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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
Special Collection Post-WalMart decisions on class certification
Case Summary
On December 4, 2008, a class of pregnant women who gave birth while incarcerated in the Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Cook County in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs ... read more >
On December 4, 2008, a class of pregnant women who gave birth while incarcerated in the Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Cook County in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs asked the court for compensatory and punitive damages, claiming that their Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights and state law had been violated. Specifically, the 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 the women’s constitutional rights.

Between December 2007 and December 2008, the Cook County Jail transported pregnant female prisoners to Stronger Hospital when they went into labor. The Sheriff 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 led to indignity and humiliation for the mothers because the shackles would not be removed for any purpose, forcing 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, without 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 proposed plaintiffs did not fulfill the adequacy of representation requirement for class action certification. The court also found that class action would not be superior to other available methods for adjudicating the controversy. The plaintiffs attempted to bring an interlocutory appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, but the court denied leave to appeal on March 23, 2010.

On May 10, 2010, after the plaintiffs' attorneys filed a myriad of 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 a Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim. The defendants argued that supervisory liability could not attach unless the plaintiffs could prove that the Sheriff was personally involved in enforcement of the policy.

The court denied the defendants' Motion to Dismiss on December 29, 2010. The court found that the plaintiffs' allegations in the complaint were sufficient in 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 as to damages against him in his individual capacity but denied the defendants and plaintiffs' motions for summary judgment on the Substantive Due Process and state law negligence claims.

Following a series of settlement conferences, the plaintiffs submitted a settlement agreement to the court for approval on May 17, 2012. The agreement provided that a total settlement fund of $4.1 million 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 endured.

On August 30, 2012, Judge St. Eve approved the settlement and the court dismissed the case without prejudice with leave to reinstate by August 30, 2013. Judge St. Eve granted the plaintiff's motion to expedite first payout to class members.

At the conclusion of all settlement payments, almost $900,000 remained in the settlement fund. So, on December 14, 2016, the plaintiffs filed a motion to close out administration, requesting the remaining funds be used for a substance abuse and mental health treatment program for women. Within the Cook County Circuit Court, Haymarket Center and the Maternal Objectives Management (MOMS) program oversaw such programs. The defendant refused to release the remaining funds, and so the Haymarket Center filed a motion to intervene on September 22, 2017, arguing entitlement to the funds as part of the settlement agreement.

On October 19, 2017, Judge St. Eve granted the defendant's motion for relief and denied the Haymarket Center's motion for intervention and enforcement. As Cook County cancelled the contract with Haymarket Center in September 2016, any such funds diverted to the Haymarket Center would not be allocated to members of the class. Instead, Judge St. Eve ruled that the defendant could retain the money in a special fund to provide in-house treatment and counseling services for women in Cook County custody.

The plaintiffs filed a motion on October 31, 2017 requesting reconsideration and a stay of judgment regarding Judge St. Eve's order granting defendant's relief. On April 9, 2018, Judge St. Eve granted the motion for reconsideration and denied the plaintiffs' motion for a stay as moot. The Court held that it had failed to properly incorporate the terms of the settlement agreement in its 2012 dismissal of the case, and therefore lacked jurisdiction to alter the settlement agreement—even though the County had ended its contract with Haymarket. Thus, the defendants were required to comply with the Payout Procedure of the settlement and allocate the remaining settlement funds to Haymarket. The case is now closed.

Blase Kearney - 09/27/2012
Nichollas Dawson - 11/18/2017
Richa Bijlani - 11/24/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Equal Protection
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Conditions of confinement
Restraints : physical
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Reproductive health care (including birth control, abortion, and others)
Plaintiff Type
City/County Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
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.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filing Year 2008
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
1:08-cv-6946 (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0046-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/09/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
JC-IL-0046-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/04/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint [ECF# 13]
JC-IL-0046-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/28/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Answer to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint [ECF# 14]
JC-IL-0046-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/05/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 26]
JC-IL-0046-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/15/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Sheriff Thomas Dart's Response to Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 44]
JC-IL-0046-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/31/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Reply in Support of Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 46]
JC-IL-0046-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/14/2009
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. [ECF# 58] (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0046-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/09/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 65]
JC-IL-0046-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/23/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Support of Amended Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 75]
JC-IL-0046-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/10/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
The Court grants Plaintiffs' Second Motion for Class Certification [76]. [ECF# 97] (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0046-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 131]
JC-IL-0046-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/21/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant Thomas Dart, Sheriff of Cook County's, Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 140]
JC-IL-0046-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/12/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 147]
JC-IL-0046-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/07/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
The Court denies Defendant Dart's motion to dismiss [140]. [ECF# 157] (2010 WL 5463065) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0046-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/29/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 279] (2011 WL 6660999) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0046-0015.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/20/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement [ECF# 298]
JC-IL-0046-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/17/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Dismissal [ECF# 305] (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0046-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/30/2012
Source: Papers of Margo Schlanger
Order [ECF# 327] (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0046-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/19/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 337] (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0046-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/09/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges St. Eve, Amy Joan (N.D. Ill., Seventh Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-0007 | JC-IL-0046-0010 | JC-IL-0046-0014 | JC-IL-0046-0015 | JC-IL-0046-0017 | JC-IL-0046-0018 | JC-IL-0046-0019 | JC-IL-0046-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Flaxman, Kenneth N. (Illinois) show/hide docs
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) show/hide docs
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, Patrick William (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-9000
Scanlon, Stacey L. (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-9000
Wall, John A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Berre, Edgar L. III (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-9000
Bond, Aaron Richard (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-9000
Bruce, Julia Suzanne (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-9000
Castiglione, Paul Anthony (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-9000
Chinnery, Patrick William (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-9000
Gallagher, Michael L. (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-0012 | JC-IL-0046-9000
McClellan, Mary (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-9000
Moran, Patrick R (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-9000
Pechous, Donald J. (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-9000
Rock, John Joseph (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-9000
Smith, Patrick Stephen (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-0003 | JC-IL-0046-0005 | JC-IL-0046-9000
Torrado, Nicole M. (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-9000
Zecchin, Anthony E. (Illinois) show/hide docs
JC-IL-0046-9000

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