United States District Court, D. New Jersey
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.
a pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against East
Jersey State Prison (“EJSP”) administrative and
medical officials. Plaintiff alleges Beverly Hastings
(“Hastings”) and Grace Amistico
(“Amistico”) acted with deliberate indifference
to his serious medical needs, in violation of his Eighth
Amendment rights. The matter comes before the Court on
Amistico's unopposed motions to seal an exhibit and for
summary judgment. Hastings does not join in the motions and
since she received service of process in 2014, no steps or
proceedings appear to have occurred as to her. There was no
oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b). For the reasons below, the
motions are GRANTED. As to Amistico,
Plaintiff's Complaint is DISMISSED WITH
following facts are drawn from Plaintiff's Complaint and
Amistico's Statement of Undisputed Material Facts
(“SMF”) and supporting exhibits. And in light of
reviewing Plaintiff's electronic medical records as to
the alleged inadequate care provided, the Court will
highlight the encounters with prison medical officials
relevant to Plaintiff's condition and need not go into
detail on each and every visit. See SMF ¶¶
4- 50, ECF No. 47-2.
prisoner incarcerated for over 30 years, Plaintiff has a
history of hepatitis C dating back to 2004 when he first
received treatment. Id. ¶ 4. After suffering
adverse side effects to his eye, the treatment was
discontinued. Id. Eight years later during a chronic
care visit, Plaintiff asked about the possibility to start a
new hepatitis C treatment regimen. Id. ¶ 5.
About a year later, after receiving approval from optometry
and mental health to restart treatment, Amistico became
involved in Plaintiff's medical care. Id. ¶
March 2013 encounter, Amistico noted in Plaintiff's chart
his current medications would contraindicate the hepatitis C
treatment regimen, so no treatment was ordered. Id.
She informed the Medical Site Director of this development.
Id. In a follow-up appointment the next day, a
doctor confirmed Amistico's observation to withhold
treatment and suggested Plaintiff discontinue certain
medications. Id. ¶ 24. Acting on the
doctor's recommendation, Amistico scheduled Plaintiff for
repeat lab work and a follow-up appointment to discuss
treatment options. Id. ¶ 25.
April 2013, Amistico discussed and Plaintiff agreed to stop
taking certain medications so Plaintiff could receive the
hepatitis C treatment. Id. ¶ 28. Amistico again
informed the Medical Site Director on Plaintiffs treatment.
Id. A week later, Amistico met with Plaintiff again
and placed him on the hepatitis C treatment waiting list.
Id. ¶ 29. Four weeks later, Plaintiff filed an
inmate grievance report over the delay in treatment because
he was told Trenton lacked funds to purchase the medications
and a doctor had already approved his treatment plan in
February 2012. See Raymond-Flood Cert. ¶ 4, Ex.
C, Inmate Remedy System Form, ECF No. 47-1. Shortly after
filing the grievance, EJSP officials denied it. Id.
September 2013, a doctor reviewed Plaintiff's chart and
suggested a reconsultation for advice on the ophthalmologic
reaction that ended a previous hepatitis C treatment. SMF
¶ 32. In the months that followed, Plaintiff had
multiple optometry exams and consultations. Some delays in
between care were attributable to Plaintiffs refusal to
attend appointments for non-medical reasons. Id.
¶¶ 33-34, 37-38. While others were to monitor
retinal holes found in his eye and to discuss previous eye
lid swelling. Id. ¶¶ 34, 36, 40-42. During
this time, Plaintiff expressed interest in retreatment.
Id. ¶ 44. In a July 2014 consult, the provider
found a retinal hole with mild fluid elevation and hepatitis
which required a follow-up visit. Id. ¶ 45.
September 2014, Plaintiff received administrative approval
for hepatitis C treatment. Id. ¶ 47. Plaintiff
completed the treatment regimen and lab results showed no
traces of hepatitis C. Id. ¶¶ 48-49.
Although cleared of hepatitis C, Plaintiff receives continued
monitoring every six to eight months. Id. ¶ 50.
filed this pro se Section 1983 Complaint, alleging
Amistico denied him adequate medical care and placed him on a
long waiting list to receive needed medical treatment. For
her alleged incompetence, Plaintiff believes he has liver
cancer. See Raymond-Flood Cert. ¶ 4, Ex. B,
Johnson Dep. 35:9-24. Amistico now moves for summary judgment
on the ground that she was not deliberately indifferent to
Plaintiffs medical needs and that Plaintiff failed to exhaust
his administrative remedies through EJSP's grievance
procedures. In support of the summary judgment motion,
Amistico submitted relevant excerpts of Plaintiff's
electronic medical record, whose contents she seeks to seal
and protect from public disclosure because the exhibit
contains Plaintiffs protected health information.
See Raymond-Flood Mot. to Seal Decl. ¶¶
5-6, Ex. A, ECF No. 45-1; Amistico's Mot. to Seal Br.
4-5, ECF No. 45-2.
judgment is appropriate if “there is no genuine dispute
as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A
genuine issue of material facts exists “if the evidence
is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In its review, the Court
considers all evidence and inferences drawn therefrom in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party. Andreoli v.
Gates, 482 F.3d 641, 647 (3d Cir. 2007). For unopposed
summary judgment motions, the Court must decide whether the
moving party's “undisputed facts warrant[ ]
judgment as a matter of law.” Miller v.
Ashcroft, 76 F. App'x 457, 462 (3d Cir. 2003)
(citations omitted); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(3).
Court will first address the motion to seal Plaintiff's
medical records and then discuss ...