On February 27, 2002, four individuals involuntarily detained by the Illinois Department of Human Services pursuant to the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (“SVP Act”) on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois. The plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by private counsel and the ACLU, they sought a declaratory judgment, a permanent injunction, costs and reasonable attorney’s fees, and the right of all class members to bring subsequent individual lawsuits for damages.
The plaintiffs claimed that the state failed to provide adequate and meaningful health treatment to the plaintiffs and those similarly situated; the treatment and care that was given was, they alleged, punitive and constitutionally inadequate. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendants had failed to properly train their staff, provide individualized treatment programs, allow for family participation in rehabilitation efforts, allow for fair grievance procedures, afford reasonable opportunities to residents for activities, and to institute a procedure to guarantee appropriate therapist/patient confidentiality. The defendants also allegedly required, as a precondition to participation in all but the most basic treatment, that plaintiffs admit to many crimes for which they were not convicted. The conditions of confinement, according to the plaintiffs, were also unreasonable restrictive. Examples included routine strip searches, routine shackling with restraints used in “super-max” prisons, intrusive and frequent cell searches, constant surveillance and in general having their freedom of movement restricted in a variety of arbitrary ways.
On March 19, 2002, this case was reassigned from Judge Matthew F. Kennelly to Judge Harry D. Leinenweber. Shortly thereafter on March 27, 2002, the plaintiffs filed a motion to maintain class action. Judge Leinenweber granted the motion on June 28, 2002. 2002 WL 1433729 (N.D. Ill. 2002)
On May 14, 2002, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ class action complaint. Judge Leinenweber denied the motion on July 25, 2002. 2002 WL 1732911 (N.D. Ill. 2002)
Following trial, on January 13, 2005, Judge Leinenweber granted the plaintiffs declaratory relief concerning the Special or Secure Management Status (“SMS”) used at the Joliet Treatment and Detention Facility (the “TDF”), holding it unconstitutional. SMS referred to the status and set of conditions that a patient would be placed under when determined to be a danger to himself or others. However, he denied all of the plaintiffs’ remaining claims. The court stated that while the low rates of treatment participation, progress, and release at the TDF was disappointing, it did not amount to a constitutional violation. In addition, because the SMS policy had been amended several months before trial, the court denied injunctive relief on that issue. The new SMS policy, the court held, cured the defects in the prior policy. 2005 WL 399300 (N.D. Ill. 2005)
On January 28, 2002 the plaintiffs filed a motion to reconsider. However, Judge Leinenweber denied the motion on March 25, 2005.
Finally, on July 26, 2005 Judge Leinenweber declined to award attorney’s fees or other costs to either party, directing both parties bear their own fees and costs.
Outside of an acknowledgment of receipt of sealed document #75 on January 14, 2010, there has been no activity on the docket since October 3, 2005. Therefore, it seems that the case is closed.Matt Ramirez - 06/15/2016