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Maryland ALJ Faults Arbitrary Transfer/Medical Order Violation

A Maryland Administration Law Judge (ALJ) held that the Maryland Division of Correction (MDOC) violated a Settlement Agreement and acted arbitrarily, capriciously and in violation of law by transferring a prisoner. The ALJ also found the refusal to provide ordered medical devices was arbitrary.
In 1985, MDOC prisoner Douglas Arey entered into a settlement agreement with MDOC, where by he withdrew various lawsuits in exchange for MDOCs agreement to transfer [him] to the Maryland Penitentiary and to house him in a cell that would allow him to retain possession of all of his legal documents.

In July 1993, Arey suffered a burst blood vessel which resulted in a torn retina. The doctor ordered that he be provided with an egg crate mattress and an extra pillow. MDOC complied with these orders until June 11, 2003.

Despite the 1985 Settlement Agreement, Arey was transferred to different MDOC facilities on June 11, 2003, July 24, 2003 and August 8, 2003. He was not given a reason for the transfers and he was confined in a cell that does not allow him to retain his legal papers.

On August 13, 2003, Arey grieved that transfers, claiming they were tantamount to severe harassment, prejudice, and discrimination. An ALJ held a hearing on the grievance on May 5, 2004.

On July 13, 2004, the ALJ found that while Arey did not have a constitutional right to be housed in a particular prison he has a contractual right to be housed in a manner which allows him access to his legal papers. Therefore, the ALJ found that Areys transfer was arbitrary and capricious and in violation of [his] contractual right.

The ALJ also found that the refusal to provide the ordered medical supplies is arbitrary and concluded that the egg crate mattress and extra pillow should be provided to Arey. See: Arey v. Maryland Department of Corrections, OAH No. DPSC-IGO-003V-04-22449 (ALJ 7/13/04).

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Related legal case

Arey v. Maryland Department of Corrections