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Iseley v. Beard

March 30, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Judge Kane


Charles Iseley ("Iseley") is formerly a Pennsylvania Department of Corrections ("DOC") inmate who filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on November 5, 2002.*fn1

Named as defendants are various DOC officials, employees at the State Correctional Institution in Coal Township ("SCI-Coal"), Pennsylvania and the State Correctional Institution in Huntingdon ("SCI-Huntingdon"), Pennsylvania, and prison medical providers. He asserts claims of denial of medical treatment in violation of the Eighth Amendment for the following illnesses: Hepatitis-C ("HCV"); fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome ("CFS") and rheumatoid arthritis. He further asserts violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), the Equal Protection clause, and state laws with regard to his medical care. Motions for summary judgment filed by three groups of Defendants have all been granted, and the case is closed. Presently before the Court is Iseley's motion for reconsideration of the Court's Memorandum and Order dated June 15, 2009, granting the motion for summary judgment filed by the group of Defendants consisting of Dr. Kort, Prison Health Services, Inc. ("PHS, Inc.") and American Service Group Inc. ("ASG Inc."). (Doc. No. 352.) Also pending is Iseley's motion to hold this case in suspense (Doc. No. 362) and Defendants' motion for leave to file a sur-reply brief with respect to Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration. After careful consideration and for the reasons that follow, the motion to hold the case in suspense will be denied, Defendants' motion to file a sur-reply brief will be granted and Iseley's motion for reconsideration will be denied.*fn2

I. Background

The incidents in the amended complaint occurred during Plaintiff's confinement at SCI- Coal Township and SCI-Huntingdon, and concern his care and treatment for the illnesses referenced above. The Court will assume familiarity by parties with the lengthy procedural and factual history of this case. As such, only those facts pertaining to the instant motion will be discussed herein.

At all relevant times, Defendant Kort was a doctor at SCI-Coal Township; Defendant PHS, Inc., the medical service provider to SCI-Coal Township; and Defendant ASG, Inc., the parent corporation of PHS. Plaintiff states that in 1998 he tested positive for HCV, a serious medical condition. (Doc. No. 76, Am. Compl. ¶ 26.) He unsuccessfully sought treatment for the condition in early 1999 and thereafter. He maintains that he was later diagnosed by a doctor as suffering from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and degenerative disc disease. He claims to suffer from symptoms including nausea, vomiting, debilitating chronic fatigue, severe muscle and joint pain, weight loss, weakness, dizziness, abdominal pain, migraine headaches, liver damage, difficulty with urination, memory loss, insomnia and difficult doing normal everyday activities. (Id. ¶ 35.)

Plaintiff states that while incarcerated at SCI-Coal Township from 2000-2001, he was denied treatment for HCV. He claims that Defendant Kort was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs by intentionally failing to use valid professional medical judgment, and "mechanically following the DOC HCV treatment protocol which is inadequate . . . and designed to hinder and frustrate the acquisition of adequate medical care for HCV." (Id. ¶¶ 37, 38.)

Plaintiff further contends that he was denied HCV treatment due to the policies and practices of PHS and ASG. In following these policies, Kort failed to notify him of his disability, refer him to a liver specialist, order a Hepatitis B vaccination, perform physical/mental examinations or consider treatments other than that specifically allowed by the DOC. (Id. ¶ 49.)

According to Plaintiff, Defendants refused to provide him with HCV treatment because his mental illness caused him to fall under the exclusionary criteria of the DOC HCV protocol. As such, DOC policy barred him from receiving treatment unless he signed an agreement form consenting to become a mental health patient, and waiving his privacy rights. (Id. ¶ 40.) Plaintiff refused to do so because he argues that he does not suffer from mental illness and, as such, does not fall within the exclusionary criteria of the protocol. (Id. ¶¶ 44, 45.) He claims that each day he does not receive HCV treatment, he suffers increasing damage to his liver, greater pain and future adverse health consequences. (Id. ¶ 86.) He further alleges that his condition qualifies as a disability, and that he exhausted available administrative remedies even though they were "utterly useless." (Id. ¶¶ 89, 94.)

Plaintiff also maintains that Defendants allowed his confidential medical information to be shared with others by informing various prison personnel of his medical condition and data without his permission in retaliation for his seeking treatment for the HCV. (Id. ¶ 46.)He seeks compensatory, punitive, declaratory and injunctive relief.

On June 15, 2009, the Court issued a Memorandum and Order granting Defendants' motion for summary judgment in this matter. (Doc. No. 348.) Plaintiff seeks reconsideration of this Order.

II. Discussion

A. Motion to Hold Case in Suspense

On October 13, 2009, Plaintiff filed a motion requesting that the Court "hold this case in suspense." (Doc. No. 362.) The basis for the request was Iseley's claim that he was in the process of sending all of his property out of the prison because he is to be released soon. He states that he will have no access to the legal materials needed for litigating this action once he does so. (Doc. No. 363.) Plaintiff's motion will be denied for the following reasons. First, there are no further documents he is required to file in this matter. Summary judgment has been entered against him, and the case is closed. While Plaintiff has filed motions seeking reconsideration of the Court's decisions to grant Defendants' summary judgment motions, he has submitted his supporting and reply briefs, and the motion is presently before the Court for consideration at this ...

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