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Case Name Stafford v. Carter PC-IN-0024
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-00289 ( S.D. Ind. )
State/Territory Indiana
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
This class action suit challenged the medical care provided to Indiana prisoners with the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).

On January 27, 2017, three prisoners with HCV at Pendleton Correctional Facility filed this class-action suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ... read more >
This class action suit challenged the medical care provided to Indiana prisoners with the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).

On January 27, 2017, three prisoners with HCV at Pendleton Correctional Facility filed this class-action suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson was assigned. Plaintiffs were represented by private counsel and a professor from the Indiana University School of Law. Defendants included the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC), its Commissioner of Corrections, the Chief Medical Officer, and the Director of Health Services (collectively “the IDOC officials”). Additional defendants included treating physicians at Pendleton and Corizon Health (a for-profit foreign medical care provider contracted by IDOC). Relief sought included injunctive relief mandating Hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment; compensatory damages; punitive damages for their claims under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments; and attorney fees, expenses, and costs.

In their complaint, plaintiffs cited section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 701), Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (42 U.S.C. § 12101), 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs claimed the defendants violated the Eighth Amendment by failing to provide medical treatment for HCV that met the recognized standard of care in the United States. Without proper care, there was a substantial risk that these HCV infections would severely damage plaintiff’s kidneys or livers. Further, plaintiffs claimed defendants acted with deliberate indifference, arguing that due to their universal HIV and HCV screenings, the defendants were aware of the plaintiffs’ medical needs. Additionally, plaintiffs alleged that prior to the filing of this lawsuit, they requested and were denied HCV treatment by the defendants. As a result, plaintiffs claimed discrimination in violation of the ADA and Rehabilitation Act as their HCV disability could have reasonably been accommodated by defendants.

On March 24, 2017, one defendant, Corizon Health, filed a motion to dismiss. On March 27, 2017, additional motions to dismiss were filed by two defendants, IDOC and its Commissioner of Corrections. On April 17, 2017, before the Court ruled on those motions, plaintiffs dismissed IDOC and amended their complaint to include a new defendant, Wexford of Indiana, LLC, a private healthcare services company contracted by IDOC. Plaintiffs alleged that Wexford violated the Rehabilitation Act, the ADA, and the plaintiffs’ rights under the Eighth Amendment. On April 24, 2017, the court denied all the aforementioned motions to dismiss as moot in light of the plaintiffs’ amended complaint. On June 8, 2017, Wexford of Indiana filed a motion to dismiss the claims under the Rehabilitation Act and ADA. The court denied the motion because Wexford of Indiana was a private entity offering public accommodations and it was alleged that Wexford had refused proper medical care as required by the ADA, 2017 WL 4517506.

On September 15, 2017, plaintiffs moved to certify their class. On January 23, 2018, a settlement conference successfully brokered a settlement between plaintiffs, Wexford, and the treating physicians on “some claims.” The settlement agreement was conditional, requiring that the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification be granted as the settlement was with the entire class and not just the named plaintiffs. On February 21, 2018, the court certified the class. However, on March 2, 2018, the class was amended to include “[a]ll current and future prisoners in IDOC custody who have been diagnosed, or will be diagnosed, with chronic HCV.” 2018 WL 4361639.

On March 23, 2018, the plaintiffs, Corizon Health, and the treating physicians filed a stipulation of dismissal which the court granted. On the same day, defendants Wexford of Indiana and one of the treating physicians moved to approve the class action settlement agreement. The settlement agreement also contained a strict confidentiality provision, but generally provided a monetary settlement for release of plaintiffs’ claims, a non-monetary settlement agreement requiring Wexford’s compliance with new policies for the treatment of HCV, and further participation in discovery for the unresolved claims. On April 23, 2018, the court denied approval for the settlement agreement as it did not meet the required standard of being “fair, reasonable, and adequate.” The court determined the agreement was overbroad. As an example, the court cited the agreement’s requirement that class members agree to wide ranging releases on claims unrelated to the current suit.

On April 13, 2018, plaintiffs moved for summary judgment on their Eighth Amendment claim against the IDOC officials and Wexford. In response, the IDOC officials filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on May 14, 2019. While these motions remained pending, Wexford of Indiana and the treating physician filed an amended motion for approval of the settlement agreement on June 11, 2018.

On September 13, 2018, the court ruled on three matters. First, it approved the settlement agreement. Second, it decertified the class on the ADA and Rehabilitation Act claims only. Third, it modified the class definition to include “all current and future prisoners in IDOC custody who have been diagnosed, or will be diagnosed, with chronic HCV, and for whom treatment with DAA medication is not medically contraindicated.” Fourth, it granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment for the Eighth Amendment claims. Finally, it denied the IDOC officials’ cross motion for summary judgment. 2018 WL 4361639.

On March 26, 2019, plaintiffs moved for a permanent injunction against the IDOC both modifying their policies governing medical care of inmates with chronic HCV and that defendants provide their medical contract vendor all that is necessary to implement proper treatment for the plaintiffs and class members. Prior to the IDOC official defendants filing their response to the plaintiffs’ motion for permanent injunction, the parties stipulated to the dismissal of Wexford of Indiana from the suit.

On July 10, 2019, the plaintiffs and IDOC officials notified the Court that they reached a settlement agreement to resolve the matter. On January 2, 2020, the court approved the settlement agreement as "fair, reasonable, and adequate." The settlement agreement contained the following:
  • All class members with chronic HCV will receive treatment.
  • Those with more severe conditions will be treated first.
  • Prisoners with less than four months remaining in their sentence will not receive treatment at the prison. Instead, they will be covered via Medicaid, if eligible.
  • This agreement is contingent on funding from the Indiana General Assembly.
  • Defendants are expected to give plaintiffs regular updates on treatments.
  • The present case can be re-opened to enforce this agreement, if necessary.
The above were set to remain in effect until July 1, 2025.In addition to the above settlement, the court granted plaintiffs' motion to cover attorney fees, overruled objections to the above settlement, and officially entered a final judgment.

The case is ongoing for purposes of implementation of the settlement.

Emma Himes - 09/22/2019
Eric Gripp - 06/29/2021


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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
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Medical/Mental Health
Hepatitis
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
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) CORIZON HEALTH, INC.
Indiana Department of Corrections (DOC)
WEXFORD OF INDIANA, LLC
Plaintiff Description All current and future prisoners in the custody of the Indiana Department of Corrections who have been diagnosed, or will be diagnosed, with chronic HCV
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2020 - 2025
Filed 01/27/2017
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)
Court Docket(s)
S.D. Ind.
12/30/2020
1:17−cv−00289−JMS−MJD
PC-IN-0024-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D. Ind.
01/27/2017
Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
PC-IN-0024-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ind.
04/17/2017
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 39]
PC-IN-0024-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ind.
10/10/2017
Order [ECF# 103] (2017 WL 4517506)
PC-IN-0024-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ind.
02/21/2018
Order [ECF# 148] (2018 WL 999040)
PC-IN-0024-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ind.
03/02/2018
Amended Order [ECF# 154] (2018 WL 1140388)
PC-IN-0024-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ind.
04/23/2018
Order [ECF# 168]
PC-IN-0024-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ind.
09/13/2018
Order [ECF# 186] (2018 WL 4361639)
PC-IN-0024-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ind.
08/09/2019
Stipulation to Enter into Settlement Agreement Pursuant to 18 U.S. Code § 3626(c)(2) Following Notice to the Class and Fairness Hearing [ECF# 251]
PC-IN-0024-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ind.
01/02/2020
Order [ECF# 282]
PC-IN-0024-0010.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Dinsmore, Mark. J. (S.D. Ind.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-IN-0024-9000
Magnus-Stinson, Jane Elizabeth (S.D. Ind.) show/hide docs
PC-IN-0024-0001 | PC-IN-0024-0004 | PC-IN-0024-0005 | PC-IN-0024-0008 | PC-IN-0024-0009 | PC-IN-0024-0010 | PC-IN-0024-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Katz, Robert A. (Indiana) show/hide docs
PC-IN-0024-0002 | PC-IN-0024-0006 | PC-IN-0024-0007 | PC-IN-0024-9000
Sniderman, Mark W. (Indiana) show/hide docs
PC-IN-0024-0002 | PC-IN-0024-0006 | PC-IN-0024-0007 | PC-IN-0024-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bitner, Douglass R (Indiana) show/hide docs
PC-IN-0024-9000
Gore, Lyubov (Indiana) show/hide docs
PC-IN-0024-9000
Jones, Benjamin Myron Lane (Indiana) show/hide docs
PC-IN-0024-9000
Nagy, Jonathan Paul (Indiana) show/hide docs
PC-IN-0024-0006 | PC-IN-0024-9000
Stover, Jordan Michael (Indiana) show/hide docs
PC-IN-0024-9000

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