Scott v. Clarke: Fluvanna Prison Healthcare Case


On November 26, 2014, the Legal Aid Justice Center announced that it had reached a settlement in our lawsuit filed on July 24, 2012 on behalf of women incarcerated at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women (FCCW).  Wiley Rein and Washington Lawyers’ Committed are co-counsel for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.  The lawsuit asserted that the 1,200 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 the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) policies regarding health care.  The settlement directs that the parties nominate a court-appointed monitor who will oversee the care provided at FCCW.

Because the case was certified as a class action, the settlement needed to be approved by the court. That occurred on February 5, 2016. An agreement approved by Judge Norman K. Moon required an independent Compliance Monitor to supervise the medical care systems at the prison for at least three years.

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 summary judgment.

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 1,200 women at the prison, not just the four named plaintiffs.

On November 25, 2014, the court issued an order granting Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and denying the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. In a powerful decision, the court ruled that that the Virginia Department of Corrections may not delegate its constitutional obligation to provide adequate medical care by simply turning health care over to a subcontractor.

Nov. 20, 2014 – Memorandum Opinion Granting Class Certification

Nov. 25, 2014 – Memorandum Opinion Granting Plaintiffs’ Partial Motion for Summary Judgment and Denying Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment

In September 2017, the women incarcerated at FCCW filed a motion for contempt in the Federal District Court in Charlottesville. The motion asked the court to enforce the class action Settlement Agreement decided upon in February 2016. The women charged that prison continued to fail to provide constitutionally adequate medical care in violation of the agreement.

Specifically, the motion describes a variety of severe harms the women experienced including continued deterioration of treatable illnesses, continued suffering attributable to severe chronic pain, and unnecessary exposure to preventable conditions, and in some instances, preventable death. The women request the Court:

  • Find that VDOC disobeyed the court
  • Order VDOC and medical staff at FCCW to abide by the Settlement Agreement
  • Sanction the Defendants by ordering VDOC to pay monetary fines
  • Order the Defendants to report how they will meet their obligations under the Agreement.

That September 2017 motion as well as the defendants’ response in opposition (October 2017) and the plaintiffs reply memorandum (October 31, 2017) appear below in the Publications section.

The case is scheduled for trial in federal court in Charlottesville in June 2018.


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