In years to come, for thousands of imprisoned men and women across America, several cases will mark when they received the right to be cured of Hepatitis C: 1) Abu-Jamal v. Wetzel (Civ. A. No. 16-2000, 2017 WL 34700 [M.D. Pa. Jan 3, 2017]); 2) Postawko v. Missouri DOC (No. 2:16-cv-04219-NKL, 2017 WL 1968317 [W.D. Mo. May 11, 2017]); Chimenti v. Pa. DOC (Civ. A. No. 15-3333, 2017 WL 3394605 [E.D. Pa. Aug. 8, 2017]).
The second and third of these cases are especially important because both are class action, or civil suits brought against the state, representing thousands of imprisoned sufferers of hepatitis C.
The Chimenti class, named after Salvatore Chimenti, a prisoner from SCI-Smithfield who has had Hep C since 1991, recently survived a Motion to Dismiss, where a federal judge (John R. Padova) ruled that the DOC’s Hepatitis C Protocol, as practiced by the prison medical staff both delayed and denied treatment to Hep C sufferers, and raised 8th Amendment claims that DOC officials were “deliberately indifferent” to serious medical needs of the prisoner plaintiffs. The judge further found that the DOC made their delays and denials based on cost factors, rather than medical ones.
Abu-Jamal, Postawko and Chimenti: it looks like the third time’s the charm!