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Baxter v. United States

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

September 20, 2016

JAMES O. BAXTER, II, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          JAMES C. CACHERIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. 38] filed by Defendant United States of America. For the reasons that follow, the Court will deny the Motion in its entirety.

         I. Background

         The following allegations of fact set forth in Plaintiff's Complaint are taken as true for purposes of the present Motion. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         Plaintiff James O. Baxter, II, is a former inmate of Federal Correctional Complex Petersburg (“FCC Petersburg”). See Am. Comp. [Dkt. 37] ¶ 1. His claims arise out of allegedly inadequate medical care that he received during the period of his incarceration.

         In December of 2009, Plaintiff complained to FCC Petersburg's medical staff that he was experiencing discomfort in his genitals. See id. ¶ 11. He believed his symptoms to be consistent with Peyronie's Disease - a disorder characterized by an abnormal and painful curvature of the penis. See id.; Pl.'s Exh. B [Dkt. 1-2] at 28.

         Plaintiff repeatedly requested to see an urologist over the following months. Am. Comp. [Dkt. 37] ¶ 12. On March 15, 2010, a physician's assistant determined without examining Plaintiff that Plaintiff need not see a specialist. Id. ¶ 13. Plaintiff continued to complain of discomfort, and was finally permitted to see an urologist on September 11, 2011. Id. ¶ 14. The urologist confirmed that Plaintiff was, in fact, suffering from Peyronie's Disease. Id.

         The urologist recommended that Plaintiff begin taking vitamin E and return the following month. See id. Plaintiff, however, was not permitted to schedule a follow-up examination with the urologist. Plaintiff learned eight months after his initial appointment that the urologist's contract with FCC Petersburg had been terminated. Id. ¶ 15. The prison medical staff refused to permit Plaintiff to see an outside specialist, requiring that he wait for FCC Petersburg to contract a new urologist. Id. ¶ 16.

         Eventually FCC Petersburg retained a new urologist and Plaintiff was permitted to see him. The urologist found that Plaintiff continued to suffer from Peyronie's Disease and suggested that Plaintiff contact him if Plaintiff's symptoms worsened. Am. Comp. Exh. A [Dkt. 37-1] at 3.

         Plaintiff continued to request treatment, and was permitted to see an urologist again on June of 2012. Am. Comp. [Dkt. 37] ¶¶ 17-19; Am. Comp. Exh. B [Dkt. 37-2] at 2. During this visit, the urologist requested radiological imaging of Plaintiff's genitals. Am. Comp. [Dkt. 37] ¶ 20. Due to administrative delays and an error on the part of the testing facility, the imaging was not completed until April of 2013. See id. ¶¶ 20-26.

         Around that same time, Plaintiff was informed that a new treatment for Peyronie's Disease would become available in November of 2013. Id. ¶ 26. Plaintiff submitted a request to undergo the new treatment to Dr. K. Laybourne, a member of FCC Petersburg's medical staff. See id. ¶ 27. Dr. Laybourne, however, did not submit Plaintiff's request to FCC Petersburg's administration until several months after the date by which Plaintiff had hoped to begin treatment. See id. ¶¶ 28-33. When Dr. Laybourne finally did submit the request, Plaintiff alleges that she mischaracterized the urologist's findings and as a result the request for treatment was denied. See id. ¶¶ 34-35.

         After August of 2013, Plaintiff was not permitted any further appointments with an urologist during the period of his incarceration. Id. ¶ 48. Plaintiff was, however, permitted examinations with non-specialist members of FCC Petersburg's medical staff. See id. ¶ 49. During one of these visits, Plaintiff learned that medication prescribed to him three years earlier for an unrelated condition had potentially contributed to his Peyronie's Disease. Id.

         Six months after his release from custody, Plaintiff filed suit. Plaintiff alleged medical malpractice and constitutional torts based on FCC Petersburg's failure to adequately treat his Peyronie's Disease. He named Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and United States Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch as Defendants.

         On July 6, 2016, on Defendant's motion, the Court issued a Memorandum Opinion [Dkt. 33] and Order [Dkt. 34] substituting the United States for the named defendants and dismissing Plaintiff's claims alleging constitutional torts. As to Plaintiff's medical malpractice claim, the Court found that Plaintiff had not complied with the Virginia Medical Malpractice ...


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