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Case Name Graham v. Parker PC-TN-0015
Docket / Court 16-cv-01954 ( M.D. Tenn. )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On July 25, 2016, inmates at the Tennessee Department of Corrections filed this class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Plaintiffs sued the Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner of Rehabilitative Services, and the Medical Director of the ... read more >
On July 25, 2016, inmates at the Tennessee Department of Corrections filed this class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Plaintiffs sued the Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner of Rehabilitative Services, and the Medical Director of the Tennessee Department of Corrections under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs claimed that defendants violated their Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by failing to provide medically acceptable care to inmates with the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), despite having knowledge of the proper standard of care and medical advances in HCV treatment. The plaintiffs were represented by the ACLU, Disability Rights Tennessee, and private counsel, and they sought relief for members of the putative class comprising of over 3000 prisoners at the Tennessee Department of Corrections who are either currently diagnosed with Hepatitis C infection or are determined to have Hepatitis C after an appropriate screening test has been administered by the Department of Corrections. Plaintiffs wanted a declaration that the policies and practices of the defendants were unconstitutional and additionally sought an injunction to require defendants to implement a plan to eliminate the risk of serious harm to Plaintiffs resulting from inadequate diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of HCV infection. Plaintiffs further sought monetary relief in the form of the costs of the suit and attorney fees and litigation expenses.

On October 11, 2016 the defendants opposed the plaintiffs’ motion to certify their class. The defendants argued that determining who would be in the proposed class would require “individual, continuous calculation”, and on these grounds, Defendants claimed that the proposed class did not meet the requirements of commonality and typicality required for class certification. On May 4, 2017, Chief Judge Crenshaw issued a memorandum granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification. In determining whether to certify the proposed class, the court considered the type of relief sought by Plaintiffs and concluded that since Plaintiffs sought only declaratory and injunctive relief, there was no need to make individualized decisions regarding each inmate of the proposed class. Additionally, the court noted that granting class certification would prevent the “danger of the action becoming moot.” 2017 WL 1737871. The defendants tried to appeal this class action decision, but were denied leave to appeal on August 10, 2017.

As of October 1, 2017, this case is ongoing.

Elena Malik - 10/05/2017


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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
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Tennessee Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Persons currently incarcerated in any facility under the supervision or control of the Tennessee Department of Corrections or persons incarcerated in a public or privately owned facility for whom the Department has ultimate responsibility for their medical care and who have at least twelve weeks or more remaining to serve on their sentences and are either currently diagnosed with HCV or are determined to have HCV after an appropriate screening has been administered by the Department.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
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)
3:16-cv-1954 (M.D. Tenn.)
PC-TN-0015-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [With Exhibits] [ECF# 1]
PC-TN-0015-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/25/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 15]
PC-TN-0015-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/16/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion to Certify Class [ECF# 20]
PC-TN-0015-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/11/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Reply to Defendants' Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion to Certify Class [ECF# 24]
PC-TN-0015-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/30/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [ECF# 32] (M.D. Tenn.)
PC-TN-0015-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Brown, Joe B. (M.D. Tenn.) [Magistrate]
PC-TN-0015-9000
Crenshaw, Waverly David Jr. (M.D. Tenn.)
PC-TN-0015-0005 | PC-TN-0015-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Campbell, Karla M. (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0015-0001 | PC-TN-0015-0002 | PC-TN-0015-0004 | PC-TN-0015-9000
Castelli, Thomas H. (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0015-0001 | PC-TN-0015-0002 | PC-TN-0015-0004 | PC-TN-0015-9000
Logsdon, Elizabeth S. (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0015-0001 | PC-TN-0015-0002 | PC-TN-0015-0004 | PC-TN-0015-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Brough, Madeline B. (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0015-0003 | PC-TN-0015-9000
Hart, Steven Ashley (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0015-9000
Lorch, Pamela S. (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0015-0003 | PC-TN-0015-9000
Newsom, James R. III (Tennessee)
PC-TN-0015-9000
Slatery, Herbert III (Texas)
PC-TN-0015-0003

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