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Case Name Lippert v. Godinez PC-IL-0032
Docket / Court 1:10-cv-04603 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Post-WalMart decisions on class certification
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Uptown People's Law Center
Case Summary
On July 23, 2010, a prisoner at Stateville Correction Center filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiff sued Wexford Health Services and the Illinois Department of Corrections under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff, representing ... read more >
On July 23, 2010, a prisoner at Stateville Correction Center filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiff sued Wexford Health Services and the Illinois Department of Corrections under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff, representing himself pro se, asked the court for monetary damages and injunctive relief. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs resulting from Type 1 Diabetes, violating Stateville Correction Center's medical policy and depriving the plaintiff of his rights under the Eighth Amendment. Later in an amended complaint, the plaintiffs requested class certification and cited chronic understaffing as a root cause of the systemic problems with medical care, and that when prisoners were seen by clinicians, the care was substandard. The case was assigned to Judge Ruben Castillo. On August 10, 2010, the court appointed private counsel to represent the plaintiff, and on November 10, the plaintiff filed a first amended complaint.

On October 7, 2011, the plaintiffs submitted a second amended complaint with counsel from Uptown People's Law Center joining the case. The plaintiffs sought class certification for a class of all people who were or will be confined in Illinois adult correctional centers that had not received adequate medical treatment due to misconduct of Wexford or its staff. The complaint included two subclasses: first for those who required but were not receiving a medically necessary diet, and second for those who were not receiving prescribed medical treatment in a timely manner. The complaint also added claims for violations of Illinois state law, including the state fraud and deceptive trade practices act and breach of contract.

On January 9, 2012, the defendants filed motions to dismiss all counts against them. They claimed that the plaintiffs presented a "mishmash" of claims against unrelated defendants, that the plaintiffs class claims were overbroad, and that sovereign immunity protected the defendants from suit on the claims under state law. In December 2011, the case had been referred to Judge Morton Denlow for settlement conferences. But in light of the motion to dismiss, the parties indicated they were no longer interested in settlement until the issue of class certification had been decided.

After acquiring multiple extensions for time and compelling discovery from the defendants, on October 31, 2012, plaintiffs filed a third amendment complaint. They requested certification of a new class of all present and future prisoners in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections. Moreover, they cited Wexford's private contract for flat payment to provide medical care for the entire Illinois prison population as the company's economic incentive to take short cuts on medical care. The plaintiffs removed the state law claims, leaving only the class-wide and individual claims of deliberate indifference under § 1983. By this complaint, the Roger Baldwin Foundation of the ACLU had joined as counsel for the plaintiffs.

On December 20, 2012, defendants filed another motion to dismiss all counts for failure to comply with the PLRA. That same day, the parties filed an agreement to assure compliance with HIPAA. On January 10, 2013, the court denied the motion in open court without an order or opinion. Subsequently, the parties began settlement discussions. But in October 2013, the case was reassigned to Judge Sarah Ellis, which vacated all of the previously set dates to confer and hearings on discovery issues.

In November 2013, the parties agreed to appoint an independent medical expert to evaluate the constitutionality of the medical care provided in the Illinois correctional system. On December 18, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the class-wide claims against Wexford without prejudice, leaving remaining claims against individual officers. In June and July 2014, the expert completed site visits.

While waiting for the expert's reports, the defendants moved for summary judgment. In January 2015, the case was again reassigned to Judge Jorge Luis Alonso. In March 2015, the parties were unable to reach a settlement after multiple conferences.

On May 19, 2015, the court-appointed expert's final report was filed with the court, describing that the health care program for prisoners in the State of Illinois was not meeting the minimal constitutional standard. On June 16, 2015, the court denied the defendants' motion for summary judgement. The court found that a reasonable fact-finder could conclude that the defendants acted with deliberate indifference toward the plaintiff's serious medical needs—in particular when the defendants knew that the plaintiff was an insulin-dependent diabetic but still ignored his requests for insulin (in one case, while the plaintiff was lying on the floor of his cell). 2015 WL 3777551. One of the defendants requested reconsideration of the decision, which the court subsequently denied in August.

On December 7, 2015, plaintiffs filed a Fourth Amendment complaint, requested to bifurcate class claims from individual claims, and filed a new motion to certify class. The new alleged class was all prisoners in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) with serious medical or dental needs. On January 19, 2016, the court denied the plaintiffs' request to bifurcate the claims.

On April 18, 2016, a plaintiff in another case about Wexford's medical care services filed to relate to this case (Everett v. Hardy, Docket No. 1:13-cv-04697). But because that case had been ongoing for three years, Judge Alonso denied the motion to relate the cases. The parties continued discovery as they waited on the court's decision as to class certification.

On January 26, 2017, the court held a hearing on the motion to certify the class, and granted the motion on April 28, 2017. The court certified an injunctive relief class of all prisoners in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections with serious medical or dental needs. 2017 WL 1545672. In July, the individual plaintiff again requested to bifurcate his claims from the class claim, which the court this time granted. In August, the defendants and the individual plaintiff reached a private settlement. On March 24, 2017, the plaintiff dismissed the individual damages claims, which dismissed a handful of named defendants with prejudice.

In December 2017, the court appointed another expert to determine whether any of the systemic deficiencies identified in the first expert’s report from 2014 existed within IDOC. Throughout 2018, the parties continued to vigorously litigate discovery issues, including motions for sanctions against the defendants. In the fall of 2018, the parties began submitting pretrial motions and documents, as well as settlement conferences.

On November 14, 2018, the second expert filed a report with the court. The expert found that overall, conditions had not improved since the first expert's report. Staff vacancies continued to be high and Wexford had not hired credentialed physicians, in both the medical and dental departments. And outdated systems like paper filings contributed to substandard care, in addition to poorly sanitized clinical areas. On November 16, 2018, the plaintiffs submitted proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to the court.

On December 6, 2018, the plaintiffs requested a preliminary injunction to create a staffing plan with the expert. But on January 3, the parties filed a joint motion for approval of a class action settlement and consent decree (mooting the motion for preliminary injunction). The settlement included provisions for minimum qualifications for staff and employ new healthcare administrators. The defendants also agreed to provide sanitary clinical spaces and to revise and improve the dental program. The settlement also appointed a monitor to implement and oversee the staffing plan. The defendants also agreed to provide detailed reports to the monitor and to plaintiffs' counsel every six months for the first two years, and then every year thereafter. The court would retain jurisdiction over the agreement for a minimum of three years and a maximum of ten years after its approval.

Hundreds of class members subsequently filed objections to the settlement with the court. On March 29, 2019, the court appointed a third-party monitor. On May 9, the court approval the final consent decree.

On November 24, 2019, the expert drafted the first report per the decree's terms, which was filed with the court in January 2019. Reporting and compliance with the decree is ongoing.

David Smellie - 02/10/2017
Chelsea Rinnig - 01/16/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Content of Injunction
Goals (e.g., for hiring, admissions)
Monitor/Master
Reporting
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Conditions of confinement
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Record-keeping
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Illinois Department of Corrections
Wexford Health Sources, Inc.
Plaintiff Description All prisoners in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections with serious medical or dental needs.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Uptown People's Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2019 - n/a
Filed 07/23/2010
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  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)
1:10-cv-04603 (N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0032-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-IL-0032-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/23/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 10]
PC-IL-0032-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/10/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT
PC-IL-0032-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/07/2011
MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS [ECF# 90]
PC-IL-0032-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/09/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 97]
PC-IL-0032-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/09/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Amended Complaint [ECF# 146]
PC-IL-0032-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/31/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants Wexford Health Sources, Inc. and Athena Rossiter's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint [ECF# 163]
PC-IL-0032-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/20/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Agreed HIPAA Qualified Compliance Order [ECF# 166] (N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0032-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/20/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Report of the Court Appointed Expert
PC-IL-0032-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/19/2015
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 344] (2015 WL 3777551) (N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0032-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/16/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 394]
PC-IL-0032-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/07/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Fourth Amended Complaint (Redacted) [ECF# 403]
PC-IL-0032-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/07/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 534] (2017 WL 1545672) (N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0032-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/28/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Statewide Summary Report Including Review of Statewide Leadership and Overview of Major Services - Report of the 2nd Court Appointed Expert [ECF# 767]
PC-IL-0032-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/14/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Statewide Summary Report Including Review of Statewide Leadership and Overview of Major Services Report of the 2nd Court Appointed Expert [ECF# 767]
PC-IL-0032-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/14/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree [ECF# 1238] (N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0032-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/09/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Lippert V Jeffreys Consent Decree First Report of the Monitor November 24, 2019 [ECF# 1276]
PC-IL-0032-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Alonso, Jorge Luis (N.D. Ill.) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-0008 | PC-IL-0032-0014 | PC-IL-0032-0016 | PC-IL-0032-9000
Castillo, Rubén (N.D. Ill.) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-0001 | PC-IL-0032-0002 | PC-IL-0032-0003 | PC-IL-0032-0004 | PC-IL-0032-0006
Cox, Susan (N.D. Ill.) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-9000
Denlow, Morton (N.D. Ill.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-0001 | PC-IL-0032-0004
Plaintiff's Lawyers Andrichik, William Robert (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-0005 | PC-IL-0032-9000
Argentine, Kristine (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-0001 | PC-IL-0032-0005 | PC-IL-0032-0009 | PC-IL-0032-0010
Bennett, Camille E. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-0009 | PC-IL-0032-0010 | PC-IL-0032-9000
Brown, Ruth Z. (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Green, Ebony Hope (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Grossman, Harvey (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Hirshman, Harold C. (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Johnson, Mark L. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-0011
Marsh, Robyn Elizabeth (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-0009 | PC-IL-0032-9000
Mazur, Elizabeth N (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Miller, Lindsay Stark (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Mills, Alan S. (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Mula, Rick Aidan (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Reineck, Katherine Grace (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Rinella-Argentine, Kristine Marie (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Romo, Peter (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Schult, Nicole (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Seber, John Robert (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Stiehl, Jason P (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Street, Richard Jonathon (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Sullivan, Teresa A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-9000
Van Der Laan, David T. (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Williams, Ryan Christopher (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Wolf, Benjamin S. (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Alikhan, Saira Janine (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-0002 | PC-IL-0032-9000
Arnold, Michael D. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-9000
Baker, Deborah J. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-9000
Beribak, John J (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Charysh, Michael Johnathon (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Doran, James Patrick (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-9000
Eliaser, Matthew Aaron (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Fletcher, Christopher Ryan (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Hallaj, Summer Muazaz (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Hayes, John R (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Inouye, Thor Yukinobu (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-9000
Lovellette, Kevin R. (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Lutzke, Jennifer Marie (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-9000
Newman, Sarah Hughes (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-9000
Ptasznik, Agnes A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-0002 | PC-IL-0032-9000
Staley, Nicholas Scott (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-9000
Stephenson, Michael Charles (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-9000
Tjepkema, Richards A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-9000
Weller, Matthew H. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-9000
Other Lawyers Mazza, Michael P (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-9000
Sassan, Anthony Joseph (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0032-9000

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