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Case Name Postawko v. Missouri Department of Corrections PC-MO-0015
Docket / Court 16-cv-4219-NKL-P ( W.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
MacArthur Justice Center, New Orleans
Case Summary
On July 14, 2016, an inmate at the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, alleging that he had received inadequate medical care from the MDOC for a chronic Hepatitis C (HCV) viral infection. The inmate ... read more >
On July 14, 2016, an inmate at the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, alleging that he had received inadequate medical care from the MDOC for a chronic Hepatitis C (HCV) viral infection. The inmate originally filed on his own, but the ACLU of Missouri and MacArthur Justice Center began representing this inmate and on December 15, 2016, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint which was a class action lawsuit. Plaintiffs sued the Missouri Department of Corrections and Corizon, LLC, the healthcare provider for all MDOC facilities, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Plaintiffs additionally sued the director of MDOC and individual medical practitioners at MDOC facilities. Plaintiffs claimed that defendants violated their Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by failing to provide the medically acceptable care to inmates with the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). Specifically, plaintiffs claimed that (a) defendants failed to provide the direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drug treatment, which are approved by the FDA and have been shown to cure 90% of HCV cases, to all inmates with HCV; and (b) that defendants utilized outdated and ineffective diagnostic techniques in determining whether or not to treat a patient with symptoms of HCV. Plaintiffs further claimed that defendants violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by discriminating against inmates with HCV.

The plaintiffs sought relief for members of the putative class comprising of over 5,000 prisoners in custody of MDOC who have been or will be diagnosed with HCV but who are not provided treatment with DAA drugs. Plaintiffs wanted a declaration that the withholding of DAA drugs from defendants was unconstitutional and additionally sought an injunction to require defendants to formulate and implement a plan that meets the prevailing standard of care for HCV diagnosis and treatment. Plaintiffs further sought monetary relief in the form of the costs of the suit and attorney fees and litigation expenses.

On February 21, 2017, MDOC defendants filed a motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ complaint. In their motion to dismiss, MDOC defendants claimed that plaintiffs failed to state an Eighth Amendment claim because they have no constitutional right to obtain the course of treatment demanded (DAAs). Additionally, defendants claimed that plaintiffs failed to state an ADA claim since ADA claims cannot be based on medical treatment decisions.

On May 11, 2017, District Judge Laughrey issued an order granting in part and denying in part MDOC defendants’ motion to dismiss. Judge Laughrey denied defendants’ motion to dismiss with respect to plaintiffs’ Eighth Amendment claims on the grounds that plaintiffs had demonstrated both a serious medical need for prompt treatment with DAAs and deliberate indifference on the part of defendants to plaintiffs’ serious need for medical treatment. Judge Laughrey also denied defendants’ motion to dismiss with respect to plaintiffs’ ADA claims because plaintiffs’ complaint plausibly alleged claims under the ADA and defendants had not shown adequate evidence to dismiss these claims at the motion to dismiss stage. Judge Laughrey granted defendants’ motion to dismiss with respect to specific counts for individual MDOC employees in their official capacities due to qualified immunity protections and an Eleventh Amendment bar on damages. 2017 WL 1968317.

On July 26, 2017, Judge Laughrey granted class certification, 2017 WL 3185155, and defendants appealed this class certification order on September 19, 2017.

As of October 8, 2017, this case is ongoing.

Elena Malik - 10/08/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
disability, unspecified
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Conditions of confinement
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Hepatitis
Medical care, general
Untreated pain
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Corizon, LLC
Missouri Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description All those individuals in the custody of MDOC, now or in the future, who have been, or will be, diagnosed with chronic HCV as that term is defined medically, but who are not provided treatment with direct acting antiviral drugs.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
MacArthur Justice Center, New Orleans
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Cruel Confinement: Abuse, Discrimination and Death Within Alabama's Prisons
Date: Jun. 4, 2014
(Southern Poverty Law Center )
[ 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)
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
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
2:16−cv−04219 (W.D. Mo.)
PC-MO-0015-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/26/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint Under the Civil Rights Act of 42 U.S.C. 1983 [ECF# 1]
PC-MO-0015-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/14/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 30]
PC-MO-0015-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/15/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 77]
PC-MO-0015-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MDOC Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 103]
PC-MO-0015-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/21/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 155] (2017 WL 1968317) (W.D. Mo.)
PC-MO-0015-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MDOC Defendants' Answer to Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 162]
PC-MO-0015-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/25/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 174] (2017 WL 3185155) (W.D. Mo.)
PC-MO-0015-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/26/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Laughrey, Nanette Kay (E.D. Mo., W.D. Mo.)
PC-MO-0015-0002 | PC-MO-0015-0007 | PC-MO-0015-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Breihan, Amy Elizabeth (Missouri)
PC-MO-0015-0004 | PC-MO-0015-9000
Quinn, Mae C. (Missouri)
PC-MO-0015-0001 | PC-MO-0015-0004 | PC-MO-0015-9000
Rothert, Anthony [Tony] E. (Missouri)
PC-MO-0015-0001 | PC-MO-0015-0004 | PC-MO-0015-9000
Steffan, Jessie (Missouri)
PC-MO-0015-0001 | PC-MO-0015-0004 | PC-MO-0015-9000
Wilcox, Gillian R. (Missouri)
PC-MO-0015-0001 | PC-MO-0015-0004 | PC-MO-0015-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Eckenrode, J. Thaddeus (Missouri)
PC-MO-0015-9000
Elsbury, Laura E. (Missouri)
PC-MO-0015-9000
Haywood, Amy C. (Missouri)
PC-MO-0015-9000
Huff, Michael P. (Alabama)
PC-MO-0015-9000
Kinsella, Carrie L. (Missouri)
PC-MO-0015-9000
Liss, Jessica L. (Missouri)
PC-MO-0015-9000
Lunsford, William R. (Alabama)
PC-MO-0015-9000
Messeloff, Daniel L. (Ohio)
PC-MO-0015-9000
Mueller, Jillian (Missouri)
PC-MO-0015-9000
Quinlan, Michael D. (Missouri)
PC-MO-0015-0006 | PC-MO-0015-9000
Relys, H. Anthony (Missouri)
PC-MO-0015-0005 | PC-MO-0015-9000
Sauer, Dean John (Missouri)
PC-MO-0015-9000
Vetter, Colleen Joern (Missouri)
PC-MO-0015-9000
White, Amy J. (Missouri)
PC-MO-0015-9000

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