A federal judge said the settlement terms were not fair to prisoners who might have other complaints.
A federal judge will not approve a multi-million dollar settlement on a class action lawsuit brought by Connecticut inmates exposed to hepatitis C.
According to The Connecticut Mirror, the settlement would have required the State Department of Corrections to test and treat inmates for the disease.
However, a specific section of the agreement would have prevented the detainees concerned from suing the state on any other ground.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea said he did not believe it was fair to prevent inmates from bringing up other, prior complaints.
“I don’t think it would be a fair, reasonable and reasonable solution for all inmates of the DOC to release all their claims from the start of the world by April 1, 2020,” Shea said during a court hearing. “I don’t think anyone would agree to this if they understood.
“Definitely,” Shea added, “I wouldn’t approve of it.”
The Connecticut Mirror notes that state lawmakers appeared to have overlooked the section on the Justice Committee that Shea objected to.
Image via Rennett Stowe / Flickr / Wikimedia Commons. (CCA-BY-2.0)
Senator Gary Winfield, a New Haven Democrat, said he and his colleagues “did not see or take up” Shea’s concerns.
“Settlement agreement or not, they’d already started working on this stuff before the judicial committee’s deliberations,” Winfield said of the Department of Corrections promise to begin fighting hepatitis C in August 2019.
Der Spiegel said the lawsuit was filed in 2018 by Robert Barfield, who alleged the Justice Department refused to provide evidence of “life-saving treatment” to inmates diagnosed with hepatitis C. The complaint also alleges that this was the case over a period of six years. During that period, only 152 prisoners were treated for the disease, although thousands were likely infected.
During Monday’s trial, one of Barfield’s attorneys – Kenneth Krayeske – told the bank that he had no intention of waiving his client’s right to file complaints before April 1, 2020.
“And, in fact, I am an advisor on a number of unrelated cases that I do not want to forego through this agreement,” he said. “I don’t want to be the lawyer preventing people in the custody of the Connecticut Correctional Facility who have been harmed by their medical systems from waiving their rights.”
However, prosecutors appeared to believe their hands were tied and said they could not renegotiate the deal without getting legislative approval. This would, in all likelihood, require another vote in Congress, as Connecticut state law requires that a public settlement of more than $ 2.5 million be approved by lawmakers.
Judge Shea, the Connecticut Mirror reports, adjourned the hearing with a sharp warning to Barfield’s attorneys Kenneth Krayeske and DeVaughn Ward.
“Unless you and Attorney Ward are monitoring these individuals very closely and immediately notifying the court of any breach of the settlement agreement,” Shea said. “This agreement is not worth the electrical energy it takes to display it on your computer screen.” ”
Multimillion-dollar settlement in hepatitis C class action lawsuit against Connecticut prisons goes before lawmakers
In order to protect the detainees, the federal judge refuses to settle hepatitis C prison lawsuits