University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Hoffer v. Jones PC-FL-0026
Docket / Court 4:17-cv-00214-MW-CAS ( N.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Florida Justice Institute
Case Summary
On May 11, 2017, three Florida Department of Corrections prisoners who had chronic hepatitis C filed this putative class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Judge Mark E. Walker was assigned to the case. The plaintiffs sued the Florida Department of ... read more >
On May 11, 2017, three Florida Department of Corrections prisoners who had chronic hepatitis C filed this putative class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Judge Mark E. Walker was assigned to the case. The plaintiffs sued the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) for failing to provide inmates in its custody who had chronic hepatitis C with adequate medical treatment, even though the standard treatment for the deadly disease (direct-acting antivirals) cured 95% of hepatitis C patients. The plaintiffs alleged that the FDC’s deliberate indifference to inmates’ serious medical needs violated the Eighth Amendment and that the FDC discriminated on the basis of disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The plaintiffs, represented by the Florida Justice Institute, sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

On May 23, 2017, the plaintiffs sought class certification and a preliminary injunction, arguing that many sick prisoners would become sicker and die if they had to wait until the end of the litigation to get relief. A few months later, on November 17 of that year, the court granted both of the plaintiffs’ requests. (The FDC had also sought to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim, but the court dismissed that motion without hearing it.) The class included all current and future prisoners in FDC custody who have been diagnosed, or will be diagnosed, with chronic hepatitis C. 323 F.R.D. 694. The preliminary injunction required the FDC to come up with a plan to provide medical treatment to prisoners with hepatitis C and to put that plan into effect immediately after it was approved.

On December 13, 2017, the court approved a plan that required the FDC to treat all prisoners with hepatitis C, giving priority to those whose conditions were most serious. The plan contained a timetable for the FDC’s goals, all would be fully implemented over the next year. On January 31, 2018, the court allowed the FDC to modify the preliminary injunction: the FDC began using different tests to determine which patients had the most serious conditions, and its timeline for treating patients with lower fibrosis scores was extended by twelve months. Nine days later, the court allowed the plaintiffs to modify the preliminary injunction as well: the FDC was required to initiate treatment for prisoners who were co-infected with hepatitis C and HIV by the end of the year, even if they had low fibrosis scores. On February 21, the court issued a second preliminary injunction because the first was about to expire.

By the time the FDC’s preliminary injunction took effect, it had been more than seven months since the plaintiffs had filed their initial complaint. One plaintiff’s decompensated cirrhosis (liver scarring as a result of hepatitis C) had worsened considerably, and the plaintiffs sought an evaluation for a liver transplant for him on January 5, 2018. They alleged that the FDC had known about the severity of his condition for many months and should have referred him to the transplant center already. The court denied this motion for mootness, likely because the FDC’s timetable put January 31 as the date that the FDC needed to have evaluated all prisoners with decompensated cirrhosis. Less than three months later, the plaintiff died.

As of May 2018, this case is ongoing and still in discovery. A resolution to this case has been delayed by the numerous extensions and discovery disputes that both parties have brought before the court throughout the course of litigation. The deadline for filing motions for summary judgment is July 27, 2018.

On May 21, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a third preliminary injunction with the same terms as the first two.

Rebecca Strauss - 05/18/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Conditions of confinement
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Medical/Mental Health
Hepatitis
HIV/AIDS
Medical care, general
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.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Florida
Plaintiff Description All current and future prisoners in Florida Department of Corrections custody who have been diagnosed, or will be diagnosed, with chronic Hepatitis C.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Florida Justice Institute
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2017 - n/a
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  FJI Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Florida Department of Corrections for Not Providing Hepatitis C Treatment
floridajusticeinstitute.org
Date: May 11, 2017
By: Florida Justice Institute
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Florida prisoners with hepatitis are at risk for worse, lawsuit claims
miamiherald.com
Date: May 11, 2017
By: Julie K. Brown (Miami Herald)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  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)
4:17-cv-0214-MW-CAS (N.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0026-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/18/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Verified Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
PC-FL-0026-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 152] (323 F.R.D. 694) (N.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0026-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion for a Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 153] (2017 WL 5586877) (N.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0026-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Entering a Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 185] (N.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0026-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/13/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Modifying Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 214] (N.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0026-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/31/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Modifying Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 218] (N.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0026-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/09/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Stampelos, Charles A (N.D. Fla.) [Magistrate]
PC-FL-0026-9000
Walker, Mark Eaton (N.D. Fla.)
PC-FL-0026-0002 | PC-FL-0026-0003 | PC-FL-0026-0004 | PC-FL-0026-0005 | PC-FL-0026-0006 | PC-FL-0026-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Berg, Randall Challen Jr. (Florida)
PC-FL-0026-0001 | PC-FL-0026-9000
Selig, Erica (Florida)
PC-FL-0026-0001 | PC-FL-0026-9000
Taseff, Ray (Florida)
PC-FL-0026-9000
Trevisani, Dante Pasquale (Florida)
PC-FL-0026-0001 | PC-FL-0026-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bowden, Albert III (Florida)
PC-FL-0026-9000
Brodeen, Karen Ann (Florida)
PC-FL-0026-9000
Daniel, Stephanie A. (Florida)
PC-FL-0026-9000
Neff, Lance Eric (Florida)
PC-FL-0026-9000

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