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Case Name Smentek v. Sheriff of Cook County JC-IL-0047
Docket / Court 1:09-cv-00529 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On January 27, 2009, current and former inmates at the Cook County Jail filed a lawsuit against the Sheriff of Cook County and Cook County, IL in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs sought certification of two sub-classes: "all ... read more >
On January 27, 2009, current and former inmates at the Cook County Jail filed a lawsuit against the Sheriff of Cook County and Cook County, IL in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs sought certification of two sub-classes: "all inmates housed at Cook County Department of Corrections on or after January 1, 2007, who have made a written request for dental care because of acute pain and who suffered prolonged and unnecessary pain because of lack of treatment " and "all persons presently confined at the Cook County Jail who are experiencing dental pain and who have waited more than seven days after making a written request for treatment of that pain without having been examined by a dentist." For the first class, the plaintiffs sought monetary relief. For the second class, the plaintiffs sought both monetary and injunctive relief.

As of the date of this summary, the legal issues of the case have centered around class certification. On November 18, 2010, the judge certified the second class of plaintiffs while denying the first class certification. Other judges in the same district had denied class certification in similar circumstances, and defendants (and the court) cited principles of comity to support denial of certification in this case.

The plaintiffs moved for reconsideration, citing recent Supreme Court caselaw abrogating the notion of comity as precluding certification of a Rule 23(b)(3) class. On August 17, 2011, the judge granted this motion and certified both sub-classes.

The case then went to the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. The sole issue on appeal was if a district court, on deciding a motion for class certification, should defer, based on the principles of comity, to a sister court's ruling of on a motion for certification of a similar case. On June 19, 2012, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's grant of class certification by holding that another federal district judge's rulings on class certification was not preclusive.

After appeal, the case was reassigned to a magistrate judge for pre-trial proceedings. Numerous discovery-related motions followed. A bench trial regarding injunctive relief was held on June 2-10, 2014.

On December 22, 2014, the Court issued an opinion decertifying the b(2) class. This rendered the plaintiff's request for a permanent injunction moot. The court also modified the definition of the b(3) class, narrowing it to a definition to be determined at a later date. The court noted that positive changes in the provision of dental services at CCJ had made it so that injunctive relief would be so vague as to be pointless or too detailed to be practical. The plaintiffs immediately appealed the decision to deny the injunction to the Court of Appeals and moved to sub-divide the class to address the issues perceived by the court.

The defendants also filed a motion for a new trial due to the discovery of new evidence, which was was denied by the trial court and appealed to the Court of Appeals. The defendants also filed a motion for an interlocutory appeal of the decision not to decertify the b(3) class but it was denied by the 7th Circuit on February 25, 2015.

On July 6, 2016, the 7th Circuit denied the plaintiffs' appeal of the decertification and the denial of the motion for a new trial.

On October 13, 2016, Judge Lefkow denied the plaintiff's motion to sub-divide the class, and strongly suggested that settlement would be appropriate.

As of February 2017, the parties continue to negotiate towards settlement.

Renita Khanduja - 06/22/2012
Micah Telegen - 03/03/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Defendant-type
Corrections
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Sheriff of Cook County
Plaintiff Description Inmates in the Cook County Jail, on or after Jan. 1, 2007, who have requested but did not receive dental care.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:09−cv−00529 (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0047-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/20/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 35] (2009 WL 4643489)
JC-IL-0047-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 01/27/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 68] (2010 WL 4791509) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0047-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/18/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 93] (2011 WL 13136965) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0047-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/17/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion (7th Cir.) (683 F.3d 373)
JC-IL-0047-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/19/2012
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 157] (2013 WL 2588709) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0047-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/11/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 233] (2013 WL 6696961) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0047-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/19/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 390] (2014 WL 7330792) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0047-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/22/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 391] (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0047-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/22/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 473] (2016 WL 5939704) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0047-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/13/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Brown, Geraldine Soat (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0047-0006 | JC-IL-0047-0007 | JC-IL-0047-9000
Lefkow, Joan Humphrey (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0047-0003 | JC-IL-0047-0004 | JC-IL-0047-0008 | JC-IL-0047-0009 | JC-IL-0047-0010 | JC-IL-0047-9000
Posner, Richard Allen Court not on record
JC-IL-0047-0001
Tinder, John Daniel Court not on record
JC-IL-0047-0001
Weisman, M. David Court not on record [Magistrate]
JC-IL-0047-9000
Wood, Diane Pamela Court not on record
JC-IL-0047-0001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Flaxman, Kenneth N. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0047-0002 | JC-IL-0047-9000
Flaxman, Joel A. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0047-9000
Morrissey, Patrick William (Illinois)
JC-IL-0047-9000
Morrissey, Thomas Gerard (Illinois)
JC-IL-0047-0002 | JC-IL-0047-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cargie, Thomas E. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0047-9000
Condron, David Richard (Illinois)
JC-IL-0047-9000
Cummings, Nicholas E. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0047-9000
Gallagher, Michael L. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0047-9000
Hannon, Maureen O'Donoghue (Illinois)
JC-IL-0047-9000
Huff, Andrea Lynn (Illinois)
JC-IL-0047-9000
Navarro, Sandra A. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0047-9000
Shev, Nathan Andrew (Illinois)
JC-IL-0047-9000
Warner, Michael D. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0047-9000
Zecchin, Anthony E. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0047-9000
Other Lawyers Hogan, Albert Lee (Illinois)
JC-IL-0047-9000 | JC-IL-0047-9000
Shew, Nathan Andrew (Illinois)
JC-IL-0047-9000

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