February 15, 2019

Contact:Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
Managing Partner
305.670.1101 Ext. 1023


Bivens Liability – Deliberate Indifference Claims – Defense of Constitutional Rights

Christopher D. Hastings

Christopher D. Hastings

William Grubbs

William Grubbs

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.William Grubbs a partner, and Christopher D. Hastings an associate, from the Tallahassee office of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., obtained a final summary judgment on behalf of a defendant optometrist contracted to provide optometry services at a federal prison.
Plaintiff, an incarcerated inmate at the prison where the optometrist provided medical services, brought Bivens claims alleging the optometrist, and federal officials, were deliberately indifferent to the Plaintiff’s serious medical needs. Plaintiff sustained a head/eye injury while playing softball. In the months that followed, Plaintiff allegedly suffered worsening eyesight culminating in total loss of eyesight in his right eye due to optic atrophy secondary to trauma caused by the head/eye injury. Plaintiff alleged the optometrist was deliberately indifferent to this serious medical need by not diagnosing his condition sooner, before total loss of eyesight set in.
Chief Magistrate Judge Elizabeth M. Timothy, recommended summary judgment in the optometrist’s favor for two reasons. First, the optometrist was an independent contractor of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. As an independent contractor, the optometrist was not a federal official and therefore not amenable to a Bivens suit. Second, on all occasions when Plaintiff presented to the optometrist with complaints of loss of eyesight, the optometrist conducted an eye exam, noted no ocular health issues, diagnosed Plaintiff as myopic with astigmatism, and prescribed lenses which corrected Plaintiff’s vision to better than 20/20 in both eyes.  Plaintiff could not establish that the optometrist was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff’s loss of eyesight.
Chief District Judge Mark E. Walker adopted the report and recommendation of Judge Timothy, and entered final summary judgment in favor of the optometrist and against the Plaintiff.

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William Grubbs ― is co-managing partner of the Tallahassee office.  For nearly 20 years he has focused in the areas of insurance defense, medical malpractice, nursing home defense litigation, and mass tort litigation.  He represents a broad range of professional claims related to all aspects of healthcare, including nursing homes, adult living facilities, hospitals, home health agencies, physicians, medical directors, administrators, nurses, and radiologists.  He represents attorneys, architects, and agents in professional liability matters and in errors and omissions claims. Mr. Grubbs received his J.D. from Mississippi College of Law and is licensed to practice law in Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi.
Christopher D. Hastings ― is an associate in the Tallahassee office. He focuses his practice in the areas of insurance defense, medical malpractice, nursing home defense, premises liability and construction defect.  He received his J.D. cum laude from Florida State University College of Law in 2015.
QPWB is the largest minority and women owned law firm in the nation with 23 offices in the U.S. and abroad.

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