On May 04, 2011, deaf and hard of hearing prisoners filed a class action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the officials at the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by a group of public and private lawyers, the ...
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On May 04, 2011, deaf and hard of hearing prisoners filed a class action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the officials at the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by a group of public and private lawyers, the plaintiffs alleged that, while in IDOC custody, they were denied the assistance they needed to effectively communicate and participate in IDOC programs and services, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The plaintiffs sought certification of a class consisting of all prisoners who were deaf or hard of hearing, as well as declaratory and injunctive relief.
For nearly the first two years, the parties were involved in settlement talks. However, in April of 2013 the settlement status hearings came to an end and discovery commenced. On October 10, 2014, the parties began settlement talks once more.
The parties were unable to come to a settlement agreement and recommenced discovery as of April 13, 2015. On October 8, 2015, Judge Marvin E. Aspen released an order granting the plaintiffs' class action certification. He also denied in part and granted in part the defendant's motion for summary judgement, but only dismissed the plaintiffs' claim of cruel and unusual punishment as it pertained to "communicative isolation." The rest of the plaintiffs' claims stood as the case proceeded.
Additionally, in June of 2015 the plaintiffs filed a motion to compel supplemental discovery as to the death of a named plaintiff, who they claimed died of a burst appendix because he was unable to communicate with corrections officers. Though the defendants resisted this discovery, they were ordered to produce it by an order from the Magistrate Judge Young B. Kim on December 18, 2015.
On May 5, 2016, Judge Aspen scheduled a hearing on July 21, 2016, to set a date for trial.
This case is ongoing as of June 2016.Xin Chen - 06/22/2011
Jessica Kincaid - 02/27/2015
Kat Brausch - 04/13/2016