A federal appellate court will consider whether 13 inmates' lawsuit challenging the quality of health care provided by state prisons in Arizona should be expanded into broader litigation on behalf of thousands of fellow prisoners.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to rule on a motion by lawyers for the state to remove a class-action certification granted by U.S. District Judge Neil Wake.

The Arizona Capitol Times reported that a ruling upholding the certification would likely mean many more years of litigation.

Wake certified the case as a class action in March. He said it could include prisoners who are not provided access to necessary and timely care.

He also included a subclass of prisoners who are confined to their cells 22 hours a day.