University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Zaborowski v. Sheriff of Cook County JC-IL-0046
Docket / Court 1:08-cv-06946 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On December 4, 2008, plaintiffs, a class of pregnant women who had given birth while incarcerated in the Cook County Jail (in Chicago), filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Cook County in the United States Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. The plaintiffs, ... read more >
On December 4, 2008, plaintiffs, a class of pregnant women who had given birth while incarcerated in the Cook County Jail (in Chicago), filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Cook County in the United States Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for compensatory and punitive damages, claiming that their rights secured by the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments and state law had been violated. Specifically, plaintiffs claimed that defendants' policy of shackling pregnant women to their birthing tables for several days surrounding birth, without breaks to walk or use the bathroom, violated their constitutional rights.

Between December 2007 and December 2008, the Cook County Jail would transport pregnant female prisoners to Stronger Hospital when they went into labor. The Sheriff had allowed the practice of shackling women to their obstetric tables before, during, and after birthing. The purported justification for this practice was the repeated escape attempts of mothers during childbirth. The plaintiffs alleged that this practice not only endangered the health of the mother and child, but also lead to indignity and humiliation for the mothers, because the shackles would not be removed for any purpose, leaving mothers to soil the beds. This practice, plaintiffs claimed, also greatly increased the chances of infection. One plaintiff had been shackled for two days to the hospital bed. Another plaintiff was shackled to the bed, with no permission to use the bathroom or to leave, for five days. Other class representatives alleged similar experiences involving shackling between December 2007 and December 2008.

On December 9, 2009, the Court (Judge Amy J. St. Eve) denied the Plaintiffs' motion for class certification, finding that the plaintiffs' motion to reserve individual damages claims caused them to run afoul of the adequacy requirement for class certification under Federal Rule Civil Procedure 23. The Court also found that the superiority and predominance requirements of FRCP 23 were also lacking. The plaintiffs attempted to bring an interlocutory appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, but leave to appeal was denied on March 23, 2010.

On May 10, 2010, after the plaintiffs' attorneys had filed myriad individual claims against Cook County, the plaintiffs made an amended motion to certify a class. The Court certified the class on June 22, 2010. Thereafter, the Defendants filed an FRCP 12(b)(6) Motion to Dimiss.

On December 29, 2010, the Court denied the defendants' Motion to Dismiss. The defendants had argued that supervisory liability could not attach unless the plaintiffs could prove that the Sheriff was personally involved in the enforcement of the policy. The Court found that the plaintiffs' allegations in the complaint were sufficient to satisfy the 12(b)(6) standard, by alleging that the defendant Sheriff knew of and was involved in the enforcement of the shackling policy sometime after December 2007. Thereafter the parties filed cross motions for summary judgment.

On December 20, 2011, the Court granted the defendant Sheriff's motion for summary judgment on a damages claim against the sheriff in his individual capacity, but denied the defendants and plaintiffs' motions for summary judgment on the Substantive Due Process and state law negligence claim.

On May 17, 2012, the plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary approval of a settlement agreement reached with the county through settlement conferences. The agreement provided that a total settlement fund of 4.1 million dollars would resolve all class liability for the shackling policy, and would be allocated to class members via a point distribution system that took account of the nature and duration of the shackling each class member suffered.

On May 22, 2012, a hearing was held on the motion, and the court approved the class mailing, with a final hearing to be held on August 30, 2012. At that hearing, the settlement was approved by Judge St. Eve.

Blase Kearney - 09/27/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Restraints : physical
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
City/County Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Cook County
Sheriff of Cook County
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs were women in the custody of the Sheriff of Cook County immediately before, during, and after she gave birth.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

Docket(s)
1:08-cv-6946 (N.D. Ill.) 12/13/2012
JC-IL-0046-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 12/04/2008
JC-IL-0046-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint 01/28/2009
JC-IL-0046-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Answer to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint 02/05/2009
JC-IL-0046-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for Class Certification 06/15/2009
JC-IL-0046-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Sheriff Thomas Dart's Response to Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification 08/31/2009
JC-IL-0046-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Reply in Support of Motion for Class Certification 09/14/2009
JC-IL-0046-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
The Court, in its discretion, denies Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [26] pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. 12/09/2009 (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0046-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 03/23/2010
JC-IL-0046-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Support of Amended Motion for Class Certification 05/10/2010
JC-IL-0046-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
The Court grants Plaintiffs' Second Motion for Class Certification [76]. 06/22/2010 (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0046-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint 09/21/2010
JC-IL-0046-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant Thomas Dart, Sheriff of Cook County's, Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint 10/12/2010
JC-IL-0046-0012.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss 12/07/2010
JC-IL-0046-0013.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
The Court denies Defendant Dart's motion to dismiss [140]. 12/29/2010 (2010 WL 5463065) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0046-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 12/20/2011 (2011 WL 6660999) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0046-0015.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement 05/17/2012
JC-IL-0046-0016.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Dismissal 08/30/2012 (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0046-0017.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Papers of Margo Schlanger
Judges St. Eve, Amy J. (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0046-0007 | JC-IL-0046-0010 | JC-IL-0046-0014 | JC-IL-0046-0015 | JC-IL-0046-0017 | JC-IL-0046-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Flaxman, Kenneth N. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0046-0001 | JC-IL-0046-0002 | JC-IL-0046-0004 | JC-IL-0046-0006 | JC-IL-0046-0009 | JC-IL-0046-0011 | JC-IL-0046-0013 | JC-IL-0046-0016 | JC-IL-0046-9000
Morrissey, Thomas Gerard (Illinois)
JC-IL-0046-0001 | JC-IL-0046-0002 | JC-IL-0046-0004 | JC-IL-0046-0006 | JC-IL-0046-0009 | JC-IL-0046-0011 | JC-IL-0046-0013 | JC-IL-0046-0016 | JC-IL-0046-9000
Scanlon, Stacey L. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0046-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Berre, Edgar L. III (Illinois)
JC-IL-0046-9000
Bond, Aaron Richard (Illinois)
JC-IL-0046-9000
Bruce, Julia Suzanne (Illinois)
JC-IL-0046-9000
Castiglione, Paul Anthony (Illinois)
JC-IL-0046-9000
Gallagher, Michael L. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0046-0012 | JC-IL-0046-9000
McClellan, Mary (Illinois)
JC-IL-0046-9000
Pechous, Donald J. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0046-9000
Smith, Patrick Stephen (Illinois)
JC-IL-0046-0003 | JC-IL-0046-0005 | JC-IL-0046-9000
Torrado, Nicole M. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0046-9000
Zecchin, Anthony E. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0046-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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