MONIR A. GEORGE, Plaintiff Below-Appellant,
CONNECTIONS COMMUNITY SUPPORT PROGRAMS, INC. and DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION,  Defendants Below-Appellees.
Submitted: May 3, 2017
Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware C.A. No.
STRINE, Chief Justice; VALIHURA and VAUGHN, Justices.
L. VALIHURA, JUSTICE
12th day of July 2017, upon consideration of the
appellant's opening brief, the motions to affirm, and the
record on appeal, it appears to the Court that:
plaintiff-appellant, Monir A. George, filed this appeal from
the Superior Court's dismissal of his complaint seeking a
writ of mandamus and compensatory and punitive damages.
Connections Community Support Programs, Inc.
("CCSP") and the State of Delaware Department of
Correction ("DOC"), have filed motions to affirm
the judgment below on the ground that it is manifest on the
face of George's opening brief that his appeal is without
merit. We agree and affirm.
George was convicted in 2009 of multiple felonies, including
first degree murder, and was sentenced to life imprisonment
plus an additional term of years. He currently is in DOC
custody at the Vaughn Correctional Center. CCSP is a
non-profit organization contracted by the DOC to provide
medical and mental health care to inmates. In November 2015,
George filed a complaint in the Superior Court, alleging that
CCSP and the DOC have been deliberately indifferent to his
serious medical needs. The complaint alleged that George
suffers from high blood pressure, gout, chronic low back
pain, arthritis, a deformed wrist and chronic wrist pain due
to an improperly treated fracture, diverticulosis, and
internal hemorrhoids and that the defendants' medical
treatment of his ailments has been inadequate. The complaint
further alleged that nearly all of George's medical
grievances complaining about his inadequate medical care have
George's complaint sought a writ of mandamus compelling
the defendants: (i) to offer him specific medical care; (ii)
to change the membership of the DOC's Quality Assurance
Committee; and (iii) to comply with an agreement that George
alleges the State of Delaware reached with the United States
Department of Justice in 2006 regarding prison healthcare.
George's complaint also sought an award of $250, 000 in
compensatory damages for pain and suffering caused by the
negligent medical treatment George received for his fractured
wrist and an award of $500, 000 in punitive damages.
Superior Court granted both CCSP's and the DOC's
motions to dismiss, holding, among other reasons,
that a writ of mandamus would not issue because, as to the
DOC, George could not establish a clear legal right to the
performance of a non-discretionary duty and, as to CCSP, a
writ of mandamus would not issue to a private entity. To the
extent George sought damages for alleged medical malpractice,
the Superior Court dismissed his complaint because he failed
to file an affidavit of merit from an expert. The Superior
Court also denied George's motion to amend his complaint
to add individuals employed by the State or CCSP. George
After considering the parties' respective positions on
appeal, we conclude that the judgment below dismissing
George's complaint seeking a writ of mandamus and damages
for medical malpractice should be affirmed on the basis of
and for the reasons assigned by the Superior Court in its
well-reasoned Order dated February 17, 2017. Although the
government has an obligation to provide medical care to
inmates,  the mere disagreement over the proper
course of treatment, or even allegations of medical
malpractice are not, alone, sufficient to state a
constitutional violation. George's complaint did not assert
that the defendants were denying him medical treatment.
George's complaint asserted that the defendants were
denying him the medical treatment that he wanted. George
filed grievances challenging these medical decisions. Most,
but not all, of those decisions were upheld.
this Court has recently noted, "prison authorities have
'wide discretion' in the medical treatment afforded
to prisoners." Mandamus will not issue to compel the
performance of a discretionary act. Moreover, the Superior Court
may only issue a writ of mandamus to compel the performance
of a duty by an administrative agency or public
official. A writ cannot issue to a non-governmental
agency such as CCSP. Under the circumstances, we find no error
or abuse in the Superior Court's dismissal of
George's request for mandamus relief. Moreover, to the
extent George's complaint requested compensatory and
punitive damages for medical malpractice, we find no error in
the Superior Court's dismissal of his complaint for
failure to attach an affidavit of merit as required by 18
Del. C. § 6853(a).
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that the judgment of the Superior
Court is AFFIRMED.