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Case Name Paszko v. O'Brien PC-MA-0042
Docket / Court 1:15-cv-12298 ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On June 10, 2015, Massachusetts prisoners infected with the Hepatitis C virus filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and the case was assigned to Judge Nathaniel Gorton. The plaintiffs sued the Massachusetts Department of Correction and the ... read more >
On June 10, 2015, Massachusetts prisoners infected with the Hepatitis C virus filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and the case was assigned to Judge Nathaniel Gorton. The plaintiffs sued the Massachusetts Department of Correction and the Massachusetts Partnership for Correctional Healthcare under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of the Eighth Amendment. The plaintiffs, represented by Prisoner Legal Services and private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief claiming that defendants were deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of plaintiffs and members of the class infected with the Hepatitis C virus.

Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the state refused to provide newer and more effective Hepatitis C treatments. Instead, the state knowingly delayed evaluating prisoners and consciously avoided knowledge of their treatment needs. The plaintiffs alleged that a vast number of prisoners with Hepatitis C were not being afforded the necessary testing to determine whether they should receive treatment.

On March 14, 2016, the plaintiffs filed notice that the named plaintiff had died. On July 29, 2016 the plaintiffs amended their complaint alleging the same claims but reflecting the recent change in lead plaintiff and defendant (the Commissioner of MDOC had also recently changed).

On January 17, 2017 the parties announced that they were amenable to mediation as discovery proceedings carried on. On February 9, 2018 the parties announced to the court that they had reached a settlement on all terms and submitted a joint motion for approval the following month. The agreement stipulated that the DOC would arrange for its contracted medical provider to implement a new protocol for Hepatitis C testing and treatment. Treatment levels in the agreement varied depending on the class member’s assignment of a Priority Level. The settlement also required the DOC to hire a third party to monitor progress of care. The parties further agreed that written notice was to be issued to class members and asked the court to retain jurisdiction during the 30-month settlement term. In addition, the settlement included attorneys' fees and costs including $270,000 for attorneys fees and $1,500 for expenses.

Judge Gorton granted the settlement on June 28, 2018 despite multiple objections from class members requesting monetary damages. The court will continue to enforce the settlement agreement until December 2020. The case is ongoing.

Lakshmi Gopal - 10/17/2015
Will McCartney - 02/18/2018
Richa Bijlani - 11/24/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Content of Injunction
Monitor/Master
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Conditions of confinement
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Medical/Mental Health
Hepatitis
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Massachusetts Department of Correction
Massachusetts Partnership for Correctional Healthcare, LLC
Plaintiff Description Massachusetts prisoners who are infected with the Hepatitis C virus.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2018 - 2020
Filed 2015
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
Book
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
1:15-cv-12298 (D. Mass.)
PC-MA-0042-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/01/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-MA-0042-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/10/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [in support of plaintiff's motion to amend complaint] [ECF# 33]
PC-MA-0042-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/16/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [in support for plaintiffs' motion for class certification] [ECF# 35]
PC-MA-0042-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/16/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 49]
PC-MA-0042-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/26/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion to Approve Settlement Agreement [ECF# 94]
PC-MA-0042-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/20/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Gorton, Nathaniel M. (FISC, D. Mass.) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0042-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Kelston, David (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0042-0004
Pritchard, Tatum A. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0042-9000
Schapiro, Rebecca K (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0042-9000
Shapiro, Jonathan (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0042-0001 | PC-MA-0042-0004 | PC-MA-0042-9000
Thompson, Joel (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0042-0001 | PC-MA-0042-0002 | PC-MA-0042-0003 | PC-MA-0042-0004 | PC-MA-0042-0005 | PC-MA-0042-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Benedon, Carrie M. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0042-0005 | PC-MA-0042-9000
Carpenter, Curtis L.S. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0042-9000
Dietrick, Stephen G. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0042-9000
DiGangi, Thomas Vincent (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0042-9000
Flanagan, William J. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0042-9000
Hampton, J. David (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0042-9000
Hansen, Janna J. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0042-0005 | PC-MA-0042-9000
Hartnett, Timothy D. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0042-9000
McLaughlin, Anne M (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0042-9000
Weigand, Tory A. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0042-9000

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