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Collier v. Caraway

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

December 11, 2017

JOHN F. CARAWAY, et al., Defendants.


          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         Plaintiff Anthony Collier brought this lawsuit pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), alleging that Defendants, various medical and non-medical employees at Federal Correctional Institution Terre Haute (“FCI Terre Haute”), were deliberately indifferent to his eye conditions during his incarceration.[1] [Filing No. 90.] Defendants now move for summary judgment in their favor, arguing that the undisputed evidence entitles them to judgment as a matter of law. [Filing No. 164.] Because no reasonable factfinder could find that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to Mr. Collier's conditions, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.


         Legal Standard

         A motion for summary judgment asks the Court to find that a trial is unnecessary because there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and, instead, that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). As the current version of Rule 56 makes clear, whether a party asserts that a fact is undisputed or genuinely disputed, the party must support the asserted fact by citing to particular parts of the record, including depositions, documents, or affidavits. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(A). A party can also support a fact by showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(B). Affidavits or declarations must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant is competent to testify on matters stated. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(4). Failure to properly support a fact in opposition to a movant's factual assertion can result in the movant's fact being considered undisputed, and potentially in the grant of summary judgment. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e).

         In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court need only consider disputed facts that are material to the decision. A disputed fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Hampton v. Ford Motor Co., 561 F.3d 709, 713 (7th Cir. 2009). In other words, while there may be facts that are in dispute, summary judgment is appropriate if those facts are not outcome determinative. Harper v. Vigilant Ins. Co., 433 F.3d 521, 525 (7th Cir. 2005). Fact disputes that are irrelevant to the legal question will not suffice to defeat summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

         On summary judgment, a party must show the Court what evidence it has that would convince a trier of fact to accept its version of the events. Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., 325 F.3d 892, 901 (7th Cir. 2003). The moving party is entitled to summary judgment if no reasonable factfinder could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Nelson v. Miller, 570 F.3d 868, 875 (7th Cir. 2009). The Court views the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Darst v. Interstate Brands Corp., 512 F.3d 903, 907 (7th Cir. 2008). It cannot weigh evidence or make credibility determinations on summary judgment because those tasks are left to the fact-finder. O'Leary v. Accretive Health, Inc., 657 F.3d 625, 630 (7th Cir. 2011). The Court need only consider the cited materials, Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(3), and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has “repeatedly assured the district courts that they are not required to scour every inch of the record for evidence that is potentially relevant to the summary judgment motion before them, ” Johnson, 325 F.3d at 898. Any doubt as to the existence of a genuine issue for trial is resolved against the moving party. Ponsetti v. GE Pension Plan, 614 F.3d 684, 691 (7th Cir. 2010).



         The following factual background is set forth pursuant to the standards detailed above. The facts stated are not necessarily objectively true, but as the summary judgment standard requires, the undisputed facts and the disputed evidence are presented in the light most favorable to “the party against whom the motion under consideration is made.” Premcor USA, Inc. v. American Home Assurance Co., 400 F.3d 523, 526-27 (7th Cir. 2005).

         A. Pre-Incarceration Medical History

         Mr. Collier's history of eye troubles began long before his periods of incarceration at FCI Terre Haute, [2] which ran from August 8 to October 24, 2007, and from January 17, 2008, to December 2, 2014. [Filing No. 164-2 at 1.] Sometime in 1999, Mr. Collier suffered a retinal detachment in his right eye. [Filing No. 164-28 at 15-16.] During the procedure to reattach the retina, the surgeon removed the lens from Mr. Collier's right eye. [Filing No. 164-28 at 17.] The retinal detachment reduced Mr. Collier's vision in his right eye from 20/40 to 20/200. [Filing No. 164-28 at 17.] Mr. Collier has reported that his lost eyesight was due to boxing. [Filing No. 164-3 at 1.]

         B. Treatment During Incarceration

         During his period of incarceration, Mr. Collier saw several in-house and outside medical professionals regarding his eye problems. On October 23, 2008, Mr. Collier visited in-house PA Alex Jastillano and relayed his concerns regarding his right eye. [Filing No. 164-3 at 1.] PA Jastillano additionally diagnosed Mr. Collier with refractive error in his left eye (blurry vision) and requested an optometry appointment for Mr. Collier. [Filing No. 164-3 at 2.] On November 14, 2008, Dr. Thomas Webster approved PA Jastillano's request for an optometry appointment. [Filing No. 164-4 at 1.] On December 15, 2008, in-house optometrist Dr. Cristian Radaneata performed a refraction examination and ordered eyeglasses for Mr. Collier. [Filing No. 164-4 at 2-3.]

         On July 2, 2010, Mr. Collier saw in-house PA Amy McDonald, complaining of worsening eye and vision problems. [Filing No. 164-5 at 1.] PA McDonald noted that Mr. Collier last had an optometry exam almost two years prior, and scheduled a “vision consult” for him. [Filing No. 164-5 at 2.]

         On October 5, 2010, Mr. Collier saw Dr. Radaneata for another in-house refraction examination and was ordered glasses. [Filing No. 164-6 at 1.] Dr. Radaneata placed a request for Mr. Collier to see an outside ophthalmologist for “evaluation for aphatik [sic] rigid contact lens.”[3][Filing No. 164-6 at 1.] That request was approved on October 8, 2010. [Filing No. 164-7 at 1.]

         On December 14, 2010, Mr. Collier saw outside ophthalmologist Dr. Padma Ponugoti, requesting a contact lens fitting for rigid gas permeable lenses. [Filing No. 164-8.] Dr. Ponugoti assessed Mr. Collier with 20/400 in the right eye and 20/80 in the left eye. [Filing No. 164-8 at 3.] Dr. Ponugoti noted the history of trauma to and surgery on Mr. Collier's right eye. [Filing No. 164-8 at 3.] Dr. Ponugoti observed arcus (grey ring of cholesterol) in each eye and “moderate cortical changes” in the left eye. [Filing No. 164-8 at 3.] Dr. Ponugoti opined that Mr. Collier's left eye was “within normal limits” and that his right eye had “limited visual potential.” [Filing No. 164-8 at 3.] Dr. Ponugoti recommended that Mr. Collier follow up with an optometrist for a rigid gas permeable contact lens fitting and an eye exam. [Filing No. 164-8 at 3.]

         On April 6, 2011, Dr. Radaneata performed a funduscopic exam and noted that Mr. Collier would need follow-up appointments for a refraction test and contact lens fitting. [Filing No. 164-9 at 3.] On May 3, 2011, Dr. Radaneata saw Mr. Collier for a refraction exam. [Filing No. 164-9 at 1.] Dr. Radaneata ordered glasses for Mr. Collier and noted that Mr. Collier would follow up the next month for “RGP” (rigid gas permeable) lens fitting. [Filing No. 164-9 at 1.] On June 23, 2011, Dr. Radaneata fitted Mr. Collier for rigid gas permeable contact lenses. [Filing No. 164-10 at 1.]

         On April 24, 2012, Mr. Collier sent a form request to “A. Rupska, RN/AHSA, ” complaining that

[a] few weeks ago while cleaning my contact lens it fractured. I've spoken to medical staff . . . . I have not heard whether the contact was ordered or not. I'm blind in my right eye and my vision is very weak in my left eye. Without the contact lens I can-not [sic] read or see anything on the computer.

[Filing No. 164-11 at 1.] On May 1, 2012, RN Rupska responded: “Your contact lens are [sic] on order but you should be able to wear your glasses in the meantime.” [Filing No. 164-11 at 1.] The in-house eye doctor was unable to order a replacement gas permeable contact lens for Mr. Collier's right eye, so, on August 8, 2012, the BOP Health Services placed a request for an ophthalmology appointment and new contact lens order. [Filing No. 164-12 at 1.] On August 15, 2012, the BOP approved the request to refer Mr. Collier to an ophthalmologist. [Filing No. 164-13 at 1.]

         On February 22, 2013, Mr. Collier saw in-house optometrist Dr. Donald Auxier and complained of vision problems and a broken contact lens. [Filing No. 164-14 at 1.] Dr. Auxier assessed Mr. Collier with blindness in one eye, directed monthly follow-ups for two months, and directed Mr. Collier to “see DR. Raednata [sic] for contact consult.” [Filing No. 14 at 1.] On March 5, 2013, Dr. Radaneata saw Mr. Collier and made a note to “order contact lens.” [Filing No. 164-15 at 1.]

         On March 28, 2013, FNP Christopher Blila performed a consultation encounter and noted as follows: “Schedule for outside optometry visit (Vision Mart) to fit for contact lens per Opthalmology [sic] request. Optometry office has been calling and asking for an appointment to be scheduled.” [Filing No. 164-16 at 1.]

         On June 19, 2013, Mr. Collier was seen by an outside eye doctor at Vision Mart. [Filing No. 164-17 at 1.] As noted by EMT Douglas Hanna after the appointment, Mr. Collier “return[ed] with prescription for contact lens solution and contact lens case for care and maintainence [sic] of contact lens. [Mr. Collier] stated that he is supposed to go back to be fitted for new contact lens. No orders sent confirming this.” [Filing No. 164-17 at 1.] On June 20, 2013, the day following Mr. Collier's outside consultation, FNP Blila made the following note:

Apparently [Mr. Collier] is to return at some point to be fitted for contact lens. However, we currently do not have any paperwork . . . and do not know what kind of contact lens will be ordered. Have discussed this with pharmacy. Once we receive this information about what contact lens [Mr. Collier] will be receiving we will place the appropriate NFR [non-formulary request] for the solution that goes with the contact lens.

[Filing No. 164-18 at 1.]

         On January 3, 2014, Mr. Collier saw RN Karl Norris, complaining of left eye pain at a level 5 intensity out of 10. [Filing No. 164-19 at 1.] RN Norris observed that Mr. Collier's left eye was “extremely red.” [Filing No. 164-19 at 1.] A doctor was notified of RN Norris's findings and advised that Mr. Collier should be sent to the emergency department. [Filing No. 164-19.] Mr. Collier was treated at the Union Hospital emergency department by optometrist Dr. Matthew Keeler, who diagnosed Mr. Collier with a corneal abrasion (“scratch on the eye”). [Filing No. 164-20 at 1-2.] Mr. Collier was discharged with an antibiotic ointment to guard against infection. [Filing No. 164-20 at 2-4.] Upon returning to FCI Terre Haute, Mr. Collier told the officers who transported him that he was “still in pain, ” but that he had to give his medication “time to work.” [Filing No. 164-28 at 41-42.] RN Norris made a notation indicating that he had a consultation with Mr. Collier (which Mr. Collier denies occurred) and indicated that Mr. Collier was “good now.” [Filing No. 164-21 at 1.]

         Sometime in February or March 2014, Mr. Collier saw BOP physician Dr. Thomas Bailey for a chronic care follow-up unrelated to his eye difficulties. [Filing No. 164-28 at 29-30.] Among other complaints, Mr. Collier complained of some irritation in his left eye from the corneal abrasion and of pain and floaters in his right eye. [Filing No. 164-28 at 30.] Mr. Collier told Dr. Bailey that he was supposed to be seen by the optometrist for his right eye pain. [Filing No. 164-28 at 30.] Dr. Bailey did not examine Mr. Collier's eyes during Mr. Collier's visit, [Filing No. 164-28 at 71], but prescribed ophthalmic ointment for Mr. Collier's left eye, [Filing No. 164-28 at 30]. Dr. Bailey is neither an optometrist nor an ophthalmologist. [Filing No. 164-28 at 71.] Dr. Bailey informed Mr. Collier that he would be scheduled to see an eye specialist. [Filing No. 164-28 at 72-73.] According to Mr. Collier, shortly after the appointment he was scheduled to be seen by the in-house optometrist, but that appointment was later cancelled. [Filing No. 164-28 at 71-72.] Mr. Collier does not recall seeing Dr. Bailey at any other time. [Filing No. 264-28 at 36-37.]

         On March 3, 2014, Mr. Collier saw RN Matthew Worthington in BOP Health Services for a follow up on a left eye ulcer diagnosed in January. [Filing No. 164-22 at 1.] Mr. Collier stated that he had a contact lens stuck on his eye which formed an ulcer. [Filing No. 164-22 at 1.] Mr. Collier complained of “[n]agging pain.” [Filing No. 164-22 at 1.] RN Worthington scheduled a follow-up sick call appointment and stated that Mr. Collier would be “[p]laced on [c]allout.” [Filing No. 164-22 at 1.]

         On April 1, 2014, Mr. Collier saw in-house PA Genevieve Daugherty for a follow up from his January 2014 emergency room visit. [Filing No. 164-23 at 1.] Mr. Collier complained of vision problems, explaining that he was blind in his right eye and that his left eye was weak. [Filing No. 164-23 at 1.] Mr. Collier said that he was told that the only way to improve his left eye was to have his special contact lens properly fitted. [Filing No. 164-23 at 1.] Mr. Collier reported that one of his contacts tore and that he did not wear the other one because it slips around his eye. [Filing No. 164-23 at 1.] Mr. Collier reported that he was to follow up with ophthalmology for a fitting, but that the fitting never happened. [Filing No. 164-23 at 1.] PA Daugherty took the ill-fitting lenses from Mr. Collier and instructed him to instead wear glasses until he could be seen by the ophthalmologist. [Filing No. 164-28 at 80-81; Filing No. 164-23 at 2.] PA Daugherty requested an ophthalmology appointment for Mr. Collier. [Filing No. 164-23 at 2.] PA Daugherty's request for an outside ophthalmologist appointment was approved on April 2, 2014. [Filing No. 164-24 at 1.]

         Mr. Collier was scheduled to see outside ophthalmologist Dr. Chirag Patel on June 23, 2014, but Dr. Patel was unavailable. [Filing No. 164-1 at 6; Filing No. 164-25 at 1.] Mr. Collier's appointment was rescheduled for July 2, 2014, but for some unknown reason he was marked “no show” on that date, and the appointment was again rescheduled. [Filing No. 164-1 at 6; Filing No. 164-25 at 1.] Finally, Mr. Collier saw Dr. Patel on August 29, 2014. [Filing No. 164-26 at 2-4.] Mr. Collier reported his vision difficulties and sought contact lenses, which he said corrected his left eye vision to 20/40. [Filing No. 164-26 at 2.] Dr. Patel diagnosed Mr. Collier with keratoconus (bulging cornea causing blurred vision), worse in the right eye than the left. [Filing No. 164-26 at 4.] Dr. Patel noted no pain in the right eye, but, “given slight [light perception in right eye] would recommend trying to get the [intraocular pressure] down.” [Filing No. 164-26 at 4.] Dr. Patel did not prescribe any medication or particular treatment for the intraocular pressure. [See Filing No. 164-26 at 4.] Dr. Patel concluded that Mr. Collier needed an evaluation with a cornea specialist to address his keratoconus and that he would likely need rigid gas permeable lenses. [Filing No. 164-26 at 4.] Dr. Patel instructed Mr. Collier to “use glasses for protection” until he could get fitted for lenses. [Filing No. 164-26 at 4.]

         As a follow up to Dr. Patel's report, Dr. William Wilson placed a request for another outside evaluation on September 3, 2014, stating, “[A]waiting consult note from ophthmologist [sic][.]” [Filing No. 174-4 at 1.] Records show that the “date received” for the consultation request was November 3, 2014, and the appointment was scheduled for December 3, 2014. [Filing No. 174-5 at 1.] Mr. Collier was not again seen by an eye specialist prior to his release from FCI Terre Haute on December 2, 2014. [Filing No. 164-2 at 1.]

         C. Treatment ...

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