Medical Malpractice Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against ICE Doctor in GA

This article features our client Dawn Wooten and was originally published here.

More than 40 women are a part of a medical malpractice class action lawsuit against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Dr. Mahendra Amin, a gynecologist accused of medical abuse, and unwanted gynecological procedures at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC).

In December, 2020, the class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia for 14 women that claimed that Dr. Mahendra Amin had performed unnecessary and non-consensual procedures, such as hysterectomies and birth control shots, dating back to 2018. When the women spoke out against the medical mistreatment and abuse, ICDC officials responded by threatening and placing them in solitary confinement and medical units. The filing states that some women were physically assaulted for retaliating and further abused in various ways.

As of now, over 40 women in total have provided testimonials regarding Amin’s medical abuse and their experiences at ICDC. The testimonies provide detailed stories of inappropriate and painful examinations, non-consensual medical procedures and abuse by Amin and officials. Yanira Oldaker, the lead plaintiff on the case, stated that “her experience receiving medical care from Amin was painful and violating, leaving her bleeding” as reported by Time Magazine. Oldaker was about to be deported when lawyers halted the removal. The over 40 women involved in the lawsuit are current and former detainees, some of which have been deported as a result of participating in the case.

The lawsuit outlines that staff at the Irwin County Detention Center had knowledge of Amin’s medical abuse and mistreatment since 2018; however, staff had continued to send women for medical treatment, despite being aware of the abuse. In September, 2020, Ms. Dawn Wooten, a nurse at ICDC, filed a whistleblower complaint discussing improper provision of informed consent for procedures and unnecessary medical procedures. As a result of the complaint, multiple cases were filed for individual women and an investigation outlined a pattern of nonconsensual procedures at ICDC.

The filing also states that from 2013 to 2015, Amin had been investigated previously by the Department of Justice for conducting unnecessary medical treatments and procedures. The previous lawsuit against Amin was settled without sanctions against Amin and the Georgia Medical Board says that Amin has a good standing, according to the Associated Press.

The extensive filing calls for protection against retaliation, compensation for harms, a halt on deportations of women involved in this medical malpractice class action lawsuit, writs from the court to allow the women to fully participate, or otherwise, the release of the women from ICDC. Additionally, those representing the women have filed a motion for a temporary restraining order. As of January 2021, dozens of women involved in the case have been released from ICDC pending the execution of final removal orders.

The organizations and firms representing the women include the following: Dreyer Sterling LLC, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), Project South, Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, the Community Health Law Partnership Clinic and First Amendment Clinic at the University of Georgia School of Law, Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program at Harvard Law School, the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Texas A&M School of Law, Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program at Boston University School of Law.