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Case Name Boyd v. Godinez PC-IL-0029
Docket / Court 3:12-cv-704 ( S.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Uptown People's Law Center
Case Summary
This is a conditions of confinement suit brought by the putative class of prisoners at the Vienna Correctional Center ("Vienna"), a minimum security Illinois state prison, against the Illinois Department of Corrections. The case was filed by private counsel and the Uptown People's Law Center, on ... read more >
This is a conditions of confinement suit brought by the putative class of prisoners at the Vienna Correctional Center ("Vienna"), a minimum security Illinois state prison, against the Illinois Department of Corrections. The case was filed by private counsel and the Uptown People's Law Center, on June 13, 2012. It alleges disgusting and crowded conditions in violation of the Eighth Amendment-1900 prisoners housed in a facility meant for 925, rampant vermin, contaminated food, heat and ventilation problems, and endemic mold and mildew.

By April 2013, the parties had engaged in settlement discussions. In August of 2013, the plaintiffs filed an unopposed motion for class certification for settlement purposes. However, District Judge J. Phil Gilbert held that, as the named plaintiffs had all been released from Vienna, the proposed class was not adequately represented by the current named plaintiffs. The Court reserved ruling on the motion until plaintiffs either found a suitable class representative, or made a compelling argument to the Court that the current named plaintiffs were adequate class representatives. Boyd v. Godinez, Civil Action No. 3:12-cv-704-JPG-PMF, 2013 WL 5230238 (S.D. Ill. Sept. 16, 2013).

Plaintiffs subsequently amended their complaint to add a named plaintiff who was currently incarcerated at Vienna, but also argued that the "inherently transitory" exception to the mootness doctrine should apply in this case. Judge Gilbert held that the plaintiffs had not adequately explained their inherently transitory argument, especially in light of the fact that they had successfully found a putative class representative and added him to their complaint. Nevertheless, having secured an adequate class representative, the Court granted the plaintiffs' unopposed motion to certify a class for settlement purposes.

In light of the progress made toward settlement, the District Court vacated the pretrial schedule in December 2013. The parties engaged in settlement discussions for several years, but in May 2016 they notified the Court that the discussions had stalled and they desired to proceed with litigation.

On June 7, 2016, the case was reassigned to Chief Judge Michael J. Reagan. Judge Reagan scheduled a jury trial for March 26, 2018.

On August 15, 2016, the Court issued an order directing the plaintiffs to file a brief supporting their need to keep their September 2012 class certification motion pending on the docket. Seventh Circuit and Supreme Court precedent called into doubt the ongoing need for plaintiffs to file early class certification motions to avoid mootness. The plaintiffs submitted a brief arguing that the Court had already implicitly ruled on class certification for settlement purposes, or at the very least that settlement certification removed any mootness concerns. Judge Reagan, however, disagreed. On the first point, he explained that the defendants had agreed not to oppose the second motion for class certification on the condition that certification was only for settlement purposes. However, Judge Reagan agreed that the settlement certification, without subsequent decertification, was enough to protect the plaintiffs from mootness issues; once certified, the class achieved a legal status separate from the interest asserted by the named plaintiffs. Thus, the Court found that there was no longer a need to keep the original motion for class certification on the docket to safeguard plaintiffs from any mootness problem and denied that original motion without prejudice on September 22, 2016.

On December 9, 2016, the plaintiffs filed a voluntary motion to dismiss the action in its entirety. The motion stated that the Illinois Department of Corrections had made significant improvements to the living conditions at Vienna that resolved the unconstitutional conditions. Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly ordered that notice of the dismissal be provided to the settlement class. The notice informed the class that they could file objections or comments, but none were filed. After holding a fairness hearing, Magistrate Judge Daly issued a recommendation of dismissal to the District Court, noting that dismissal was a fair, reasonable, and adequate resolution of the litigation. Thus, on September 7, 2017, the District Court dismissed all claims without prejudice. The case is now closed.

Margo Schlanger - 06/29/2012
Dan Whitman - 10/28/2014
Eva Richardson - 01/13/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Illinois Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description All prisoners at the Vienna Correctional Center
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Uptown People's Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 2012
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
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
Book
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
3:12−cv−00704 (S.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0029-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/07/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint
PC-IL-0029-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/13/2012
Memorandum and Order [Reserving Ruling on Motion for Class Certification] [ECF# 44] (2013 WL 5230238) (S.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0029-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/16/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [Granting Motion to Amend Complaint] [ECF# 50] (2013 WL 5807898) (S.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0029-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/29/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 51]
PC-IL-0029-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/29/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [Granting Class Certification] [ECF# 52] (S.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0029-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/31/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Class Certification Without Prejudice] [ECF# 106] (S.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0029-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/22/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Report and Recommendation [ECF# 126] (2017 WL 3951930) (S.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0029-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [Adopting Report and Recommendations] [ECF# 127] (2017 WL 3923482) (S.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0029-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/07/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Daly, Reona Court not on record [Magistrate]
PC-IL-0029-0007
Frazier, Philip M. (S.D. Ill.) [Magistrate]
PC-IL-0029-9000
Gilbert, John Phil (S.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0029-0002 | PC-IL-0029-0003 | PC-IL-0029-0005 | PC-IL-0029-9000
Reagan, Michael Joseph (S.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0029-0006 | PC-IL-0029-0008
Plaintiff's Lawyers Collins, Robert C. III (Illinois)
PC-IL-0029-0001 | PC-IL-0029-0004 | PC-IL-0029-9000
Gehl, Andrew T. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0029-0001 | PC-IL-0029-9000
Lally, Kathleen P. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0029-0001 | PC-IL-0029-0004 | PC-IL-0029-9000
Medellin, Malorie R (Illinois)
PC-IL-0029-0004 | PC-IL-0029-9000
Mester, Mark S. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0029-0001 | PC-IL-0029-0004 | PC-IL-0029-9000
Mills, Alan S. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0029-0001 | PC-IL-0029-0004 | PC-IL-0029-9000
Schult, Nicole (Illinois)
PC-IL-0029-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Higgerson, Christopher L. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0029-9000

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