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Case Name Fowler v. Turco PC-MA-0045
Docket / Court 15-cv-12298-NMG ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On June 10, 2015, inmates of the Massachusetts Department of Correction filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court District of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs sued the Massachusetts Partnership for Correctional Healthcare LLC (“MPCH”) and the Commissioner of the Massachusetts ... read more >
On June 10, 2015, inmates of the Massachusetts Department of Correction filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court District of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs sued the Massachusetts Partnership for Correctional Healthcare LLC (“MPCH”) and the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Correction under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had repeatedly shown deliberate indifference to the serious medical needs of plaintiffs and the members of the class, who are infected with the Hepatitis C virus. The plaintiffs alleged that over 1,500 state prisoners in Massachusetts have Hepatitis C, but at the time only three were being treated for it, despite major advances in treatment of Hepatitis C made in 2014. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel and Prisoners' Legal Services, sought declaratory and injunctive relief under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

On September 17, 2015, the defendants answered and asserted the affirmative defense that the plaintiffs failed to state claim upon which relief could be granted, and that the plaintiffs failed to exhaust administrative remedies under 42 U.S.C. 1993e(a); they also objected to class certification. On May 16, 2016, plaintiffs moved for class certification, and on July 22, 2016 Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton granted class certification, certifying a class of all current and future Massachusetts Department of Correction prisoners who have or will have Hepatitis C.

Sadly, one of the original plaintiffs passed away due to complications with his Hepatitis C and was removed from the litigation by an amended complaint filed with the court on July 29, 2016.

On January 11, 2017, the parties entered a joint motion to extend discovery until May 1, 2017. Since that date, the parties underwent discovery, with a trial date set for April 30, 2018. On March 9, 2018, the parties filed a joint motion requesting the court approve their settlement agreement. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, MPCH had to implement a new protocol to govern the testing, evaluation, and treatment of Hepatitis C; the DOC would hire a third party to monitor the progress of MPCH in implementing its protocol; and all class members and future prisoners with Hepatitis C were to be assigned priority levels, with corresponding treatment based on their priority level. On June 28, 2019, the parties appeared before Judge Gorton, who, finding that the settlement was fair, reasonable, and adequate, approved the settlement. On June 29, 2018, Judge Gorton filed an electronic order awarding the class counsel $270,000 for attorneys’ fees and $1,500 for expenses. The case is now closed.

Nichollas Dawson - 10/11/2017
Lisa Limb - 03/25/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Defendant-type
Corrections
Medical/Mental Health
Hepatitis
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 All inmates of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections with Hepatitis C.
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
Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 2015
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
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-NMG (D. Mass.)
PC-MA-0045-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/25/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-MA-0045-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/10/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 34]
PC-MA-0045-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/16/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 35]
PC-MA-0045-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/16/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 49]
PC-MA-0045-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/16/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 90-1]
PC-MA-0045-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/09/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Gorton, Nathaniel M. (FISC, D. Mass.) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0045-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Kelston, David (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0045-0001 | PC-MA-0045-0002 | PC-MA-0045-0003 | PC-MA-0045-0004 | PC-MA-0045-9000
Pritchard, Tatum A. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0045-9000
Shapiro, Jonathan (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0045-0001 | PC-MA-0045-0002 | PC-MA-0045-0003 | PC-MA-0045-0004 | PC-MA-0045-0005 | PC-MA-0045-9000
Thompson, Joel (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0045-0001 | PC-MA-0045-0002 | PC-MA-0045-0003 | PC-MA-0045-0004 | PC-MA-0045-0005 | PC-MA-0045-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Benedon, Carrie M. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0045-0005 | PC-MA-0045-9000
Carpenter, Curtis L.S. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0045-9000
Dietrick, Stephen G. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0045-9000
DiGangi, Thomas Vincent (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0045-9000
Flanagan, William J. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0045-9000
Hampton, J. David (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0045-9000
Hansen, Janna J. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0045-0005 | PC-MA-0045-9000
Hartnett, Timothy D. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0045-9000
McLaughlin, Anne M (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0045-9000
Weigand, Tory A. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-MA-0045-9000

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