United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER 
POLSTER CHAPPELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court upon the following:
The motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants Jacques
Lamour, Geo Group, Inc., and Geo Care LLC (Doc. 160,
filed November 30, 2016);
Plaintiffs response in opposition to the defendants'
motion for summary judgment (Doc. 165, filed
February 21, 2017); and
Plaintiffs report on unanswered discovery requests and
request to file a motion to compel (Doc. 167, filed
March 13, 2017).
reasons given in this Order, the motion for summary judgment
filed by the defendants (Doc. 160) is granted, and
this case is dismissed with prejudice. Plaintiffs request for
leave to seek additional discovery (Doc. 167) is
Background and Procedural History
an involuntary civilly committed resident of the Florida
Civil Commitment Center (“FCCC”) in Arcadia,
Florida,  initiated this action on October 27, 2014
by filing a pro se complaint against Defendants Ms. Baker,
Timothy Budz, Carolyn Dudley, Flavia Epps, George Zoley, GEO
Inc., GEO Care, LLC, Rick Hebert, Rebecca Jackson, Kristen
Kanner, Jacques Lamour, Melissa Masters, Richard Miraglia,
Cindy Neads-Noriega, Sharon Pimley-Fong, Bill Price, Paul
Pye, Dottie Riddle, Kimberly Roberts, Donald Sawyer, Darella
Sharpe, and David Wilkins (Doc. 1). Plaintiffs amended
complaint (Doc. 126) is the operative complaint before the
Court. On April 27, 2016, all defendants were dismissed from
this action with the exception of Defendants Jacque Lamour,
GEO Care, LLC and GEO, Inc., collectively the GEO defendants
(Doc. 142). In the dismissal order, the Court noted:
Plaintiff asserts that the GEO defendants have a policy or
custom of basing medical decisions on cost, rather than
medical necessity (Doc. 126 at 21). Plaintiff claims that
Defendant Lamour “made decisions on Plaintiffs care
based on the guidelines set forth by the corporation
employing him, and not on sound medical judgment.”
Id. at 21. A review of Plaintiffs allegations
indicates that he communicated with, or was examined by, a
medical professional for his Fuch's Dystrophy at least
thirty-five times in the two and a half years he was at the
FCCC before he filed this complaint. This included numerous
outside consultations and six surgeries. Likewise, seven
years passed from the diagnosis of Plaintiffs condition until
his residency at the FCCC whereas Plaintiffs first eye
surgery occurred less than ten months after his commitment.
Defendants urge that the volume and speed of care provided to
Plaintiff appears to belie his allegations of deliberate
indifference against these defendants (Doc. 133 at 18-19).
This point is well taken. However, a doctor's choice of
the “easier and less efficacious treatment” for
an objectively serious medical condition can still amount to
deliberate indifference for purposes of the Eighth Amendment.
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104 & n. 10. While the “cost
of treatment alternatives is a factor in determining what
constitutes adequate, minimum-level medical care, . . .
medical personnel cannot simply resort to an easier course of
treatment that they know is ineffective.” Johnson
v. Doughty, 433 F.3d 1001, 1013 (7th Cir. 2006)
(internal citations omitted); compare Peralta v.
Dillard, 744 F.3d 1076, 1084 (9th Cir. 2014) (“A
prison medical official who fails to provide needed treatment
because he lacks the necessary resources can hardly be said
to have intended to punish the inmate.”).
Accordingly, at this stage of the proceeding, the Court
cannot conclude that Plaintiff has not stated a plausible
deliberate indifference claim against Defendants Lamour, GEO,
Inc., and GEO Care, LLC based upon the delay in treating his
Fuch's Dystrophy. Plaintiff will be allowed to develop
his Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against
(Doc. 142 at 22-23). Both GEO defendants filed an answer and
affirmative defenses to the amended complaint (Doc. 143), and
on May 14, 2016, the parties were directed to conduct
discovery (Doc. 31).
November 30, 2016, the defendants filed a motion for summary
judgment (Doc. 160). Plaintiff was directed to respond to the
motion (Doc. 161). Plaintiff was cautioned that: (1) his
failure to respond to the motions would indicate that they
were unopposed; (2) all material facts asserted by the
defendants would be considered admitted unless controverted
by proper evidentiary materials; and (3) Plaintiff could not
rely solely on the allegations of his pleadings to oppose the
motions (Doc. 46) (citing Griffith v. Wainwright,
772 F.2d 822, 825 (11th Cir. 1985)). Plaintiff filed a
response in opposition to the defendants' motions on
February 21, 2017 (Doc. 165). In his response, Plaintiff
complained that certain defendants and non-parties to this
action failed to respond to his discovery requests.
Id.In an abundance of caution, the Court directed
Plaintiff to describe the discovery sought that was denied
(Doc. 166). In his response, Plaintiff asserts that he sent
numerous letters and requests to non-parties seeking
information regarding his medical records (Doc. 167).
Plaintiff now requests permission to file a motion to compel
claims in Plaintiffs amended complaint are directed towards
the quality of his medical care and the accommodation
provided him at the FCCC facility for his visual disability.
However, the remaining claims are directed towards the
allegedly delayed and inadequate treatment for Plaintiffs eye
disease (Doc. 142). Therefore, only the factual allegations
surrounding those claims will be discussed in this Order.
September of 2005, prior to his commitment to the FCCC,
Plaintiff was diagnosed with Fuch's Epithelial Dystrophy
(“Fuch's Dystrophy”), a degenerative eye
disease (Doc. 126 at 9). In October of 2006, Plaintiff was
incarcerated by the State of Florida, and an optometrist for
the Florida Department of Corrections (“FDOC”)
confirmed the diagnosis of Fuch's Dystrophy on October
30, 2006. Id. Between that date and April 4, 2012,
Plaintiff received care for his condition from the FDOC.
Id. at 9-10.
arrived at the FCCC on April 20, 2012 (Doc. 126 at 10).
Plaintiff informed nurses in the medical department of his
eye condition, and offered his medical records. Id.
He was told that official copies of the records would be
requested if needed. Id. Plaintiff asserts that the
FCCC routinely refuses to accept hand-delivered medical
records from residents. Id. at 11.
13, 2012, Plaintiff was examined by FCCC contract optometrist
Dr. Brennon who confirmed Plaintiffs diagnosis of Fuch's
Dystrophy (Doc. 126 at 11). Dr. Brennan also refused to take
Plaintiffs medical records at that time. Id. On July
11, 2012, Dr. Brennon diagnosed Plaintiff with Advanced
Fuch's Corneal Dystrophy. Id.
September of 2012, Plaintiff awoke with no clear vision in
his right eye (Doc. 126 at 11). Plaintiff went to see
Defendant Dr. Lamour who told him that he would see Dr.
Brennan, the optometrist, soon. Id. In early
October, Plaintiff still had no clear vision in his right
eye, so he went to see Nurse Baker who saw no notes in
Plaintiffs records regarding a visit to the optometrist.
Id. The nurse wrote in Plaintiffs record that he
needed to be seen by an eye doctor soon. Id.
November 19, 2012, Plaintiff wrote a letter to Dr. Brennan,
informing him of the loss of clear vision in his right eye
(Doc. 126 at 13). Plaintiff was examined by Dr. Brennan on
December 12, 2012. Id. Brennan confirmed the loss of
clear vision in Plaintiffs right eye and noted that Plaintiff
had developed secondary glaucoma. Id. Dr. Brennan
reviewed Plaintiffs earlier medical records and prescribed
several eye medications. Id. at 14.
December 21, 2012, Defendant Lamour referred Plaintiff to an
outside specialist, Dr. Spadafora (Doc. 126 at 14). On
January 9, 2013, Defendant Lamour filed a “referral
summary” that revealed a diagnosis of advanced
glaucoma, cataracts, and Fuch's Corneal Dystrophy.
February 12, 2013, Plaintiff received surgery on his right
eye (Doc. 126 at 15).
February 13, 2013, Dr. Spadafora diagnosed nuclear cataract
worsening, glaucoma, open-angle, primary, worsening,
Glaucoma, Severe Stages, Fuch's Corneal Dystrophy,
worsening. Id. On February 27, 2013, Defendant
Lamour sought a referral in preparation for a right cornea
transplant. Id. at 15. On March 5, 2013, Plaintiff
returned for additional surgery on his right eye due to
complications. Id. On March 5, 2013, Defendant
Lamour filed a referral for Plaintiff to have a second
surgery on his right eye. Id. On March 7, Defendant
Lamour filed a referral for a follow-up visit. Id.
On April 24, 2013, Defendant Lamour filed a referral for
another follow-up visit on Plaintiffs right eye. Id.
On May 2, 2013, Plaintiffs eye medication ran out, and
Plaintiff had to request a refill. Id. On June 1,
2013, Plaintiff complained to Defendant Lamour about the eye
medication, and Defendant Lamour told him that Plaintiff had
not attended a chronic clinic, implying that it was
Plaintiffs fault that the prescription refill was untimely.
Id. at 16. On June 1, 2013, Plaintiff wrote Dr.
Brennan to ask for help to correct the eye medication
situation, but he never received a response. Id.
August 2, 2013, Plaintiff asked Dr. Spadafora (Spadafora) if
he would change his opinion regarding the loss of vision in
Plaintiffs right eye “or had too much damage already
occurred before [he was] able to perform the
surgeries?” (Doc. 126 at 16). Plaintiff received no
response to the letter. Id. On September 21, 2013,
Plaintiff requested that Defendant Lamour schedule an
examination with Dr. Spadafora. Id. at 17.
October 22, 2013, a “full exam” was performed by
Dr. Spadafora, and it was noted that Plaintiffs cataract and
glaucoma were worsening and that Plaintiff still suffered
from Fuch's Dystrophy (Doc. 126 at 17). It was also noted
that the “visual limitations are affecting the
patient's ability to perform desired activities and
cannot be improved significantly with glasses.”
Id. Dr. Spadafora told Plaintiff that his vision
would not improve and that, had he cared for Plaintiff
sooner, he would face a different outcome. Id. On
November 19, 2013, Dr. Spadafora reported that Plaintiff
suffered “severe glaucomatous damage.”
December 11, 2013, Plaintiff was examined by Dr. Brennan who
diagnosed cataracts, cornea transplant, glaucoma, and
Fuch's corneal Dystrophy (Doc. 127 at 17). On January 30,
2014, Plaintiff was examined by Dr. Spadafora whose diagnosis
did not change. Id. On January 30, 3014, Defendant
Lamour wrote a referral for a consultation for cataract
removal and cornea transplant on Plaintiffs left eye.
Id. at 18. On April 22, 2014, Plaintiff had surgery
to remove the cataract in his left eye, but he was unable to
have the cornea transplant on that date. Id. The
next day, Plaintiff was given medication to reduce the
pressure in his eye, and the surgery was performed. On April
30, 2014, Plaintiff ...