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Corrections Corporation of America Settles Medical Neglect Suit with Louisiana Prisoner

by Christopher Zoukis

 Emmett Ellerbe, a prisoner at Louisiana's Winn Correctional Center who was allegedly denied adequate medical treatment, reached a settlement with the prison, the warden and the medical staff. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

     Winn Correctional Center is a private prison operated at the time by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), a private prison company now known as CoreCivic. While at Winn, Ellerbe maintained that he was suffering from bleeding hemorrhoids, and that numerous requests for treatment were rejected by Medical Director Pat Thomas, prison Doctor Alphonso Pacheco and Warden Tim Wilkerson. Ellerbe was able to obtain a treatment recommendation from an outside specialist, but prison officials refused to follow the prescribed treatment. Instead, Ellerbe asserted that he was prescribed medication that caused his condition to worsen, developing an infection that required surgery.

     On May 6, 2010, Ellerbe filed a pro se civil rights complaint in federal court against Thomas, Pacheco, Wilkerson and CCA, arguing that they acted with deliberate indifference to his medical needs. He claimed that he was denied medical treatment and subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Ellerbe sought an order requiring the prison to provide prompt treatment and surgery, along with damages and costs involved with the suit.

     An agreement was reached between the parties and the case was dismissed in February 2012.

 See: Ellerbe v. Pacheco, et al., United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Case No. 1:10-cv-00754-JTT-JDK (Feb. 1, 2012)

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