University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Ross v. Gossett PC-IL-0033
Docket / Court 3:15-cv-00309 ( S.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Attorney Organization Loevy & Loevy
Uptown People's Law Center
Case Summary
On March 19, 2015, an Illinois prisoner filed this suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law against the State of Illinois. The plaintiff, represented by Loevy & Loevy and the Uptown People's Law Center, sought injunctive ... read more >
On March 19, 2015, an Illinois prisoner filed this suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law against the State of Illinois. The plaintiff, represented by Loevy & Loevy and the Uptown People's Law Center, sought injunctive relief, compensatory damages, and punitive damages, both for himself individually and for a class of other similarly-situated Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) inmates. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that during an April 2014 search of cells at Illinois River Correctional Center, the members of the IDOC tactical team "Orange Crush" beat, abused, and sexually humiliated the plaintiff, destroyed his property, and otherwise inflicted punishment for the sole purpose of causing humiliation and needless pain. Plaintiff further alleged that this conduct at Illinois River was not an aberration. Rather, Orange Crush conducted similarly abusive search procedures at three other IDOC facilities. Plaintiff sought to represent a class consisting of all IDOC inmates subjected to the 2014 shakedowns, as well as all present and future inmates of these four IDOC facilities.

In his complaint, the plaintiff alleged violations of the Eighth Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause, when state officials intentionally, wantonly, and/or maliciously inflicted unnecessary physical and emotional pain and suffering on IDOC inmates. In addition, the plaintiff argued that the defendants' strip search procedures violate several provisions of the Prison Rape Elimination Act National Standards, 28 C.F.R. § 115. Last, plaintiff claimed that the defendants acted with the intent or knowledge that there was a high probability that their conduct would inflict severe emotional distress upon the inmates.

The case was assigned to Judge Staci M. Yandle. It was initially assigned to Magistrate Judge Philip M. Frazier, but was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams on October 16, 2015.

Various defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim on May 29, 2015, and this motion was granted in part and denied in part on January 28, 2016. The court dismissed the portions of the complaint dealing with the Prison Rape Elimination Act, as the Act did not create a private cause of action. The court determined that the remainder of the complaint was sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. The court (Magistrate Judge Williams) approved a confidentiality order on July 10, 2017. The plaintiffs filed a motion to certify the class on October 12, 2018. As of October 23, 2018, the class certification has not been ruled upon. The litigation in this case is ongoing.

Robert Lake - 05/29/2015
Elizabeth Heise - 10/23/2018

compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Assault/abuse by staff
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary procedures
Excessive force
Grievance Procedures
Prison Rape Elimination Act
Restraints : physical
Search policies
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Illinois Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Individual plaintiff and putative class of all individuals housed at Illinois River, Big Muddy River, Lawrence, and Menard who were subjected to the 2014 shakedowns, and all prisoners confined to those facilities presently or who may be so confined in the future.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Loevy & Loevy
Uptown People's Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2015
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
Date: Spring 2008
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis Faculty)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  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
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 ]

3:15-cv-309 (S.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0033-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/29/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order [ECF# 76] (S.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0033-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/28/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-IL-0033-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 03/19/2015
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 197]
PC-IL-0033-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/31/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Williams, Stephen C. Court not on record [Magistrate]
Yandle, Staci Michelle (S.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0033-0002 | PC-IL-0033-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown, Ruth Z. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0033-0003 | PC-IL-0033-9000
Crosley, Adair (Illinois)
Grady, Sarah (Illinois)
PC-IL-0033-0001 | PC-IL-0033-0003 | PC-IL-0033-9000
Heppell, Sam (Illinois)
Kanovitz, Michael I. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0033-0001 | PC-IL-0033-0003 | PC-IL-0033-9000
Loevy, Jonathan I. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0033-0001 | PC-IL-0033-0003 | PC-IL-0033-9000
Mazur, Elizabeth N (Illinois)
Mills, Alan S. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0033-0001 | PC-IL-0033-0003 | PC-IL-0033-9000
Rauscher, Scott (Illinois)
Roche, Katherine A. (Illinois)
Schult, Nicole (Illinois)
PC-IL-0033-0001 | PC-IL-0033-0003 | PC-IL-0033-9000
Tracy, Johanna Louise (Illinois)
Defendant's Lawyers Alfonso, Nicholas Vincent (Illinois)
Cook, Lisa A. (Illinois)
Doran, James Patrick (Illinois)
Fanning, Robert L. (Illinois)
Fletcher, Matthew T. (Illinois)
McNaught, Karen L. (Illinois)
Powell, Michael Martin (Illinois)
Price, Susannah J. (Illinois)
Steimel, Emma Dorothy (Illinois)
Taborga, Alan (Illinois)
Weigand, Jason Joseph (Illinois)

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -