Washington, D.C. – Wilkinson Stekloff was featured in Law360’s pro bono spotlight for its lead role in securing a landmark deal in a federal class action lawsuit over health care for people incarcerated in Missouri. The settlement, which was finalized by the judge on October 29, mandates the state of Missouri and Corizon LLC to spend approximately $50 million over eight years to provide life-saving hepatitis C drugs to people incarcerated in the Missouri Department of Corrections. The deal also includes training for prison medical staff, an updated testing regime, and regular patient monitoring.
Wilkinson Stekloff associate Betsy Henthorne told Law360 that an August 2019 preliminary injunction hearing in the case had been encouraging and was a big step towards the ultimate settlement: “Coming out of the preliminary injunction hearing we felt good about both what we showed the defendants we could do in the courtroom and what they would be up against at trial. We also really made some substantive legal points about what was problematic about their position and poked holes in what their witnesses were saying. So we felt good both about our prospects of getting our preliminary injunction ruling and also for further settlement negotiations.”
It was the urgent need to help the sickest individuals that motivated Wilkinson Stekloff. Betsy explained the team’s view going into settlement talks: “How do we get the sickest people treated ASAP and how do we make sure everybody gets treated? Once we had a deal that reflected that, we felt like we had to take it.” You can read more about the settlement here.
Wilkinson Stekloff represented the plaintiffs alongside co-counsel from the ACLU of Missouri and the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center. The Wilkinson Stekloff team consisted of Betsy, Amelia I.P. Frenkel, Anastasia Pastan, Meghan Cleary, and Tamarra Matthews Johnson.
Wilkinson Stekloff has had a string of successful pro bono wins this year. In addition to this landmark settlement, the firm secured the early release from prison of two different pro bono clients, each of whom had been incarcerated for more than 25 years. Wilkinson Stekloff was also selected as Highly Commended in the Pro Bono Program of the Year Category at the Chambers and Partners annual Diversity and Inclusion Awards: North America 2020.
Founded in February 2016, Wilkinson Stekloff has grown to nearly 40 lawyers and has quickly established itself as the leading trial boutique firm in the country. The firm has tried over a dozen cases to verdict across the country, winning the vast majority, and has won several other pre-trial victories in bet-the-company cases.