A lawsuit alleging that New York state officials, including former Governor George Pataki, designed and implemented a cost-saving policy in the N.Y. prison system to not inform inmates they had tested positive for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) to avoid having to treat them, can proceed, The Associated Press reports.

Earlier this month, a judge in Brooklyn ruled that the $250 million suit by a former prisoner, identified only as “K. Doe,” may go ahead, as Doe had presented sufficient evidence to back up his case. The former inmate claims he contracted both hep C and the hepatitis B virus (HBV) while serving a 30-year prison sentence in correctional facilities across the state from June 1976 to June 2007.

Doe claims he was never told that his medical exams showed he had hepatitis during his incarceration, even though corrections officials and the state had known about his status for nearly a dozen years. He says only learned about his diagnosis in April 2008, when his private doctor found he had advanced liver disease.

The suit also alleges that Pataki and other state officials in the early-to-mid-’90s discussed the alarming rates of hepatitis infections in the prison system and decided that they would not treat patients unless they were aware of their status and asked for treatment.

Lawyers for the plaintiff are claiming the policy submitted thousands of prisoners to cruel and unusual punishment.