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Brondas v. Corizon Health, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

June 3, 2015

BETH E. BRONDAS, Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON HEALTH, INC., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

NORMAN K. MOON, District Judge.

Plaintiff is an offender in the custody of the Virginia Department of Corrections ("VDOC"). She is currently incarcerated at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women ("FCCW"). Defendant, Corizon Health, Inc., is a corporation that previously contracted with the VDOC to provide medical care in VDOC facilities. Beginning on May 1, 2013, Defendant was the entity contracted to provide health care services to inmates at VDOC facilities, including FCCW, but as of October 1, 2014, Corizon is no longer the contract medical provider for any VDOC facilities.[1]

Plaintiff is represented by counsel. Her original complaint alleged constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state negligence claims, seeking damages and injunctive and declaratory relief against Defendant to address the alleged deprivation of adequate medical treatment she had received at FCCW since January 2013. Defendant moved to dismiss and, after a hearing on the motion, I granted the motion to dismiss without prejudice and permitted Plaintiff leave to amend her complaint. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint that is substantially similar to her original complaint (again alleging constitutional violations and negligence), except that she adds nine dates upon which she alleges that she did not receive her medications as prescribed.

Defendant has filed two motions to dismiss - one for failure to state a claim, and the other for Plaintiff's failure to provide expert certification for her state law medical malpractice claim as required by § 8.01-20.1 of the Code of Virginia. The matter has been fully briefed and arguments were heard. Both motions are meritorious, and I will dismiss the complaint.

I.

The amended complaint states that Plaintiff is a 61-year-old female incarcerated at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women ("FCCW"), and that she is scheduled to be released in 2016. She states that she

is afflicted with a broad array of serious health problems and physical ailments including, but not necessarily limited to, extreme back and neck pain, a pinched nerve in her back, incontinence, migraine headaches, a spine fracture, anxiety, psychosis, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant was deliberately indifferent to her serious medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and that Defendant has been negligent. Plaintiff seeks "declaratory and injunctive relief against Defendant Corizon Health, Inc." and punitive and compensatory "damages in the sum of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS ($500, 000.00)...."

The amended complaint includes a section stating the following "FACTS" (paragraph numbering omitted):

At all relevant times hereto, Plaintiff had been prescribed the medication "Prilosec" for heartburn and acid reflux.
At all relevant times hereto, Plaintiff had been prescribed the medication "Celexa" for a variety of mental conditions.
At all relevant times hereto, Plaintiff had been prescribed the medication "Naproxen" as an anti-inflammatory for muscle, joint and other bodily pain.
The nursing staff at FCCW, who at all relevant times hereto were employees of Defendant, had the responsibility for distributing prescription medication to Plaintiff and other prisoners through the "Pill Line" process in which Plaintiff was supposed to be provided with medication needed to treat her various ailments. With disturbing regularity, however, Plaintiff did not receive the correct prescription.
On October 24, 2012, Plaintiff did not receive her Prilosec medication.
On September 18, 2013, Plaintiff did not receive her Celexa medication.
On September 23, 2013, Plaintiff ran out of her Naproxen medication because Nurse Harlowe, an employee of Defendant, only provided her with half of her prescription on September 9, 2013. This failure made it difficult and painful for Plaintiff to walk.
As a result of Plaintiff not getting her medication, it made it impossible or very painful for her to eat or drink.
As a result of Plaintiff not getting her medication, her heartburn was excruciating and she found it impossible to eat.
On November 14, 2013, Plaintiff did not get her Celexa medication. Plaintiff also did not get her Celexa medication on November 23, 24, 25 or 26 of 2013.
As a result of Plaintiff not getting her medication, she was caused great stress, mental anguish and anxiety.
FCCW Medical Staff, who at all relevant times hereto were employees of Defendant, as a matter of routine, intentionally withheld from Plaintiff her pain medication.
On March 16, 2014, Plaintiff complained of severe pain to her neck and lower back. She was given a low dose of medication but ...

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