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Parkell v. Morgan

United States District Court, D. Delaware

June 6, 2014

DONALD D. PARKELL, Plaintiff,
v.
PHILLIP MORGAN, et al., Defendants

Page 218

Donald D. Parkell, Pro se, Wilmington, Delaware.

Devera B. Scott, Deputy Attorney General, State of Delaware Department of Justice, Dover, Delaware, Counsel for Defendant Morgan.

Scott G. Wilcox, Esquire and Daniel A. Griffith, Esquire of Whiteford Taylor Preston, LLC, Wilmington, Delaware, Counsel for Defendant Correct Care Solutions, LLC.

Page 219

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Sue L. Robinson, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Donald D. Parkell (" plaintiff" ) is a sentenced inmate at the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution (" HRYCI" ) in Wilmington, Delaware. On October 9, 2012, plaintiff filed a complaint and motion to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Phillip Morgan (" Morgan" ), Mental Health Management (" MHM" ), Correct Care Solutions (" CCS" ), and Maintenance Officer Humphries (" Humphries" ), alleging various constitutional violations. (D.I. 1; D.I. 3) On January 9, 2013, plaintiff amended his complaint [1] and filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to obtain dental treatment. (D.I. 8; D.I. 10) On January 22, 2013, the court permitted plaintiff to proceed with his medical and dental claims against Morgan, CCS, and MHM and his First Amendment claim against Morgan.[2] (D.I. 11; D.I. 12) On April 18, 2013, the court denied plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction. (D.I. 24) On June 28, 2013, plaintiff filed a motion to amend his complaint, which on July 25, 2013 was denied by the court without prejudice. (D.I. 35; D.I. 38) On August 12, 2013, plaintiff again filed a motion to amend his complaint, adding allegations that: (1) Morgan violated his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by depriving him of a kosher diet in accordance with his Wiccan faith; (2) Morgan violated his Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights by enacting policies that prevented detainees from receiving dental treatment during the first six months of incarceration; and (3) CCS violated his Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights by depriving him of dental care during his first six months of incarceration and instructing him to purchase medically necessary items from the commissary. (D.I. 45 at ¶ ¶ 51, 55-6, 59-61) On November 21, 2013, the court granted the motion to amend. (D.I. 62) Presently before the court are motions for summary judgment filed by Morgan and CCS (collectively, " defendants" ). (D.I. 66; D.I. 67) The court has jurisdiction

Page 220

over the claims asserted pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

II. BACKGROUND

On March 29, 2012, plaintiff was admitted to HRYCI as a pretrial detainee. (D.I. 45 at ¶ 14) On March 8, 2013, plaintiff became a sentenced inmate. (D.I. 70, ex. B) At all relevant times, Morgan was the warden at HRYCI and CCS served as the medical contractor servicing the medical needs of all inmates at HRYCI. (D.I. 45 at ¶ ¶ 5, 7)

Upon admission to HRYCI, plaintiff was examined by a psychologist and initially refused the treatment of a psychiatrist. ( Id. at 59) He filed a grievance requesting mental health treatment on April 8, 2012, which was upheld and the medical provider ultimately prescribed plaintiff medication for his mental health condition. ( Id. )

On June 1, 2012, plaintiff filed a grievance requesting a dental filling. (D.I. 72, ex. A) This grievance was initially denied due to a Department of Correction (" DOC" ) policy requiring an inmate to be incarcerated in the facility for at least six months to receive a filling. ( Id. ) However, the grievance was ultimately upheld on August 15, 2012 because the articulated policy was found to be incorrect, and it was determined that plaintiff should have been seen by a dentist within three months of his complaint. ( Id. ; D.I. 69, ex. A) Plaintiff subsequently received regular dental treatment between August 2012 and January 2013. (D.I. 69, ex. A)

On July 30, 2012, plaintiff filed an additional grievance requesting a kosher diet as a Jewish Kabbalist. (D.I. 70, ex. A at 1) Since plaintiff was registered as a Catholic, and not a practicing Jew, HRYCI Food Services instructed him to meet with the rabbi to get a " Jewish pass." ( Id. ) Plaintiff alleges that this pass was denied. (D.I. 71 at 4) On February 28, 2013, plaintiff filed a second grievance requesting a kosher diet, based not on his practice of Jewish Kabbalism, but on his Wiccan faith. ( Id., ex. D) This grievance was denied because plaintiff is not a practicing Jew, an HRYCI requirement for receiving a kosher diet. ( Id. )

On August 12, 2012, plaintiff filed a grievance alleging that he suffered pain because he was unable to follow CCS's instructions to purchase pain medication and other over-the-counter medical products from the commissary to alleviate pain for his medical conditions. (D.I. 45 at 80) On September 11, 2012, HRYCI resolved this grievance by placing plaintiff on the indigent list. ( Id. ) As such, plaintiff is no longer required to pay for these medically necessary items from the commissary. (D.I. 69, ex. C)

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A court shall grant summary judgment only if " the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party bears the burden of proving that no genuine issue of material fact exists. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 n.10, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). " Facts that could alter the outcome are 'material,' and disputes are 'genuine' if evidence exists from which a rational person could conclude that the position of the person with the burden of proof on the disputed issue is correct." Horowitz v. Fed. Kemper Life Assurance Co., 57 F.3d 300, ...


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