Filed Date: Nov. 1, 2001
Closed Date: 2007
Clearinghouse coding complete
On November 1, 2001, plaintiffs, current and former inmates of the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) filed a class action complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, challenging the defendants' procedures and policies for testing and treating the Hepatitic C Virus (HCV) in the Oregon inmate population. The plaintiffs brought a number of federal and state law claims, including a claim that the ODOC's HCV treatment policies violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, as well as a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 12101 (Americans with Disabilities Act) alleging that the HCV policies improperly denied benefits by reason of disability. The plaintiffs also alleged that the ODOC officials used de facto policies to delay and deny treating inmates for HCV. The plaintiffs sought compensatory and injunctive relief, including an order that defendants create a new panel of experts to evaluate HCV treatment policies and make recommendations to ensure policies are in accord with the standard of care in the community as a whole.
On December 19, 2002, the court certified a mandatory class under rule 23(b)(2) consisting of "all inmates who are infected with the HCV virus and who are in the custody and control of the Oregon Department of Corrections." Additionally, the court certified a subclass consisting of "all inmates who were incarcerated under the control and custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections and who were infected with the HCV virus during the time of their incarceration." The court explained that this subclass of formerly incarcerated individuals could seek only declaratory relief in this action.
On April 7, 2004, the parties filed a stipulated motion to stay proceedings pursuant to a settlement and release filed with the court that same day. The settlement provided for immediate dismissal of the individual claims of individually named plaintiffs and individual class members without prejudice as to all defendants. Once the final chart review concluded and appropriate orders were entered, the plaintiff class would dismiss all claims against defendants with prejudice, except that individual class members would not be barred from filing subsequent individual actions in their own name. The settlement also provided for immediate dismissal of all individual defendants without prejudice to individual class members only, but with prejudice to plaintiff class claims and class issues. The defendants also agreed to pay $175,000 to the plaintiffs class attorney within 15 days of settlement, along with some additional fees for work during the pendency of the case.
The settlement provided for the creation of a Medical Review Panel (MRP), that would review the written 2003 HCV treatment guidelines and healthcare delivery system within the ODOC ("Guidelines"). The three doctors on the panel were specified by the parties and would be paid by the defendants for their work. The MRP would also complete a two part review of the treatment of HCV infected prisoners within the ODOC, looking first at the Guidelines and then at 100 randomly selected medical charts. It also provided for the appointment of Judge Donald Ashmanskas as Special Master for oversight of administration of the agreement by the court.
The MRP would first examine the Guidelines and determine whether they reflected a reasonable community standard of care appropriate for the treatment of Hepatitis C. If the MRP determined that modifications, revisions, or amendments to the Guidelines are recommended, the MRP would identify the reasons supporting those recommendations and suggest specific changes to the policy and healthcare delivery system. Upon completion of its review, the MRP would issue a written draft report to the parties within 60 days, or no later than June 7, 2004. From there, the parties would have 30 days to submit brief written comments to the MRP. The MRP would then issue its final report within 30 days of receipt of the parties' written comments to the draft report.
After submitting its final report on the Guidelines review, the MRP would commence an 18 month chart review of up to 100 medical charts of class members. The MRP would review the selected charts to assess compliance of the treatment utilized for the specific patient with the existing Guidelines and the medical standard of care. The MRP would then follow a similar process for reporting, with a draft issued to parties first before a final report to the special master.
Any disputes concerning the enactment of the recommendations made by the MRP would be brought to the special master, who would make a determination on the dispute and issue findings. The only significant dispute was decided on November 14, 2005, when the special master found that it was permissible for the Hep-C treatment guidelines to require certain inmates to participate in Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for at least one month to receive treatment.
On July 14, 2006, the special master accepted and adopted the final MRP Report, which found that the Oregon ODOC 2003 guidelines met the community standard of care with respect to evaluation and treatment, but also found that the guidelines were deficient in some respects. Specifically, the report found that the guidelines did not comply with the community standard of care with respect to implementation and timing of Hepatitis C screening and treatment. The court then granted the parties joint motion to implement new guidelines that incorporated the MRP's recommendations, and to extend the review period to allow for the MRP to conduct the chart review phase of the settlement.
On April 6, 2007, the MRP final report for the chart review phase was submitted to the special master. The report, based on the review of 23 individual's medical charts conducted in January 2007, found that 20 of 23 cases of Hepatitis C care were generally consistent with the guidelines. The report also noted that the MRP revised guidelines had been distributed and that there was more attention being given to timeliness of evaluation and treatment. The report noted some suggested improvements, but did not make any finding that the treatment fell below the community standard of care.
On August 31, 2007, the court issued a stipulated judgment of dismissal, dismissing the case with prejudice pursuant to the terms and conditions of the settlement agreement.
Chris Pollack (3/28/2019)
For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5115269/parties/anstett-v-state-of-oregon/
Ashmanskas, Donald C. (Oregon)
Brown, Anna J. (Oregon)
Burrows, Michelle R. (Oregon)
Kohler, Michele Lynne (Oregon)
Abrams, Marc (Oregon)
Ashmanskas, Donald C. (Oregon)
Brown, Anna J. (Oregon)
See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5115269/anstett-v-state-of-oregon/
Last updated July 5, 2023, 3:11 a.m.
State / Territory: Oregon
Filing Date: Nov. 1, 2001
Closing Date: 2007
Case Ongoing: No
Current and former inmates who were infected with the hepatitis C virus while in the custody and control of the Oregon Department of Corrections.
Public Interest Lawyer: No
Filed Pro Se: No
Class Action Sought: Yes
Class Action Outcome: Granted
Causes of Action:
Prevailing Party: Plaintiff
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief:
Form of Settlement:
Amount Defendant Pays: 175000
Order Duration: 2004 - 2007
Content of Injunction:
Type of Facility: