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Holder v. Maurer

May 15, 2006

ERIC HOLDER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SUSAN MAURER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Irenas, Senior District Judge

OPINION

Defendant Dr. Himansha Shah moves for summary judgment on Plaintiff Eric Holder's § 1983 claim alleging deliberate indifference to Holder's medical needs while Holder was incarcerated. Holder, who is pro se, has not submitted opposition to the motion.*fn1

The Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted. There is no evidence in the record demonstrating that Holder had a serious medical need requiring treatment or that Dr. Shah acted with deliberate indifference.

I.

The facts of this suit, brought against 28 different Defendants, have been recounted in three previous opinions by this Court. Thus, we only recount a brief background and the facts relevant to the present motion.

On January 18, 2001, Holder, an inmate at Southwoods State Prison in New Jersey ("South Woods"), was involved in a physical altercation with multiple prison officers. (Am. Compl. at ¶¶ 19-40) He asserts that the incident exacerbated pre-existing medical conditions he had, especially with regard to his vision. Holder was initially treated at Bridgeton Hospital and released into the custody of New Jersey State Prison's infirmary where he was treated and observed for approximately two weeks. During that time he voiced various physical complaints, including dizziness, reduced vision, extreme head pain around the temple and eyes, and seeing "dark spots floating." (Id. at ¶¶ 51-58) Holder alleges that he was prescribed eye drops and pain relievers. (Id. at ¶ 56)

After Holder's release from the infirmary, his medical treatment continued. Dr. Shah, an ophthalmologist,*fn2 first examined Holder on March 5, 2001. (Def's Ex. C (Certification of Dr. Shah) at ¶ 6; Am. Compl. at ¶¶ 66-68) Holder indicated that he had been diagnosed with optic neuritis in the left eye since 1993 and in the right eye since 1996. (Def's Ex. C at ¶ 6; Am. Compl. at ¶ 69) He also reported seeing floaters in his right eye for approximately three weeks along with seeing occasional flashing lights. (Def's Ex. C at ¶ 6; Am. Compl. at ¶ 70)

Dr. Shah examined Holder's pupils, lids, cornea, conjunctiva, anterior chamber, intraocular pressure, iris, and lense. (Def's Ex. C at ¶ 6) Dr. Shah also evaluated Holder's vision and conducted a dilated fundus exam. (Id.) Dr. Shaw diagnosed Holder with old / inactive optic neuritis and vitreous floaters. (Id.) No treatment is indicated for either condition. (Id.) Dr. Shah recommended a follow-up appointment in six months. (Id.)

Dr. Shah conducted the six-month follow-up examination on September 26, 2001, at which time he undertook the same examination as before. (Id. at ¶ 7). Dr. Shah's impression was that Holder's presentation had not changed therefore no intervention was warranted. (Id.)

At Dr. Shah's referral, Holder saw a neuro-ophthalmologist, Dr. Martin S. Gizzi, on October 17, 2001.*fn3 (Def's Ex. F (Report of Dr. Gizzi)) Dr. Gizzi's impressions of Plaintiff's neuroophthalmological health were consistent with Dr. Shah's: old optic neuritis and benign floaters not warranting any "concern" given that the floaters appeared to be constant rather than deteriorating. (Id.) Dr. Gizzi did not prescribe any treatment. (Id.)

Dr. Shah's last interaction with Plaintiff occurred on October 27, 2004, at which time an examination was undertaken, consistent with the prior evaluations. Dr. Shah's impression remained the same. (Def's Ex. C at ¶ 10).

II.

Summary judgment is appropriate where "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 a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

The Court must construe the facts and inferences in a light most favorable to the non-moving party. Pollock v. Am. Tel. & Tel. Long Lines, 794 F.2d 860, 864 (3d Cir. 1986). The role of the Court is not "to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter, but to determine whether there is a ...


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