Fox Assists ACLU of Colorado Pro Bono in Historic $41 Million Settlement To Treat Colorado Prisoners With Hepatitis CSeptember 13, 2018 – Press Releases
Fox Rothschild LLP is pleased to announce that a team of firm attorneys, led by Christopher P. Beall, collaborated with the ACLU of Colorado in a class action lawsuit victory that secured a landmark $41 million settlement from the Colorado Department of Corrections to treat prisoners with chronic hepatitis C.
“It’s gratifying to achieve such a positive result, not only to help prisoners in Colorado who have been suffering with this disease for so long, but also to serve as a model for states across the country confronting the same challenges as Colorado,” said Beall.
Neal S. Cohen and Dana S. Katz, partners at Fox, assisted Beall. The team, along with the ACLU’s staff attorneys, dedicated more than 1,200 pro bono hours over a three-year span on the case. Under an agreement with the ACLU, attorney fees amounting to $175,000 will go to the ACLU Foundation.
The settlement, approved by the Colorado State Claims Board on September 12, is expected to provide treatment to all 2,200 Colorado prisoners infected with chronic hepatitis C, ending the class action lawsuit brought last year by ACLU of Colorado and the Fox team.
“Colorado’s bold step in agreeing to fund treatment for all prisoners is not only humane and the right thing to do, but also an undeniably good thing from a public health perspective for the state as a whole,” said Beall.
Under the settlement terms, the CDOC will spend $41 million over two years to treat all inmates with chronic hepatitis C infection. The CDOC will no longer require inmates to undergo drug or alcohol treatment as a precondition for treatment, nor deny them treatment based on any disciplinary violation. In addition, the CDOC will provide ACLU of Colorado with quarterly reports through July 2020 concerning the infected prison population and those who have been treated.
Mark Silverstein, ACLU of Colorado Legal Director, echoed Beall’s sentiment, saying the settlement is a milestone in resolving an immense public health crisis. “The settlement brings our prison system in line with the community standard of medical care and the state’s obligations under the Constitution. We know that this settlement will save lives here in Colorado, and we hope that it will be a model for other states as well.”