393 F.Supp. 757 (D.Md. 1975), Civ. 73-494, Stokes v. Hurdle

Docket NºCiv. 73-494
Citation393 F.Supp. 757
Party NameStokes v. Hurdle
Case DateMarch 26, 1975
CourtUnited States District Courts, 4th Circuit, District of Maryland

Page 757

393 F.Supp. 757 (D.Md. 1975)

James E.X. STOKES

v.

Dr. HURDLE et al.

Civ. No. 73-494-B.

United States District Court, D. Maryland.

March 26, 1975

Page 758

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 759

James E. X. Stokes, pro se.

Francis B. Burch, Atty. Gen. of Maryland, John P. Stafford, Jr., and Emory A. Plitt, Jr., Asst. Attys. Gen., Baltimore, for defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

BLAIR, District Judge.

Plaintiff, incarcerated at the Maryland Penitentiary, has brought this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1973), alleging that he was denied dental treatment while in segregation at the penitentiary. Plaintiff claims that denying routine dental treatment only to inmates in segregation, while granting such treatment to the general prison population, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. He also claims that the denial of dental treatment constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff requests declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as compensatory and exemplary damages. Jurisdiction of this court is grounded upon 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3)(1970).

The original defendants in this case were Dr. Brown, alleged to be the dentist of the Maryland Penitentiary, and Gerald McClellan, the warden of the penitentiary. Plaintiff later moved to add Dr. Hurdle as a defendant and drop Dr. Brown, after plaintiff discovered that Dr. Hurdle was the actual dentist who he alleges denied him dental treatment. Plaintiff's motion was granted, and Dr. Hurdle was added as a party defendant. Stokes v. Brown, Civil No. 73-494-B, at 1 (D.Md., July 16, 1974) (Memorandum and Order).

On July 2, 1973, defendants moved to dismiss or, in the alternative, for a summary judgment, on the grounds that plaintiff failed to exhaust his state administrative remedies, that he failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, and for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The motion was denied. Stokes v. Brown, Civil No. 73-494-B (D.Md., July 16, 1974) (Memorandum and Order). Defendants were given leave to file additional motions or otherwise answer.

On October 7, 1974, defendants filed a supplemental motion for summary judgment, together with a sworn affidavit of Dr. Wilfred J. St. Cyr, D.D.S., a dentist employed by the Maryland Penitentiary. Attached to the affidavit are the plaintiff's prison dental records; in the affidavit Dr. Cyr states that these records were kept in the ordinary course of business under his direct supervision and control. On October 18, 1974, the plaintiff filed a sworn affidavit entitled 'Memorandum In Opposition to Supplemental Motion For Summary Judgment.' The pleadings and affidavits filed by the parties disclose the following undisputed facts:

Plaintiff was placed in segregation at the penitentiary following a disciplinary hearing on February 27, 1973. Plaintiff had been scheduled for an appointment to have some teeth filled on February 28, 1973. The policy of the prison, however, was to provide only emergency dental care to prisoners housed in segregation. Hence, on February 28, plaintiff was informed by an unnamed medical officer that his dental appointment could not be kept, pursuant to that policy. Plaintiff then made several written requests to the warden for dental care. Having received no reply or dental care by March 12, plaintiff wrote to the Governor and the Inmate Grievance Commission seeking redress. On March 16, he was still in pain and his teeth had not been filled. An unnamed dental specialist then told him that he would soon have a dental appointment and have some corrective work done on his jaws.

The plaintiff saw Dr. Hurdle on March 21, 1973; Dr. Hurdle examined the plaintiff and made an appointment

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for him to see Dr. Cappuccio, a specialist. Hurdle refused to fill plaintiff's teeth at that time, citing the prison's policy to perform only emergency work on inmates in segregation. On April 2, 1973, the plaintiff saw Dr. Cappuccio, who examined him and took four x-rays. As a result of the examination, plaintiff was diagnosed as having a malocclusion of the upper left and right second molars and subluxation of the left and right condyles. The doctor recommended that plaintiff be assigned for operative dentistry and that he be given injections of sclerosing solution into his left and right condyles. Dr. Cappuccio noted on the records that there was no emergency and that plaintiff was in no pain or discomfort. Plaintiff does not allege that the prescribed injections were not given.

Plaintiff admits that he received some dental restoration work in June or July of 1973. The records also disclose that plaintiff was...

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