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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) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Special Collection Post-WalMart decisions on class certification
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 seeking to proceed as 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 (a) that defendants failed to provide all inmates with HCV the direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drug treatment, which is approved by the FDA and has been shown to cure 90% of HCV cases; and (b) that defendants utilized outdated and ineffective diagnostic techniques in determining whether or not to treat a patient with symptoms of HCV.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 a putative class comprising 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. The case was before United States District Judge Nanette Laughrey.

On February 21, 2017, MDOC defendants filed a motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ complaint. In their motion to dismiss, MDOC defendants claimed that plaintiffs had failed to state an Eighth Amendment claim because they had 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, the Court issued an order granting in part and denying in part MDOC defendants’ motion to dismiss. The Court 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. It also denied defendants’ motion to dismiss with respect to plaintiffs’ ADA claims, finding that the plaintiffs had plausibly alleged claims under the ADA and that defendants had not shown adequate evidence to dismiss at that point. The Court did grant the motion to dismiss with respect to specific counts for individual MDOC employees on qualified immunity grounds, and also with respect to certain damages claims against state officials in their official capacity on Eleventh Amendment grounds. 2017 WL 1968317.

On July 26, 2017, Judge Laughrey granted class certification, 2017 WL 3185155. The defendants sought permission to appeal under Rule 23(f) and the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit granted permission in September 2017. The parties then moved to stay proceedings in the District Court pending the Circuit Court's resolution of the certification appeal, and the District Court stayed proceedings on October 27, 2017.

On December 6, 2018, the Court of Appeals (Circuit Judges Erickson, Wollman, and Kelly) affirmed the judgment of the District Court granting class certification. 910 F.3d 1030. Then, The Court of Appeals issued an order denying a motion to rehear the case en banc on January 11, 2019.

As of April 24, 2019, the case is ongoing and the parties are still engaged in discovery.

Elena Malik - 10/08/2017
Chris Pollack - 04/24/2019


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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
Medical/Mental Health
Hepatitis
ICF/MR & HCFA standards
Medical care, general
Untreated pain
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
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
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2016
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)
2:16−cv−04219 (W.D. Mo.)
PC-MO-0015-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/07/2019
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]
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 215-2] (910 F.3d 1030)
PC-MO-0015-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/06/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Erickson, Ralph R. (D.N.D., Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-0008
Kelly, Jane Louise (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-0008
Laughrey, Nanette Kay (E.D. Mo., W.D. Mo.) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-0002 | PC-MO-0015-0007 | PC-MO-0015-9000
Wollman, Roger Leland (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-0008
Plaintiff's Lawyers Breihan, Amy Elizabeth (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-0004 | PC-MO-0015-9000
Quinn, Mae C. (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-0001 | PC-MO-0015-0004 | PC-MO-0015-9000
Rothert, Anthony [Tony] E. (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-0001 | PC-MO-0015-0004 | PC-MO-0015-9000
Steffan, Jessie (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-0001 | PC-MO-0015-0004 | PC-MO-0015-9000
Wilcox, Gillian R. (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-0001 | PC-MO-0015-0004 | PC-MO-0015-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Eckenrode, J. Thaddeus (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-9000
Elsbury, Laura E. (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-9000
Haywood, Amy C. (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-9000
Huff, Michael P. (Alabama) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-9000
Kinsella, Carrie L. (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-9000
Liss, Jessica L. (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-9000
Lunsford, William R. (Alabama) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-9000
Messeloff, Daniel L. (Ohio) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-9000
Mueller, Jillian (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-9000
Quinlan, Michael D. (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-0006 | PC-MO-0015-9000
Relys, H. Anthony (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-0005 | PC-MO-0015-9000
Sauer, Dean John (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-9000
Vetter, Colleen Joern (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-9000
White, Amy J. (Missouri) show/hide docs
PC-MO-0015-9000

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