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Settlement Reached in Fluvanna Prison Health Care Case

Just before Thanksgiving, a settlement was announced in the landmark lawsuit on behalf of women incarcerated at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women near Charlottesville, Virginia. The Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Wiley Rein LLP, and the Legal Aid Justice Center in Virginia are co-counsel for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The lawsuit explained that the 1200 women incarcerated at FCCW are being provided constitutionally inadequate medical care, leaving their health and lives at serious risk. The settlement provides a framework for significant reforms of the medical care at FCCW. The settlement also outlines a process by which the parties will jointly review and revise Department of Corrections policies regarding health care. The settlement directs that the parties nominate a compliance monitor who will oversee the care provided at FCCW. Because the case was certified as a class action, the settlement will need to be approved by the court at a subsequent hearing.

The settlement came in the wake of two sweeping opinions in favor of the Plaintiffs from the court—an order granting class certification and an order granting Plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment and denying the summary judgment motion of Defendants.

In its powerful summary judgement opinion on November 25, 2014, the court ruled that that Department of Corrections may not delegate its constitutional obligation to provide adequate medical care by simply turning health care over to a private subcontractor.

On November 20, 2014, the court issued a broad opinion granting class certification in the case, which means that any judgment in the case will apply to all 1200 women at the prison, not just the four named plaintiffs.

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