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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
On January 27, 2017, three prisoners with Hepatitis C incarcerated at Pendleton Correctional Facility filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana. The plaintiffs sued Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC), its Commissioner of Corrections, Chief ... read more >
On January 27, 2017, three prisoners with Hepatitis C incarcerated at Pendleton Correctional Facility filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana. The plaintiffs sued Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC), its Commissioner of Corrections, Chief Medical Officer, and Director of Health Services (collectively “the IDOC officials”), treating physicians at Pendleton, and Corizon Health (a for-profit foreign medical care provider contracted by IDOC). The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants were responsible for the medical care of prisoners and sued the defendants under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §1983, and the Declaratory Judgement Act. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel and the Indiana University School of Law, sought relief in the form of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment, compensatory damages, punitive damages for their claims under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, and attorney fees, expenses, and costs. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that 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 care, the prisoners alleged there was a substantial risk that their HCV infections would lead to exacerbated liver or kidney malfunction, liver fibrosis, liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, or death by liver malfunction. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants acted with deliberate indifference, arguing that due to their screening of all inmates for HIV and HCV infections, the defendants were aware of the plaintiffs’ medical needs. Furthermore, the plaintiffs alleged that prior to the filing of this lawsuit, they requested and were denied HCV treatment by the defendants. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants discriminated against the plaintiffs on the basis of their disability (HCV) in violation of the ADA and Rehabilitation Act and that the defendants could have reasonably accommodated their HCV disabilities by providing standard of care treatment.

On March 24, 2017, one defendant, Corizon Health, filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ complaint. An additional motion to dismiss was filed by two defendants, the Indiana Department of Corrections and the Commissioner of Corrections, on March 27, 2017. Before the Court ruled on either motion, the plaintiffs dismissed IDOC on April 17, 2017, and amended their complaint to include Wexford of Indiana, LLC, another private healthcare services company contracted by the Indiana Department of Corrections as a defendant. The plaintiffs alleged that Wexford violated the Rehabilitation Act, the ADA, and the plaintiffs’ rights under the Eighth Amendment. On April 24, 2017, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson denied the motions to dismiss as moot in light of the plaintiffs’ amended complaint. Wexford of Indiana then filed a motion to dismiss the claims under the Rehabilitation Act and ADA on June 8, 2017. Judge Magnus-Stinson denied the motion because Wexford of Indiana was a private entity offering public accommodations and the plaintiffs contended that Wexford refused them access to medically appropriate services as required by the ADA. 2017 WL 4517506.

The plaintiffs filed a motion to certify their class action on September 15, 2017. For the next few months, the parties engaged in discovery and settlement talks. On January 23, 2018, at a settlement conference, the plaintiffs reached a settlement with Wexford and the treating physicians on some claims. The settlement agreement reached 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. Shortly after, on February 21, 2018, Judge Magnus-Stinson certified the class and amended it on March 2, 2018 to: “All current and future prisoners in IDOC custody who have been diagnosed, or will be diagnosed, with chronic HCV.” 2018 WL 4361639. At the same time, trial, which had initially been set for November 5, 2018, was rescheduled to February 25, 2019.

On March 23, 2018, the plaintiffs, Corizon, and the treating physicians filed a stipulation of dismissal and Judge Mangus-Stinson accepted the dismissal. On the same day, defendants Wexford of Indiana and one of the treating physicians filed a motion for approval of class action settlement agreement. The settlement agreement contained a strict confidentiality provision, but generally provided a monetary settlement for release of plaintiff’s 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, Judge Mangus-Stinson declined to approve the settlement agreement because it did not meet the standard demanded of class action settlements to be “fair, reasonable, and adequate.”

The plaintiffs then filed a motion for summary judgement on April 13, 2018 on their Eighth Amendment claim against the remaining defendants, 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, Judge Mangus-Stinson ruled on all three orders. He approved the settlement agreement. Regarding the cross-motions for summary judgment, he granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgement as to liability on the Eighth Amendment claim, decertified the certified class on the ADA and Rehabilitation Act claims, and 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.” 2018 WL 4361639. Judge Magnus-Stinson denied the IDOC officials cross motion for summary judgment.

On December 27, 2018, the Court granted the plaintiffs’ motion to convert the trial set for February 25, 2019 to a remedy hearing. This hearing would later be delayed. On March 26, 2019, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a permanent injunction against the IDOC, requesting that the defendants modify their policies and practices governing the treatment and care of inmates with chronic Hepatitis C and that the defendants provide and direct their medical contract vendor to identify and implement treatment with DAA for all the plaintiffs and class members requesting treatment. 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. A remedy hearing was scheduled for April 29, 2019; however, prior to the hearing, the parties filed a joint motion for continuance and for the matter to be referred to a magistrate for a settlement conference. On July 10, 2019, the plaintiffs and IDOC officials notified the Court that they reached a settlement agreement to resolve this matter.

On August 9, 2019, the plaintiffs and the IDOC official defendants moved for the Court to approve the class settlement reached by the parties. The settlement would be classified as a private settlement agreement under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, but because this case was a certified class action the Court still needed to determine that the agreement was a “fair, reasonable, and adequate resolution.” Under the proposed settlement, the plaintiffs would not seek final judgment and would dismiss their claims under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act, the defendants would not seek appeal, IDOC defendants would pay for and implement universal treatment for Hepatitis C with DAA for class members, and IDOC would request appropriations in the 2021 Legislative Session for the treatment of HCV. The agreement would remain in effect until July 1, 2025. The IDOC official defendants would pay the plaintiffs’ counsel $307,359 in attorneys’ fees and $4,974 in costs. Under the proposed agreement, if the defendants did not comply with the settlement, the litigation would be reopened.

As of October 8, 2019, the private settlement agreement between the plaintiffs and the IDOC official defendants had not been approved. A class fairness hearing was scheduled for October 15, 2019. This case is ongoing.

Emma Himes - 09/22/2019


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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) Chief Medical Officer of the DOC
Commissioner of Corrections of the DOC
CORIZON HEALTH, INC.
Director of Health Services of the DOC
Indiana Department of Corrections (DOC)
Treating Physician at Pendleton Correctional Facility
WEXFORD OF INDIANA, LLC
Plaintiff Description All current and future prisoners in IDOC custody who have been diagnosed, or will be diagnosed, with chronic HCV
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
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
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  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)
1:17−cv−00289−JMS−MJD (S.D. Ind.)
PC-IN-0024-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/26/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
PC-IN-0024-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/27/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 39]
PC-IN-0024-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 103] (2017 WL 4517506) (S.D. Ind.)
PC-IN-0024-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/10/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 148] (2018 WL 999040) (S.D. Ind.)
PC-IN-0024-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/21/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Order [ECF# 154] (2018 WL 1140388) (S.D. Ind.)
PC-IN-0024-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/02/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 168] (S.D. Ind.)
PC-IN-0024-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/23/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 186] (2018 WL 4361639) (S.D. Ind.)
PC-IN-0024-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/13/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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
Date: 08/09/2019
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-0024-9000
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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