United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
STEVEN R. DELK, Plaintiff,
BRIAN MORAN, et al., Defendants.
K. MOON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
R. Delk, also known as Ja-Quitha “Earth”
Camellia, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed
this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
alleging various violations of his constitutional rights
while housed at Red Onion State Prison
(“ROSP”). This memorandum opinion will address Dr.
McDuffie's motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 133. For
the reasons that follow, I will grant the motion.
times relevant to this case, Delk was an inmate at ROSP. Dr.
McDuffie is a private psychiatrist contracted by ROSP through
his employer to provide psychiatric services to inmates. He
has extensive experience as a psychiatrist, including
treatment of patients demonstrating gender identity dysphoria
(“GID”). As a contracted psychiatrist, Dr.
McDuffie only sees inmates who have been referred to him by
Qualified Mental Health Professionals (“QMHPs”)
at ROSP. Generally, a QMHP refers an inmate to Dr. McDuffie
when the inmate has observable mental health symptoms or
distress that may be treated with medication. Dr. McDuffie is
part of a multidisciplinary team at ROSP and receives input
from various individuals involved with Delk's medical
and 2015, a QMHP visited Delk at least once every ninety days
to discuss and assess his mental health. Before May 15, 2015,
the QMHPs did not note any issues with Delk's mental
health. On May 15, 2015, Delk told a QMHP that he needed to
see a psychiatrist, but he denied having any mental
illness symptoms. The QMHP reported Delk's request but
noted that Delk did not display any signs or symptoms of
mental illness or abnormal thought content. In June 2015,
QMHP Trent performed a routine mental health exam and Delk
again showed no signs of a serious disorder. QMHP Trent rated
Delk's mental health classification as “0, ”
meaning no impairment noted, and specifically found that
Delk: (1) had not been prescribed any psychotropic medication
for mental disorders; (2) had not been diagnosed with any
DSM-5 disorder that would lead to
deteriorations, self-harm, and/or being a danger to others;
(3) had not received any inpatient mental health treatment
within the past two years; and (4) had no suicide attempts or
incidents of self-injurious behavior within the past two
years. Ex. A. at 25, dkt. 134-1.
August 9, 2015, Delk filed an informal complaint stating:
I have continued to request to see the psychologist
or psychiatrist because of the intense environment I am in
security level (5) and recent events that have had and are
having severe emotional effects on me. I spoke to QMHP Trent
but he said he would E-mail the doctor. But I have yet to
speak to him. Please explain.
Id. at 26. QMHP Trent responded on August 13:
“Mr. Delk, I did speak to the Dr. and he determined
that at this time a psychiatric appointment is not needed.
Please let me know of any new symptoms. Thanks.”
Id. In August 2015, Delk did not have any observable
mental health symptoms or distress, and he did not inform the
QMHPs of any serious psychiatric issues.
year later, on November 2, 2016, Delk submitted a grievance
to the Mental Health Chief, stating that he was “a
woman in a man's body.” Ex. A at 2. The grievance
was the first record of Delk expressing his desire to be
treated as a woman, and he was referred shortly after to Dr.
McDuffie for an assessment on Gender Identity Dysphoria
(“GID”). On December 30, 2016, Dr. McDuffie
evaluated Delk. Delk told Dr. McDuffie a personal history of
longstanding GID issues, and Dr. McDuffie found that Delk met
the criteria for GID and may also have a personality
disorder. Dr. McDuffie suggested a GID assessment and noted
that, “in general [Delk] is a typical example of an
over 40 male to female transsexual ‘coming out' and
starting.” Id. at 4. QMHP Trent, QMHP Huff,
and Dr. Lee, the Mental Health Clinical Supervisor, later
assessed Delk and determined that he satisfied six of the GID
1 A marked incongruence between one's
experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex
cha.racteristics. Offender Delk reported that at age 7 he
initially realized he was not like other boys and wanted to
be a girl. He reports that this has been a pervasive belief
throughout his lifetime.
2. A strong desire to be rid of one's primary and/or
secondary sex characteristics because of a marked
incongruence with one's experienced/expressed gender.
Offender Delk refers to his penis as “my
clitoris” and his testicles as “my
ovaries.” When asked about his goals for treatment,
Offender Delk stated that he wanted a transformation, via
surgery and hormone therapy, to the female gender. According
to Dr. McDuffie's notes, Offender Delk stated he had once
tried to tie a string to his penis so that it would fall off.
3. A strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex
characteristics of the other gender. Offender Delk repeatedly
stated throughout the interview that he believes he is a
female and wants to have a vagina and breasts.
4. A strong desire to be of the other gender. Offender Delk
reported that he has identified as being a woman and has
identified as such all of his adult life. There is not
evidence or documentation in his previous VADOC records to
confirm or corroborate his assertions. He refuses to sign a
Confidential Release of Information for anyone having
knowledge of his assertions, including his family members.
5. A strong desire to be treated as the other gender.
Offender Delk has not requested to be addressed in the
feminine vernacular versus the masculine vernacular. There
are no records or other corroboration of a strong desire to
be treated ...