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$60,000 Settlement in Lawsuit Alleging Corizon Failed to Provide Prisoner Surgeries

Corizon agreed to a $60,000 settlement reached in a lawsuit alleging it failed to provide a Florida prisoner with medically necessary surgeries, pain medications and palliative measures. The complaint also alleged causes of actions against the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) and a doctor that were not part of the settlement.

Prisoner Robert Russell entered FDC with pre-existing back injuries. He underwent a cervical disc infusion on January 12, 2010, while in FDC’s custody. The surgeon said he would likely require further surgeries and recommended physical therapy and an egg crate mattress. Another physician recommended surgery on March 24, 2010, for a torn rotator cuff. That request was denied by FDC.

From late 2011 until his civil complaint was filed on July 17, 2015, Russell was denied a total lack of care. In that time, his back and rotator cuff conditions continued to deteriorate. Several consulting doctors recommended surgery, but those requests were denied.

MRI and CT scans conducted in October 2013 revealed the presence of multiple bone spurs, herniated discs and bulging discs throughout Russell’s spine. A “cervical and lumbar decompression and fusion” surgery was recommended on November 5, 2013, but those surgeries were never conducted. A Corizon employee had his egg crate mattress pass revoked in December 2013.

He continued to see consultants who recommended surgery and noted that Russell’s condition was deteriorating. He was issued a wheelchair in June 2015. four months after being approved for one, and remained wheelchair bound at the time of filing his lawsuit. Russell’s demands for treatment were not done alone, as attorneys from the Florida Justice Institute were following the situation and made demands to both FDC and Corizon to provide him the care recommended by the consulting doctors. To maximize profits by reducing costs, Corizon took no action, the complaint alleged. It also asserted FDC “is content to [ ] allow inmates with serious medical needs, such as Mr. Russell, to go without medical care.

On June 15, 2016, Corizon agreed to pay $60,000 to settle Russell’s claims against it and its employees. The suit remained pending against FDC and Dr. William Nields in FDC’s Utilization Management. Russell was represented by attorneys Randall C. Berg, Jr., and Dante P. Trevisani of FJI. See: Russell v. Jones et al., USDC, M.D. Florida, Case No. 3:15-cv-884.

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Related legal case

Russell v. Jones, et al.