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Case Name Chimenti v. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections PC-PA-0041
Docket / Court 2:15-cv-03333-JP ( E.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg, LLP
Case Summary
On June 12, 2015, three individuals incarcerated and suffering from complications due to Hepatitis C viral infections filed this class action suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs sued the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, ... read more >
On June 12, 2015, three individuals incarcerated and suffering from complications due to Hepatitis C viral infections filed this class action suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs sued the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming violations of the Eighth Amendment, and of Article I § 13 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. Represented by private counsel and the PA Institutional Law Project, the plaintiffs alleged that the DOC had a policy and practice of denying necessary medical care to inmates diagnosed with Hepatitis C. In denying care, the DOC placed the inmates at serious and unnecessary risk for irreparable harm and death. The plaintiffs estimated that 20% of the state's prisoners were infected with Hepatitis C at the time of the lawsuit. The defendants did not authorize treatment with drugs that recently were established to be effective and the new standard of care, and in fact ceased providing treatment altogether. The plaintiffs sued for declaratory and injunctive relief.

On March 7, 2016, Judge John Padova ordered that the motion for class certification be stayed pending resolution of the defendant's motion to dismiss. On March 21, 2016, Judge Padova issued an order partially granting and partially denying the defendants' motion to dismiss. 2016 WL 1125580. The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on February 3, 2017, and the defendants filed another motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim on February 8. The court ruled on this motion on August 8, 2017, granting it in part and denying it in part. The court found that the plaintiffs sufficiently alleged that defendants had been deliberately indifferent, and that portion of the complaint met the standard to survive a motion to dismiss. The court dismissed the allegations of the medical defendants, finding that they were not responsible for creating the DOC's policy and could not be held responsible for it. A number of additional claims were dismissed pursuant to the agreement of the parties. 2017 WL 3394605.

The defendants moved for summary judgment on October 2, 2017. Meanwhile, the court granted the plaintiffs' renewed motion for class certification on May 24, 2018. The class was certified as all persons who are currently incarcerated in a Pennsylvania DOC facility with a diagnosed condition of Chronic Hepatitis C, who have at least twelve weeks remaining on their sentences, and who have a life expectancy of over a year. 2018 WL 2388665. On July 12, 2018, the court granted in part and denied in part the defendants' motion for summary judgment. The court granted the motion with respect to one plaintiffs' personal claims for injunctive relief, the plaintiffs' claim for injunctive relief under Article I, § 13 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, and a portion of the medical malpractice claim. The court denied the remainder of the counts. 2018 WL 3388305. The parties held a settlement conference on October 17, 2018.

On November 19, 2018, the parties entered into a settlement agreement on plaintiffs' claims for injunctive relief. The defendant agreed to replace its current Hepatitis C protocol with a new protocol that incorporated the terms of the settlement agreement. The defendant agreed to provide enhanced medical evaluation and treatment to class members, including direct-acting antivirals to class members when necessary. The settlement agreement also amended the class to include inmates with Hepatitis C who entered the Department of Corrections after the date of class certification. DOC also agreed to provide ongoing reports to plaintiffs' counsel with data regarding testing, diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of all class members in prison currently diagnosed with Hepatitis C. The agreement also allowed for a notice-and-comment period prior to any revisions or changes to the Hepatitis C Protocol. Plaintiffs' counsel agreed it would provide the defendant with notice of any potential noncompliance. The parties agreed to enter into good-faith discussion to solve any disputes that may arise from unforeseen circumstances. The parties agreed that the Settlement Agreement was to be subjected to the final approval of the court, and that the court would retain jurisdiction to enforce the Agreement and to resolve any disputes that may arise. The DOC agreed to pay the plaintiffs’ $195,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

The court approved the settlement agreement on February 7, 2019. The court retains jurisdiction over the case until June 30, 2022. The court may only extend the agreement in one year increments in the event of a finding of noncompliance with its terms, but not beyond five years from the date of approval. Therefore, the case remains ongoing.

Virginia Weeks - 09/29/2016
Elizabeth Heise - 11/10/2018
Eva Richardson - 05/27/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Conditions of confinement
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
State law
Defendant(s) Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Inmates with Hepatitis C who allege that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections have failed to provide adequate medical care.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg, LLP
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
Filing Year 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)
2:15−cv−03333−JP (E.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0041-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/07/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-PA-0041-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/12/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [Motion to Dismiss] [ECF# 26] (2016 WL 1125580) (E.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0041-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/21/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 50]
PC-PA-0041-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/03/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [ECF# 90] (2017 WL 3394605) (E.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0041-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/08/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Response to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [With Attachments] [ECF# 101]
PC-PA-0041-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/02/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [ECF# 107] (2018 WL 2388665) (E.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0041-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/24/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [ECF# 109] (2018 WL 3388305) (E.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0041-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/12/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement and General Release [ECF# 125-2]
PC-PA-0041-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/19/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Padova, John R. (E.D. Pa.) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0041-0003 | PC-PA-0041-0006 | PC-PA-0041-0007 | PC-PA-0041-0008 | PC-PA-0041-9000
Rice, Timothy R. (E.D. Pa.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-PA-0041-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown, Stephen D. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0041-0001 | PC-PA-0041-0004 | PC-PA-0041-0005 | PC-PA-0041-0009 | PC-PA-0041-9000
Levin, Christine C. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0041-0001 | PC-PA-0041-0004 | PC-PA-0041-0005 | PC-PA-0041-9000
Love, Angus R. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0041-0001 | PC-PA-0041-0004 | PC-PA-0041-0005 | PC-PA-0041-9000
Rudovsky, David (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0041-0001 | PC-PA-0041-0004 | PC-PA-0041-0005 | PC-PA-0041-0009 | PC-PA-0041-9000
Solove, Ethan (California) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0041-9000
Solove, Ethan (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0041-0001
Wong, Rose Marie C (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0041-0005 | PC-PA-0041-9000
Yeh, Su Ming (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0041-0001 | PC-PA-0041-0004 | PC-PA-0041-0005 | PC-PA-0041-0009 | PC-PA-0041-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Foreman, Samuel H. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0041-9000
Goodrich, Caitlin J. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0041-9000
Katz, Noah Evan (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0041-9000
Mazeski, Vincent R. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PC-PA-0041-0009 | PC-PA-0041-9000

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