Federal judge grants class-action status to prison lawsuit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A federal judge has granted class-action status to a lawsuit that accuses the state of Tennessee of systematically denying prisoners treatment for hepatitis C.

The lawsuit, which was filed by two inmates in the state prison system who have the virus, seeks to get the state to pay for a far more costly treatment of the disease, but one that is also considered more effective.

The American Civil Liberties Union said Friday that the class-action certification paves the way for potentially more people to be treated.

The state of Tennessee has denied the allegations of the two inmates.

Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that can be serious. It is spread through contact with the blood of an infected person.