Court Orders Treatment for Incarcerated People with Hepatitis C, Granting Preliminary Injunction Motion

In a 32 page order, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee granted Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction and ordered the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) to submit a plan to treat incarcerated people with Hepatitis C, with Direct-Acting Antiviral (DAA) medications.    The Court noted “that Defendant must move with ‘alacrity.’ This Court will not tolerate further foot dragging.”   The Court found that the Department had failed to treat prisoners with Hepatitis C, despite the fact that curative medications had been available for years. The Court also found that the lack of treatment was due to financial issues.

The Court also granted Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification, and certified a class of all current and future FDC prisoners who have been, or will be, diagnosed with Hepatitis C.   This allows the case to proceed as a class action, so that FJI attorneys can represent all FDC prisoners with Hepatitis C on a class-wide basis.

In the first court order of its kind in the nation in a statewide prisoner Hepatitis C class action, it was ordered that the FDC must submit a plan by December 1 that cures the deficiencies noted by its own expert at the preliminary injunction hearing, and results in treatment being provided more quickly and to more people.  Once the Court approves a plan for treatment, the Court will enter an injunction.

The Court concluded that “Preventable deaths from HCV are occurring within the prison system Most of the witnesses who testified before this Court, and even Defendant’s own expert, all but admitted that Defendant has been deliberately indifferent to Plaintiffs’ (and the class’s) serious medical needs.”

Florida Justice Institute attorneys originally brought this case in May of 2017.  Click here for more information.

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