Lawsuits claim UAB took inmate organs without permission

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Lawsuits filed on behalf of five families of deceased Alabama prison inmates claim UAB Medical Center took and retained inmates’ organs without the consent of their family members.

The lawsuits outline an agreement between the Alabama Department of Corrections and UAB. Explaining that UAB is an independent contractor for inmate autopsies.

Limestone Correctional Warden, wife facing drug charges

The agreement was filed as an exhibit in the lawsuits. According to the filing, the prison system pays $2,200 for each autopsy, and $100 per toxicology test.

None of the lawsuits say what was done with the organs taken from the bodies of those inmates, but they do cite a 2018 incident in which UAB medical students grew curious about the number of ADOC specimens they were studying. According to the lawsuits, the group reported its concerns to a UAB ethical oversight committee.

One of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Michael Strickland, says the various lawsuits are similar in nature but questions remain including the reasoning behind everything.

“We have certain evidence that’s available to us, that’s why we filed a lawsuit,” Strickland said. “But we do not have access, we’re not privy to the specific financial benefit that is being gained by the entities involved. You know, why are they doing this? People doing things wrong is typically involves money. Somebody’s making more money by doing something or somebody is saving more money by doing something.”

📲Download the WHNT News 19 App to stay updated on the go.
📧Sign up for WHNT News 19 newsletters to have news sent to your inbox.

The lawsuits consist of several causes of action including tort of outrage regarding what the lawsuit describes as a mishandling of the inmate corpses. The suits also include allegations of conspiracy, fraud and unjust enrichment.

Strickland says the hospital retained organs, items of immense value, without permission.

In a statement given to, UAB says it only provides an autopsy after ADOC says it has obtained the authorization necessary from next of kin.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to