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Case Name Lightfoot v. Walker PC-IL-0014
Docket / Court 73-238 ( S.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On December 4, 1973, a class action lawsuit was filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by black inmates segregated from the general population at the Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois, against the Governor of Illinois and prison officials in the United States District Court for the ... read more >
On December 4, 1973, a class action lawsuit was filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by black inmates segregated from the general population at the Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois, against the Governor of Illinois and prison officials in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs, represented by the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc., the A.C.L.U. of Illinois, and private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief alleging unconstitutional prison conditions including inadequate health care.

On December 4, 1973, the parties agreed to a temporary restraining order, which addressed health care for segregated inmates. On March 5, 1976, the court certified the class, defined as inmates in segregation at the Menard Correctional Center on or after May 1, 1973. On October 18, 1976, the court separated the health claims from the other allegations. On December 23, 1976, the court expanded the class to include all Menard Correctional Center inmates.

On February 19, 1980, the court (Chief Judge James L. Foreman) found the conditions at Menard Correctional Center were not conducive to prisoner health and granted injunctive and declaratory relief. Lightfoot v. Walker, 486 F. Supp. 504 (S.D. Ill. 1980). The court held that deficiencies in medical and mental health care, hygiene, showering facilities, toilets, and sanitation amounted to violations of the Eighth Amendment.

On October 18, 1985, the court (Chief Judge Forman) awarded the plaintiffs' attorneys' fees and costs, after concluding that the plaintiffs had prevailed in the previous action because most of their requests were granted. Lightfoot v. Walker, 619 F. Supp. 1486 (S.D. Ill. 1985). The State appealed, but the court conditioned a stay on payment of a bond. On July 31, 1986, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Judge Richard A. Posner) held that the District Court could require a bond at its discretion. Lightfoot v. Walker, 797 F.2d 505 (7th Cir. 1986). The State apparently chose to pursue its original appeal. In an opinion decided on July 24, 1987, and amended August 3, 1987, the Court of Appeals (Judge Harlington Wood, Jr.) affirmed the award of attorneys' fees. Lightfoot v. Walker, 826 F.2d 516 (7th Cir. 1987). The court held that attorneys' fees should be calculated at current, not historical, rates if they were promptly requested and would not result in a windfall for the plaintiff's attorneys.

We do not have the docket, pleadings, or information on any subsequent proceedings.

Elizabeth Chilcoat - 06/01/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Menard Correctional Center
State of Illinois & the Menard Correctional Center
Plaintiff Description Initially: Inmates in segregation at the Menard Correctional Center on or after May 1, 1973. Expanded on December 23, 1976 to: All inmates of Menard Correctional Center on or after May 1, 1973.
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 Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1980 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
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 ]

  Rule 706 Experts: A Greater Engine For Discovering the Truth in Prison Reform Cases
By: Herbert A. Eastman (Saint Louis University School of Law)
Citation: 14 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 51 (1994)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Order 03/18/1980 (486 F.Supp. 504) (S.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0014-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order 10/18/1985 (619 F.Supp. 1481) (S.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0014-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 07/31/1986 (797 F.2d 505)
PC-IL-0014-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 08/03/1987 (826 F.2d 516)
PC-IL-0014-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Cudahy, Richard Dickson (Seventh Circuit)
PC-IL-0014-0004
Flaum, Joel Martin (Seventh Circuit, N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0014-0003
Foreman, James L. (E.D. Ill., S.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0014-0001 | PC-IL-0014-0002
Grant, Robert Allen (N.D. Ind.)
PC-IL-0014-0003
Posner, Richard Allen (Seventh Circuit)
PC-IL-0014-0004
Wood, Diane Pamela (Seventh Circuit)
PC-IL-0014-0004
Wood, Harlington Jr. (S.D. Ill., Seventh Circuit)
PC-IL-0014-0003
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chase, Richard D. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0014-0004
Eastman, Herbert A. (Missouri)
PC-IL-0014-0002
Flynn, Pat (South Carolina)
PC-IL-0014-0001 | PC-IL-0014-0002
Grossman, Harvey (Illinois)
PC-IL-0014-0001 | PC-IL-0014-0002 | PC-IL-0014-0003 | PC-IL-0014-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Bornor, Patricia (Illinois)
PC-IL-0014-0002
Chapin, M. Patricia (Illinois)
PC-IL-0014-0002 | PC-IL-0014-0004
Crooks, Thomas (Illinois)
PC-IL-0014-0001
Prendergast, Richard J. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0014-0003
Prendergast, James (Illinois)
PC-IL-0014-0003
Prusik, John (Illinois)
PC-IL-0014-0001
Pusateri, Lawrence X. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0014-0004
Yipp, Victor (Illinois)
PC-IL-0014-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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