United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Douglas F. Johnson, Esq. Eric P. Sando, Esq. Earp Cohn P.C.,
Counsel for Plaintiff
J. Gibbons, Esq. Office of the U.S. Attorney, Counsel for
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
through counsel, filed an Amended Complaint brought pursuant
to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal
Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). ECF No. 122.
In it, Plaintiff alleges violations of the Eighth
Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual
punishment in that Defendants were deliberately indifferent
to Plaintiff's serious medical needs.
was an inmate formerly incarcerated at the Federal
Correctional Institution at Fort Dix, in Fort Dix, New
Jersey. See ECF No. 139-1, Declaration of
Donald Jones at 1. Plaintiff suffers from a serious
pre-existing heart condition, a condition known to the staff
at FCI Fort Dix. Id. at 2. On Saturday, April 7,
2012, Plaintiff's heart condition became significantly
worse, and he requested emergency medical treatment from his
unit correctional officer. Id. He alleges that he
was denied access to treatment because no medical staff was
available at the prison that weekend and was told that the
unit officer had no ability to call medical staff on the
Monday, April 9, 2012, Plaintiff waited in a line of
approximately 90-100 inmates at health services to receive
medical treatment and submitted a sick call slip.
Id. at 2-3. There, he spoke to an unknown staff
member in the medical unit, to whom he reported his symptoms
of severe chest pain, shortness of breath, excessive
perspiration, difficulty walking, and difficulty standing.
Id. at 3. He also told that individual about his
known heart condition and that he had suffered from a heart
attack a year ago. Id. The individual inputted
Plaintiff's comments into a computer but did not examine
Plaintiff or check his vital signs. Id. at 3-4.
Plaintiff was told to return to his cell and wait for a
medical appointment. Id. at 4.
April 10, 2012, Plaintiff received a medical treatment
appointment and multiple EKGs. Id. at 4-5. When the
EKG reports were given to a doctor to interpret, the doctor
stated, “whoa, what was she thinking--she almost cost
him his life.” Id. at 5. Plaintiff was then
transferred for emergency care at the Deborah Heart and Lung
Center, where he was told that he would need surgery for an
implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Id. The
prison staff, however, delayed providing the surgery for
months and placed Plaintiff in the Special Housing Unit
(“SHU”) for the duration of his time at FCI Fort
Dix. Id. at 5, 7-8
also alleges that after the incident, various individuals
employed by the prison altered and destroyed his medical
records from April 9, 2012. Id. at 5-10. In
addition, individuals acted to prevent Plaintiff from
utilizing the prison administrate grievance system and
tampered with Plaintiff's mail and records. Id.
Despite these attempts, Plaintiff asserts that he exhausted
his administrative remedies by filing all necessary grievance
forms and tort claims notices. Id.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment should be granted when the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, admissions on file, and
affidavits show that no genuine issue exists 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). A fact is
material when it could affect the outcome of the suit under
the governing substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). An issue is genuine when
a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party based on the evidence. Id. at 249. The court
should view the facts in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party and make all reasonable inferences in that
party's favor. Hugh v. Butler County Family
YMCA, 418 F.3d 265, 267 (3d Cir. 2005).
the moving party must show the absence of a genuine issue
concerning any material fact. See Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party
has satisfied its burden, the nonmoving party, “must
present affirmative evidence in order to defeat a properly
supported motion for summary judgment.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 257. See Celotex, 477
U.S. at 323-24. Alternatively, when facts are unavailable to
the nonmovant, the nonmovant may show by affidavit or
declaration that it cannot present facts essential to justify
its opposition. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d). In such circumstances,
the Court may delay consideration of or deny the motion,
provide time for discovery, or issue any appropriate order.
court determines that the record taken as a whole could not
lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving
party, then no genuine issue for trial exists. Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
587 (1986). Rule 56 mandates the entry of summary judgment
against the party who fails to make a showing sufficient to
establish the existence of an element essential to ...