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Case Name Hollihan v. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections DR-PA-0008
Docket / Court 3:15-cv-00005-EMK-SES ( M.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Case Summary
On January 2, 2015, a prisoner in Pennsylvania filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. The complaint was filled under the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and 42 U.S.C. ... read more >
On January 2, 2015, a prisoner in Pennsylvania filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. The complaint was filled under the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for the deprivation of the plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights. Represented by both private counsel and attorneys from the PA Institutional Law Project, the plaintiff sought both injunctive relief and damages for the alleged discrimination. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections systematical denied medical care to inmates with severe eye conditions, including severe cataracts. Plaintiff additionally sought a class action certification so other inmates suffering from this disability discrimination can similarly receive treatment.

During his time in prison, the plaintiff developed cataracts that significantly impaired his vision. The plaintiff has no vision in his left eye due to a cataract, and he has deteriorating vision in his right eye. While his doctors have recommended corrective surgery, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has a "One Good Eye" Policy. This policy apparently provides that as long as an inmate still has vision in one of his eye, no surgery will be provided for the other eye unless the inmate meets four specific criteria. The plaintiff was scheduled for surgery in September 2012, but the Department of Corrections cancelled the procedure and told the plaintiff it would be rescheduled. Plaintiff appealed the cancellation and sought additional medical referrals for surgery, but was denied, as he did not meet the criteria for cataract surgery.

This case is still in the beginning stages of discovery. After the initial filing of the complaint on January 2, 2015, one of the defendants filed a motion to dismiss on March 24, 2015. Additional defendants filed their own motions to dismiss on April 16, 2015 and June 3, 2015, and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections filed a motion for judgment and to stay discovery on July 17, 2015. Judge Christopher C. Conner granted the motion to stay discovery. After a teleconference with the plaintiffs and defendants on August 24, 2015, though, the Court ordered that the defense had failed to show good cause for keeping their cataract surgery policy confidential, although such policy has not appeared in the court record yet.

On September 18, 2015, the Court denied the plaintiff's motion for class certification without prejudice. The Court stated that it would allow limited discovery related to the eligibility of this case for class action certification. As the discovery process is ongoing, there have been no other significant developments in this case.

Carolyn Weltman - 10/19/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
Visual impairment
Discrimination-area
Medical Exam / Inquiry
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Disparate Treatment
Medical/Mental Health
Vision care
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Defendant(s) Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description An adult, incarcerated male with a severe cataract in his left eye and deteriorating vision in his right eye.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
3:15-cv-5 (M.D. Pa.) 09/24/2015
DR-PA-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint For Damages , Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 01/02/2015
DR-PA-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 09/18/2015 (M.D. Pa.)
DR-PA-0008-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Conner, Christopher C. (M.D. Pa.)
DR-PA-0008-0002 | DR-PA-0008-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Love, Angus R. (Pennsylvania)
DR-PA-0008-9000
Morgan-Kurtz, Alexandra T. (Pennsylvania)
DR-PA-0008-9000
Rothschild, Eric J. (Pennsylvania)
DR-PA-0008-0001 | DR-PA-0008-9000
Rudovsky, David (Pennsylvania)
DR-PA-0008-0001 | DR-PA-0008-9000
Schmidt, Thomas B III (Pennsylvania)
DR-PA-0008-0001 | DR-PA-0008-9000
Wolfish, Eric (Pennsylvania)
DR-PA-0008-0001 | DR-PA-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Davis, Jessica S. (Pennsylvania)
DR-PA-0008-9000
Hamilton, Michael C. (Pennsylvania)
DR-PA-0008-9000
Koczan, Paula A. (Pennsylvania)
DR-PA-0008-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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