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Case Name Davenport v. DeRobertis PC-IL-0020
Docket / Court 83 C 4392 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Solitary confinement
Case Summary
In 1983, inmates at the Stateville Correctional Center in Illinois who had been confined to segregation for 90 or more consecutive days filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Illinois Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of ... read more >
In 1983, inmates at the Stateville Correctional Center in Illinois who had been confined to segregation for 90 or more consecutive days filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Illinois Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs asked the District Court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as damages, alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated by their placement into long-term segregation, where they claimed that they had been subjected to pain, physical deterioration, and emotional distress caused by a lack of adequate showers and physical exercise.

Following trial on the merits, the jury found that the plaintiffs had been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. The defendants asked the District Court to overturn the jury verdict, and on January 30, 1987, the District Court (Judge William T. Hart) held that the evidence supported the jury's finding of Eighth Amendment violations. The Court also upheld the jury's award of nominal damages, but found that the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity from compensatory or punitive damages as sued in their individual capacities, and that the plaintiffs were entitled to an injunction ordering that they be allowed three showers per week and five hours per week of out-of-cell exercise, except in temporary emergencies and lock downs. Davenport v. DeRoberts, 653 F.Supp. 649 (N.D.Ill. 1987).

The defendants appealed, and on April 13, 1988, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Judge Richard Posner) affirmed the District Court's decision, but modified it by ruling that prisoners had no Eighth Amendment right to three showers per week. Davenport v. DeRoberts, 844 F.2d 1310 (7th Cir. 1988).

The parties sought Supreme Court review, and on October 17, 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari. Lane v. Davenport, 488 U.S. 908 (1988).

Kristen Sagar - 10/08/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Administrative segregation
Bathing and hygiene
Recreation / Exercise
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, unspecified
Mental health care, general
Untreated pain
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Illinois Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Inmates at the Stateville Correctional Center in Illinois who had been confined to segregation for 90 or more consecutive days
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1987 - n/a
Case Closing Year 1988
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion 01/30/1987 (653 F.Supp. 649) (N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0020-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 04/13/1988 (844 F.2d 1310)
PC-IL-0020-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Denial of Certiorari 10/17/1988 (488 U.S. 908)
PC-IL-0020-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Cudahy, Richard Dickson (Seventh Circuit)
PC-IL-0020-0002
Cummings, Walter Joseph (Seventh Circuit)
PC-IL-0020-0002
Hart, William Thomas (N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0020-0001
Posner, Richard Allen (Seventh Circuit)
PC-IL-0020-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers DiNatale, Joseph N. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0020-0001
Harris, Daniel M. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0020-0001 | PC-IL-0020-0002
Raup, Mitchell D. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0020-0001
Wanderling, Edmund P. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0020-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Botner, John (Illinois)
PC-IL-0020-0001 | PC-IL-0020-0002
Spitzzeri, Joseph F. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0020-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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