Case: Fussell v. Wilkinson

1:03-cv-00704 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio

Filed Date: Oct. 14, 2003

Closed Date: 2012

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On October 14, 2003, the Ohio Justice & Policy Center filed a class action lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on behalf of three prisoners who claimed that their health care was unconstitutionally inadequate. In particular, they cited staffing shortages, long delays in the provision of routine and emergency care, problems ordering and obtaining results of diagnostic tests, and inadequate contro…

On October 14, 2003, the Ohio Justice & Policy Center filed a class action lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on behalf of three prisoners who claimed that their health care was unconstitutionally inadequate. In particular, they cited staffing shortages, long delays in the provision of routine and emergency care, problems ordering and obtaining results of diagnostic tests, and inadequate control measures. On January 23, 2004, the court certified the case as a class action, naming Ohio Justice and Policy Center (formerly the Prison Reform Advocacy Center) as class counsel.

On April 2, 2004, the parties jointly approved of a Medical Investigation Team (MIT), composed of leading correctional health care experts, to conduct an audit of Ohio's prison healthcare system. The MIT released its report in February 2005, and the parties accepted the Report's findings in March 2005. Parties subsequently began negotiations and in October 2005 agreed upon a five-year settlement. The settlement, preliminarily approved by the court (Judge Sandra Beckwith) on October 6, 2005, and finally approved on November 22, 2005, after a hearing on November 16, 2005, created major reforms in a variety of areas of Ohio's prison healthcare, including: medical staffing, implementation, training, access to care, reception and screening, health assessments, transfer screening, chronic care, consultations, medication, consent, emergency services, sick call, infectious diseases, infection control, infirmary, medical equipment, medical records, mortality reviews, credentialing, physician leadership, special populations, dental, grievance, emergency response plan, privacy, diet, discharge planning, compliance and a variety of other administrative policies to secure enforcement. The parties also agreed that a five-year period was required in order to achieve the core goals set forth in the stipulation, while also recognizing that the Prison Litigation Reform Act states that prospective injunctive relief is terminable after two years. Fussell v. Wilkinson, 1:03-CV-704, 2005 WL 3132321 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 22, 2005). Later, on February 26, 2007, the parties filed a stipulation regarding provision of dental services with the court.

During the period of the stipulation, the Medical Oversight Committee (MOC) provided the court with regular reports that detailed both the progress being made and continuing problems encountered at the various state institutions. The monitor and counsel also willingly assisted the court from time to time in investigating and responding to individual complaints about medical care.

On August 21, 2008, a plaintiff (Daniel Wilson) filed a motion seeking enforcement of the agreed upon stipulation or, in the alternative, holding the defendants in contempt of court for failing to provide the plaintiff with unimpeded, timely, and professional acceptable and efficient medical care for his serious medical needs and pain management. However, on January 15, 2009, Judge Beckwith found the plaintiff's motion seeking hip surgery as moot since the surgery occurred in November 2008.

On March 12, 2009, dissatisfied with the court's rulings and the class counsel's handling of the case, an interested party (William E. Martin) filed motions to intervene as a party in this case, for appointment of counsel, to grant a hearing on his motion and to order several other inmates to be brought to court to testify, to hold in contempt numerous state officials for violations of the Consent Decree, to order the release of 25,500 inmates from Ohio prisons, and to award him sanctions for every day he was denied proper medical treatment. On June 1, 2009, Judge Beckwith denied all the interested party's motions, who then filed a motion for recusal. On July 21, 2009, Judge Beckwith denied the interested party's motion for recusal.

On June 10, 2009, the interested party then filed a motion for relief from judgment. The case was referred to Magistrate Judge Timothy S. Black, who recommended that the interested party's motion for relief from judgment be denied. On September 21, 2009, Judge Beckwith adopted Magistrate Judge Black's recommendation, denying the interested party's motion for relief from judgment. Fussell v. Wilkinson, 1:03-CV-704, 2009 WL 3010850 (S.D. Ohio Sept. 21, 2009). The interested party appealed, but on August 10, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit denied the petition for a writ of mandamus.

On November 2, 2010, Judge Beckwith approved modification to the original settlement that both parties had agreed to. ODRC was in the process of converting all of the medical staff positions to the civil service, and it agreed to extend the stipulation to complete that process. The parties agreed to extend the stipulation for an additional eighteen months, to June 22, 2012, at which time it would expire by its terms. They also agreed that the stipulation with regard to dental services would expire on June 30, 2011.

On April 11, 2012, Judge Beckwith dismissed a different case, Greene v. Kasich, 1:12-cv-144, (S.D. Ohio Feb. 17, 2012), because the plaintiffs in that case violated the terms of this case's consent decree by not using the remedies and procedures outlined in the consent decree. If the plaintiffs had a legitimate complaint about systemic deficiencies in Ohio's medical care system, they had to use those remedies and procedures prior to instituting any legal action of their own.

On June 6, 2012, the plaintiffs filed a motion for extension of the stipulation for relief and to stay the termination of the stipulatio pending ruling on this motion. The defendants opposed the motion but conceded that a stay of the termination date would be appropriate pending the submission of the final report from the MOC. Thus, on June 13, 2012, Judge Beckwith stayed the termination date (which had been June 22, 2012) to permit the parties and the court to review the anticipated report granted the plaintiffs.

On July 16, 2012, the MOC submitted the final report. The findings stated that there were no current and ongoing violations of the Eighth Amendment and that the stipulation was no longer necessary. The MOC did identify remaining problems in medical care, but nothing that rose to the level of a constitutional violation. The ODRC had also agreed to continue working with the members of the MOC for two more years to improve quality assurance programs and procedures.

On September 24, 2012, the parties filed a stipulation of dismissal, agreeing that the 2005 stipulation should expire as scheduled and that the court would no longer have jurisdiction of that stipulation. The private settlement agreement stated that during the two-year period of ongoing oversight and consultation services provided by members of the MOC, the ODRC agreed to pay additional sums to class counsel to cover some of OJPC's costs attendant to OJPC's ongoing involvement with the consultants' services. As a result, on October 2, 2012, Judge Beckwith terminated the November 2005 stipulation for injunctive relief and all modifications. Fussell v. Wilkinson, 1:03-CV-704, 2012 WL 4506231 (S.D. Ohio Oct. 2, 2012).

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (6/7/2009)

Jessica Kincaid (7/13/2014)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4681140/parties/fussell-v-wilkinson/


Judge(s)

Beckwith, Sandra Shank (Ohio)

Marbley, Algenon L. (Ohio)

Wehrman, J. Gregory (Ohio)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Calhoun, Tom P. III (Mississippi)

Camp, Carol (Ohio)

Gerhardstein, Alphonse A. (Ohio)

Howard, Riskell Lashea (Ohio)

Singleton, David A. (Ohio)

Syler, Keith Eric (Ohio)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Babich, Lawrence H. (Ohio)

Judge(s)

Beckwith, Sandra Shank (Ohio)

Marbley, Algenon L. (Ohio)

Wehrman, J. Gregory (Ohio)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Calhoun, Tom P. III (Mississippi)

Camp, Carol (Ohio)

Gerhardstein, Alphonse A. (Ohio)

Howard, Riskell Lashea (Ohio)

Singleton, David A. (Ohio)

Syler, Keith Eric (Ohio)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Babich, Lawrence H. (Ohio)

DeWine, Michael (Ohio)

Dolan, Ryan G. (Ohio)

Holloway, James Eric (Ohio)

Landes, Mark David (Ohio)

Mancini, Joseph Matthew (Ohio)

Pressman, Marianne (Ohio)

Trout, Gregory (Ohio)

Wehrle, Debra Lee (Ohio)

Other Attorney(s)

Tullis, Timothy T. (Ohio)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Cohen, Fred (Arizona)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:03-cv-00704

Docket [PACER]

Feb. 18, 2014

Feb. 18, 2014

Docket

1:03-cv-00704

Grievance (Appendix to Complaint)

Dec. 10, 2002

Dec. 10, 2002

Other
1

1:03-cv-00704

Class Action Complaint

Oct. 14, 2003

Oct. 14, 2003

Complaint

1:03-cv-00704

Report: ODRC - Medical Services Final Report of Findings

Jan. 26, 2005

Jan. 26, 2005

Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report
70

1:03-cv-00704

Opinion

2005 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 13010

June 30, 2005

June 30, 2005

Order/Opinion

1:03-cv-00704

Court Preliminary Approves Settlement Terms

No Court

Oct. 6, 2005

Oct. 6, 2005

Press Release
75-1

1:03-cv-00704

Order Preliminarily Approving Stipulation for Injunctive Relief, Authorizing Class Notice, and Setting Fairness Hearing

Oct. 7, 2005

Oct. 7, 2005

Order/Opinion
141

1:03-cv-00704

Opinion and Order Approving Settlement and Denying Objections

2005 WL 3132321

Nov. 22, 2005

Nov. 22, 2005

Order/Opinion
181-1

1:03-cv-00704

Agreement on Dental Care

Feb. 26, 2007

Feb. 26, 2007

Settlement Agreement
108

04-01206

Stipulation for Injunctive Relief

May 21, 2008

May 21, 2008

Settlement Agreement

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4681140/fussell-v-wilkinson/

Last updated Aug. 15, 2022, 3:02 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
71

ORDER denying 63 Mattimore's Motion to Intervene. Signed by Judge Sandra S Beckwith on 6/30/05. (mb)

June 30, 2005

June 30, 2005

RECAP
207

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION that class member William E. Martin's 205 pro se MOTION for Relief from Judgment be Denied. Objections to R&R due by 9/14/2009. Signed by Magistrate Judge Timothy S. Black on 8/26/2009. (art, )

Aug. 26, 2009

Aug. 26, 2009

RECAP
209

ORDER adopting Report and Recommendation re 207 . Class member William E. Martin's motion for relief from judgment is denied. Signed by Judge Sandra S Beckwith on 9/21/09. (mb)

Sept. 21, 2009

Sept. 21, 2009

RECAP
238

ORDER terminating the November 2005 stipulation for injunctive relief and all modifications; Denying 236 Motion to Strike. The amicus curiae brief will remain part of the record. The 10/9/12 hearing is VACATED. Signed by Judge Sandra S Beckwith on 10/2/12. (mb) Modified on 10/3/2012 (mb).

Oct. 2, 2012

Oct. 2, 2012

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Ohio

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Post-PLRA enforceable consent decrees

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Oct. 14, 2003

Closing Date: 2012

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Prisoners at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC)

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: Unknown

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, State

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 2005 - 2012

Content of Injunction:

Goals (e.g., for hiring, admissions)

Monitor/Master

Monitoring

Reporting

Issues

General:

Informed consent/involuntary medication

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Medical/Mental Health:

Dental care

Medical care, general

Medication, administration of

Type of Facility:

Government-run