On November 28, 2022, United States District Court Judge W. Louis Sands granted a contested motion filed by the First Amendment Clinic, the Community HeLP Clinic, and co-counsel to add two additional named plaintiffs to Oldaker v. Giles, a putative class action currently pending in the Middle District of Georgia. The lawsuit seeks redress for women who were subjected to retaliation after speaking out about medical abuse while in the custody of U.S. Immigrations Customs & Enforcement (ICE). Both of the new plaintiffs are jointly represented by the Community HeLP Clinic, directed by Associate Dean Jason A. Cade, and the First Amendment Clinic, directed by Clinical Assistant Professor Clare Norins, at the University of Georgia School of Law.
Meanwhile, on November 15, 2022, the United States Senate’s bipartisan Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) released a report and conducted a hearing on “Medical Mistreatment of Women in Ice Detention.” The PSI’s 18-month investigation, chaired by Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff, focused on the same medical abuse that underlies the Oldaker class action and incorporated information provided by six plaintiffs and class members, including a woman jointly represented by the two UGA law school clinics.
Key findings stated in the PSI’s report include:
- Female detainees at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Ocilla, Georgia appear to have been subjected to excessive, invasive, and often unnecessary gynecological procedures by Dr. Mahendra Amin.
- Between 2017 and 2020, Dr. Amin accounted for roughly 6.5% of total OB-GYN visits among all ICE detainees, but 94% of all laparoscopies (procedure generally requiring anesthesia) conducted on all ICE detainees, and 82% of all dilation and curettage (“D&C”) procedures conducted by all OB-GYN specialists treating ICE detainees.
- Dr. Amin had a history of medical malpractice suits filed against him.
- ICE was not aware of publicly available information regarding medical malpractice suits and a DOJ and State of Georgia Medicaid fraud complaint against Dr. Amin before he began treating ICE detainees.
- Prior to October 2019, ICE did not employ a thorough vetting process for physicians treating detainees at facilities outside detention centers.
- ICE approved Dr. Amin’s performance of OB-GYN procedures on a case-by-case basis and never identified any of Dr. Amin’s treatments as potentially excessive or unnecessary.