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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Williams v. Illinois Department of Corrections PC-IL-0004
Docket / Court 97-3475 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On May 7, 1997, an inmate of the Joliet Correctional Center sued the Illinois Department of Corrections in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for alleged violations of 42 USC 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Specifically, the ... read more >
On May 7, 1997, an inmate of the Joliet Correctional Center sued the Illinois Department of Corrections in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for alleged violations of 42 USC 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Specifically, the plaintiff, who had been declared legally blind since incarceration, alleged that the defendants had denied him access to the Center's library, as it contained no books on tape, Braille materials, or large print books. Further, the plaintiff complained that he had been denied safe access throughout the prison (for example, to the dining hall and shower area) and that he had been denied access to educational programs.

The District Court (Judge Paul E. Plunkett) appointed private (pro bono) counsel for the plaintiff. Both parties moved for summary judgment. The Court denied the defendant's motion for summary judgment and granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment in part, ordering the Center to make accommodations for the plaintiff in the library and education program and to assist the plaintiff with navigation around the prison. Williams v. Illinois Department of Corrections, No. 97 C 3475, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18190 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 16, 1999).

In January 2000, the parties agreed to vacate the November 16 order and to enter into a settlement agreement in which the defendants would make accommodations for the plaintiff in the library and the General Educational Development program. Further, the defendants would assist the plaintiff with navigation around the prison. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, the case was dismissed with prejudice on January 25, 2000.

In September 2001, the plaintiff filed a motion for order of default of settlement agreement and for sanctions. After a hearing, Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys recommended that the District Court deny the motion. Williams v. Joliet Corr. Ctr, No. 97 C 3475, 2002 WL 1559681 (N.D. Ill. July 16, 2002). The District Court adopted the recommendation in its entirety in September 2002.

The PACER docket shows no subsequent entries.

Rebekah Henn Sullivan - 08/01/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Illinois Department of Corrections
Illinois State Penitentiary
Plaintiff Description Blind inmate of state prison alleging violations of the ADA due to the refusal to grant him access to prison programs that are available to other prisoners and to accommodate his blindness so as to enable him to participate safely in prison activities
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2000 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2000
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)
97-3475 (N.D. Ill.) 09/19/2002
PC-IL-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion and Order 11/17/1999 (1999 WL 1068669) (N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0004-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Report and recommendation 07/16/2002 (2002 WL 1559681 / 2002 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 12859) (N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0004-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges Keys, Arlander (N.D. Ill.) [Magistrate]
PC-IL-0004-0001
Plunkett, Paul Edward (N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0004-0002 | PC-IL-0004-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hirsch, Norman M. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0004-9000
Schutte, Scott T. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Siegel, Richard John (Illinois)
PC-IL-0004-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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