On April 8, 1999, inmates at the Foster County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia, who had tested positive for HIV, filed this class action lawsuit against county officials. The plaintiffs, represented by the Southern Center for Human Rights, brought the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. They alleged that the defendants' policies violated their constitutional rights. The plaintiffs sought improvements in medical care and a reduction in overcrowding.
On April 16, 1999, the court (Judge Marvin H. Shoob) held a preliminary injunction hearing, at which the parties presented a proposed settlement. The court entered a consent order as to the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunctive relief on the same day.
Subsequently, on January 10, 2000, the parties filed a joint motion to provide notice of class action settlement. On January 24, 2000, the court (Judge Shoob), after a hearing on the settlement, entered a final order and closed the case. The defendants were required to improve medical care and reduce overcrowding in the jail.
On March 3, 2000, the plaintiffs filed a non-compliance civil action, seeking monetary and injunctive relief alleging that the defendants were not complying with the settlement. The appointed health care monitor submitted a status report to the court on March 7, 2000, detailing areas in need of improvement at the jail. On April 11, 2000, the court (Judge Shoob) entered an order adopting the recommendations of the report, including that the scope of the settlement agreement reached to intake processes and medical care for all inmates, and aspects of communicable diseases. Furthermore, the agreement required the elimination of overcrowding at the jail. Foster v. Fulton Co., No. 1:99-CV-900-MHS, 2000 WL 34016360 (N.D. Ga. Apr. 11, 2000).
For approximately the next two years, the monitors continued to submit status reports, and the defendants continued to adjust policies to comply with the court's orders.
On November 5, 2001, the court directed the parties to respond to the monitor's report that ten areas were "far from compliance" with the settlement agreement. On April 16, 2002, the court (Judge Shoob) issued an order finding the defendants in breach of the settlement agreement, and requiring them to employ a sufficient number of trained staff, to refer HIV-positive inmates to outside specialists in a timely manner, and to improve overall jail conditions, including overcrowding, security, and nutrition. Foster v. Fulton Co., 223 F. Supp. 2d 1292 (N.D. Ga. 2002).
On July 12, 2002, the court (Judge Shoob) denied the defendants' motion to stay implementation of actions ordered in the April 12, 2002 opinion. The court held that the defendants were required to develop a unified system for providing counsel and the opportunity to review their charges for detainees within 72 hours of arrest, and to develop a meaningful discharge plan for physically and mentally ill prisoners. Foster v. Fulton Co., 223 F. Supp. 2d 1301 (N.D. Ga. 2002).
According to the PACER docket, on October 28, 2002, the court (Judge Shoob) withdrew portions of its orders issued on April 12, 2002, and on July 12, 2002, required the appointment of counsel to indigents charged with minor offenses and the provision of all purpose hearings in state court within 72 hours of arrest to combat overcrowding.
On November 13, 2002 the Court terminated the case, with the consent of all parties, after the county promised to continue outside monitoring of jail health care for 18 months. The docket reflects no further entries regarding the litigation of this case. In 2003 and 2005 the plaintiffs filed copies of the notice they posted in the jail detailing the terms of the settlement. In addition, in 2011 there was an entry regarding "unclaimed exhibits," which the plaintiffs' attorneys then retrieved. The case is now closed. Laura Uberti - 06/27/2006
Jessica Kincaid - 04/07/2016