Limestone HIV inmates settle health care lawsuit
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Limestone HIV inmates settle health care lawsuit 

Saturday, May 22, 2004 By KAY CAMPBELL
Times Staff Writer kay
ATHENS - A settlement of the November 2002 lawsuit of several HIV-positive inmates over health care at Limestone Correctional Facility has been filed in the federal District Court in Birmingham, an official in the court clerk's office there confirmed Friday. 

The settlement, reached after several months of negotiations mediated by Magistrate Judge John Ott, is set to be signed Wednesday at the U.S. District Court in Birmingham. 

Lawyers for HIV-positive inmates who filed the class-action lawsuit have said the medical care provided for inmates in the prison has endangered the lives and hastened the deaths of several inmates. 

Since the lawsuit was filed, the company providing medical care to inmates has been changed. But a report, released in March by an infectious disease physician who had been hired by the inmates' lawyers to inspect the prison, recorded recent "preventable, premature deaths." 

Officials from the Department of Corrections and from Prison Health Services, the Tennessee-based company that contracts to provide medical care for the inmates, have said that care in the prison is in compliance with the standards of the National Commission of Correctional Health Care. 

Representatives of the plaintiffs' lawyers, reached late Friday at the Atlanta office of Southern Center for Human Rights, said they did not want to comment on the terms of the settlement until after Wednesday's hearing. 

Attempts to reach the spokesman for the Alabama Department of Corrections were unsuccessful late Friday afternoon.