On August 14, 2014, a wheelchair using detainee filed this suit
in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Cook County, Illinois under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act, and against two Cook County correctional officers in their individual capacities under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, claimed deprivation by the County of rights secured under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, and alleged excessive force by the correctional officers.
Shortly thereafter, the plaintiff, now joined by three additional wheelchair using detainees, filed an amended complaint
. A fifth named plaintiff was later added
. The plaintiffs, individually and on behalf of a putative class of Cook County inmates, sought preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and damages. The plaintiffs complained that, during their monthly trips from the jail to one of the six local courthouses, the County subjected them to numerous ADA and Rehabilitation Act violations, including inadequate van transport and holding cell accommodations, severely limited and unequal access to lavatory facilities, and non-ADA compliant wheelchair ramps.
On September 17, 2104, the plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary injunction, which the Court (Judge Robert W. Gettleman) consolidated with a trial on the merits on December 18, 2014. Over the next five months, the Court conducted extensive evidentiary hearings, in which the County introduced status reports detailing their efforts and plans to achieve compliance with the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act. Plaintiffs contended that these plans were incomplete, and therefore not sufficient to overcome the need for injunctive relief. The next hearing on this matter is scheduled for June 10, 2015.
On April 30, 2015, the Court granted
the plaintiffs' motion for class certification, defining the class as all Cook County Jail detainees who have been assigned and currently use a wheelchair. On May 27, 2015, the Court denied the defendants' motion to sever the excessive force claim by the original plaintiff against the two correctional officers. As of June 4, 2015, this case is ongoing. Robert Lake - 06/04/2015