he feels as if his heart will "stop beating" when he lies down. Id. at 5.

In August 2011, plaintiff met with the jail psychiatrist, defendant Alisa Williams. Id. at 6. Plaintiff alleges that his entire conversation with her was based "solely on [his] heart." Id . Defendant Alisa Williams prescribed anti-anxiety medication for plaintiff. Id . According to plaintiff, the medication had several negative side effects, which included causing him to shake and go into "dazes." Id . Plaintiff tried three different anti-anxiety medications over the next six months.

Around September 26, 2011, plaintiff alleges that he explained to defendant Carolyn Williams, the medical director, that he wanted to go to the hospital to have his heart examined. Id. at 5. Defendant Carolyn Williams allegedly told plaintiff that he could not go to the hospital because it was "costly" and the company would not approve it. Id. at 5-6.

On May 8, 2012, plaintiff was seen by defendant Motsumi Moja, the doctor at Richmond City Jail during the incidents of which plaintiff complains. Id. at 6. During the appointment, plaintiff explained to defendant Motsumi Moja that he had been experiencing "jumping of [his] heart." Id. at 7. Without performing any diagnostics, defendant Motsumi Moja, allegedly, told plaintiff "you look fine, I'm sure everything will be okay." Compl. at 7. When plaintiff continued to insist that he was suffering from heart issues, defendant Motsumi Moja asked defendant Williams, a nurse at Richmond City Jail, to perform an EKG. Am. Compl. 6 of 10. According to plaintiff, defendant Williams was "in shock" when she looked at the EKG results. Defendant Williams, allegedly, rushed over to defendant Motsumi Moja, and he told her to "get rid of that print out." Compl. at 7. Defendant Motsumi Moja then asked defendant Williams if she "know[s] how to make it look better." Defendant Williams then told plaintiff she was going to do another check because the first one did not come out correctly. Id. at 7. At that time, plaintiff alleges that defendant Williams began acting strangely and "stumbling over words." Finally, defendant Williams allegedly told defendant Motsumi Moja that she "couldn't do it." Id.

Defendant Motsumi Moja then called over defendant Cushionberry and told defendant Cushionberry there was a problem. Defendant Cushionberry began "messing with" the EKG machine and plaintiff asked defendant Cushionberry if something was wrong. Id . Before defendant Cushionberry could respond defendant Nixon, a deputy sheriff at Richmond City Jail who escorted plaintiff to his medical appointment that day, told defendant Cushionberry to tell plaintiff the "truth" because plaintiff already knew what was going on. Id. at 7-8. Eventually, defendant Cushionberry obtained a new EKG printout, which showed no problems with plaintiff s heart. Id. at 8. Plaintiff, however, alleges that the new printout was done "to deceive and [make it] appear that nothing is wrong." Id . Plaintiff told defendant Motsumi Moja he knew that his heart results were "faked." Am. Compl. 6 of 10; Pl's Opp'n Mot. Summ. J. 5.

In May 2012, plaintiff again met with defendant Alisa Williams and she allegedly told him she would no longer prescribe anti-anxiety medication for him because he did not have anxiety problems. Compl. at 6. Plaintiff states that "Alisa Williams knew she was prescribing brain meds for [plaintiff's] heart condition." Compl. at 6.

Plaintiff's allegations become somewhat difficult to follow, but it appears that he filed several grievances after his appointment with defendant Motsumi Moja. Id. at 8. Once defendant Motsumi Moja obtained knowledge of the grievances he allegedly "created false information by saying that [plaintiff] had violated jail rules and said disrespectful things during appointment[s]." Id. at 9. As a result, defendants Burnett and Branch placed plaintiff in segregation. Plaintiff alleges that his placement into segregation was retaliation. Id. at 9.

Plaintiff also alleges that defendants Burnett and Branch deprived him of liberty and due process when they placed him in segregation because they only told [him that] the doctor said you did something disrespectful.'" Id . He alleges that he was not scheduled for an institutional disciplinary hearing prior to his placement into administrative segregation. Id . On or about June 29, 2012, defendant Burnett moved plaintiff out of segregation and placed him in a cell that is "very dark with no lights and a wall in front of it that blocks light making it hard to see." Dec. 28, 2012 Am. Compl. 2. Plaintiffs cell is also next to the shower area and water from the showers "fills [his] cell... with toxic fumes because it is dirty water from inmates bodies." Id . Plaintiff alleges that as a result he cannot breathe properly and his "heart feels like it has tightened." Id . Plaintiff alleges that defendant Burnett has housed plaintiff in the worst of the over 70 rooms at his institution. Id.

On August 7, 2012, plaintiff alleges that the United States Marshall Service ("USMS") removed him from the jail and took him to multiple medical appointments, during which time "licensed doctors" assessed plaintiff's condition and prescribed blood pressure medicine. Dec. 28, 2012 Am. Compl. 2 The USMS returned plaintiff to the Richmond City Jail on August 23, 2012. Id . Upon his return, defendant Motsumi Moja, allegedly, did not allow plaintiff to have his blood pressure medicine despite plaintiff telling defendant Motsumi Moja that when he lays down he "begins to shake more and [his] heart bangs rapidly." Id . Plaintiff also alleges that after he was transferred to the Virginia Department of Corrections ("VDOC") in October 2012, defendant Motsumi Moja failed to transfer his medical records. Id. at 3. Plaintiff states that he is "at a higher risk of damage due to [defendant] Moja's failure to provide prescribed medicines and medical records."

Plaintiff alleges that on December 1, 2012, VDOC medical staff rushed him to the emergency room after he was "shaking" and had "irregular heartbeats combined with high blood pressure." Id . He states that VDOC and emergency room personnel looked for his medical records but were unable to find them because defendant Motsumi Moja has "hidden evidence of [his] condition." Id . As relief, plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief. Compl. at 10.

Defendants Statement of Facts

Defendant's allegations parallel plaintiff's. On October 24, 2011, defendant Alisa Williams, a psychiatrist at Richmond City Jail, evaluated plaintiff and concluded that he was suffering from a non-specific anxiety disorder. Alisa Williams Aff. ¶ 7. Defendant Alisa Williams again saw plaintiff on November 22, 2011, and plaintiff reported that the medication had helped "soothe" him but that it was no longer helping. Id. at ¶ 8. Plaintiff requested his prescription be switched to Zoloft for anxiety because "other inmates liked it, " and defendant Alisa Williams changed his prescription. Id . When defendant Alisa Williams next saw plaintiff on May 7, 2012, plaintiff complained of heart problems. Id. at ¶ 11. She concluded that the anti-anxiety medication had not helped plaintiff, and she discontinued his prescription. Id.

Defendant Motsumi Moja states that he first evaluated plaintiff on November 18, 2011, to treat an ingrown toe nail. Moja Aff. ¶ 5. Defendant Motsumi Moja prescribed Augmentin and then scheduled a follow-up appointment for November 22, 2011. Id. at ¶ 6. Plaintiff did not complain of heart-related issues on that date. Id . Nor did he complaint of cardiac problems on either November 30, 2011 or December 5, 2011, when defendant Motsumi Moja again saw plaintiff to help treat his ingrown toe nail. Id. at ¶¶ 7-8. When defendant Motsumi Moja saw plaintiff on December 5, 2011, plaintiff denied having any chest pain. Id. at ¶ 8. Though defendant Motsumi Moja again saw plaintiff on December 13th and 14th of 2011, for continued treatment on his foot, plaintiff did not report any heart-related problems on either date. Id. at 9.

Plaintiff first complained of heart palpitations on February 24, 2012, though at that time he denied having chest pain. Id. at ¶ 12. Defendant Motsumi Moja ordered an EKG that same day, which was performed on February 29, 2012. Id . The EKG results were normal. Id . Plaintiff continued to complain of heart problems on both the 1st and 8th of May 2012. Id. at ¶¶ 14-15. His vital signs were taken on both occasions and were within the normal range. Id . In an abundance of caution, defendant Motsumi Moja ordered another EKG test.

On May 8, 2012, defendant Cushionberry briefly adjusted the EKG machine during plaintiff's exam because the EKG was printing in a font that was too large and the results were printing off the page. Cushionberry ¶ 6; Williams Aff. ¶ 7. After the printing problem was fixed, defendant Williams ran plaintiffs EKG test, which produced normal results. Moja Aff. ¶ 16. When defendant Motsumi Moja advised plaintiff that his results were normal he "became belligerent, stomped out of the clinic, and stated I will F- with your license." Id . Defendant Motsumi Moja ordered labs to ...

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