Case Conclusion Date: 11.02.2009
Practice Area: Civil rights
Outcome: For Plaintiffs
Description: Prevailed in an administrative rule challenge regarding a practice and proposed Rule of the Florida Department of Corrections (“FDOC”). Contrary to established law, Plaintiffs alleged that the FDOC was requiring that an Estate first be opened for a deceased inmate before that deceased inmate’s parents or next of kin could obtain their decedent’s medical records. This proposed Rule and practice substantially hindered the ability of families and civil rights practitioners to obtain the medical records of these deceased FDOC inmates, in order to assess the quality of medical treatment provided by the FDOC and to determine whether such treatment met constitutional standards and community standards of care. After a full year of contentious litigation and a bench trial in Tallahassee, an Administrative Law Judge declared certain challenged sections of the FDOC’s proposed Rule to be an invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority and thus invalid under Florida law. The FDOC subsequently withdrew and revised the invalidated sections of the proposed Rule, and settled FJI’s claim for attorneys’ fees resulting from the underlying litigation.