Health and Safety

Filed - December 15, 2016

Postawko v. Missouri Department of Corrections

Attorney: 

The MacArthur Justice Center and the ACLU of Missouri jointly filed a federal class action lawsuit challenging the Missouri Department of Corrections’ (MDOC) systematic denial of potential life-saving medication to inmates with chronic Hepatitis C (HCV).

The American Association for the Study of Liver Disease and the Infectious Disease Society of America have established a medically accepted standard of care entailing the use of direct-acting antiviral drugs which cure the disease in at least 90 percent of cases. However, the Missouri Department of Corrections continues to focus only on the cost of the care, instead of current medical standards, and provides treatment to fewer than one half of one percent of HCV positive inmates in its care.

At least 10-15% of the incarcerated population is infected with HCV.

However, recent data showed that only 0.11% of inmates are actually getting treatment.

That means there are at least 2,000 potential members of this class.

Case Developments

  • Approved: Landmark Settlement Requiring MDOC to Provide Hep C Treatment and Education to Missouri Inmates — 

    After a settlement was reached in August of this year, the United States District Court Judge Nanette K. Laughrey gave final approval to the landmark settlement, ensuring that people incarcerated in Missouri’s prisons receive vital Hepatitis C treatment and education.

    October 28, 2020
  • MDOC Required to Provide Hep C Treatment to Thousands Behind Bars — 

    Alongside Wilkinson Walsh LLP and ACLU of Missouri, we reached a settlement with the Missouri Department of Corrections and Corizon Health, the department’s medical provider, ensuring that people incarcerated in Missouri’s prisons receive vital Hepatitis C treatment and education.

    August 21, 2020
  • Preliminary Injunction Hearing — 

    The court held a four-day hearing on our motion for preliminary injunction. Health experts weighed in, including Dr. Blair Thedinger of Kansas City Care Clinic who spoke out on Hepatitis C being the #1 killer of chronic infectious diseases in the US and medication having a nearly 100% cure rate.

    August 13, 2019
  • Class Action Certification Upheld — 

    The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s certification of a class-action lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Corrections and its private medical provider, Corizon LLC, for their inhumane, unconstitutional treatment of inmates with chronic Hepatitis C.

     

    December 8, 2018
  • Class Action Certified — 

    A federal judge has certified that a lawsuit challenging the Missouri Department of Corrections’ (MDOC) systematic denial of medication to inmates with chronic Hepatitis C (HCV) can move forward as a class action.

     

    July 28, 2017
  • Motion to Dismiss Rejected — 

    A judge rejected arguments made by the Missouri Department of Corrections seeking to throw out the lawsuit. The court further rejected arguments made by defendants that some of the inmates might not suffer serious adverse effects or die from Hepatitis C.

     

    May 12, 2017