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Judge: Oregon inmates’ COVID-19 lawsuit can proceed

KTVZ file

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge in Portland has ruled that a group of Oregon prison inmates can proceed with their lawsuit against state officials over their response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the class-action lawsuit says the seven inmates named in the case have underlying medical conditions and are at risk for contracting COVID-19.

The case applies to any Department of Corrections inmate who has contracted the disease or is medically vulnerable.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman ruled this week that state leaders named in the lawsuit are not protected from litigation over their response to the pandemic inside Oregon’s correctional institutions.

The ruling is believed to be one of the first in which a judge found a state is not protected from litigation over its pandemic response in prisons and could have to pay financial damages.

The lawsuit names Gov. Kate Brown, Oregon Department of Corrections Director Collette Peters and other prison officials.

Gov. Kate Brown’s office declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

An ongoing outbreak at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution near Madras has reached 129 active inmate cases, while at least 30 staff have tested positive, the Oregon Department of Corrections reported.

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Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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The Associated Press


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