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Case Name Gay v. Baldwin PC-IL-0045
Docket / Court 19-cv-01133 ( C.D. Ill. )
Additional Docket(s) 1:18-cv-07196  [ 18-7196 ]  Northern District of IL (U.S.)
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Prison Conditions
Special Collection Solitary confinement
Attorney Organization Loevy & Loevy
MacArthur Justice Center
Case Summary
This case addresses the Illinois Department of Corrections’ treatment of a prisoner during two decades of solitary confinement.

Initially, the prisoner had been sentenced to serve seven years in prison as a young adult. However, during his first years in prison, he accumulated ... read more >
This case addresses the Illinois Department of Corrections’ treatment of a prisoner during two decades of solitary confinement.

Initially, the prisoner had been sentenced to serve seven years in prison as a young adult. However, during his first years in prison, he accumulated infractions for violent behavior caused by an untreated personality disorder. As a result, his sentence was extended to almost two lifetimes in solitary confinement. Released in August 2018 as the result of a habeas petition (one of more than 3 dozen federal lawsuits he filed challenging his confinement), he filed this lawsuit against the State of Illinois and its Department of Corrections on October 28, 2018, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Represented by Loevy & Loevy, the MacArthur Justice Center, and private counsel, he brought claims under 42 U.S.C. §1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act. Under §1983 he alleged that the Department had violated his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and he claimed that the Department discriminated against him by its failure to provide treatment or reasonable accommodations in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. He sought compensatory, punitive, and nominal damages and attorneys’ fees and costs.

Specifically, the complaint outlined the conditions he faced while in solitary confinement. The plaintiff alleged the Department did not provide him with any way to challenge his placement in solitary confinement. He spent twenty years in a cell the size of half a parking space with no sensory stimulation or human contact. Throughout the twenty years, the prison recorded dozens of instances of the plaintiff engaging in serious self-mutilation and increasingly aggressive behavior; he alleged that he was never given the acute psychiatric care he needed for his declining mental health.

Initially assigned to Judge Sara L. Ellis, the case was transferred on March 27, 2019 to the Central District of Illinois, where it was assigned to Judge Colin Stirling Bruce. He disqualified and recused himself on September 18, 2019, and the case was reassigned to Judge Harold A. Baker.

Two days prior to his recusal, Judge Bruce denied the Department’s motion to dismiss; however, he dismissed the State of Illinois as a defendant, even though no such dismissal had been sought. He stated that because Illinois accepts federal funding, it does not enjoy Eleventh Amendment immunity from suits brought under the Rehabilitation Act. However, because the Director of the Department of Corrections was sued in his official capacity (which is equivalent to a suit against the state itself), the state’s participation in the lawsuit would be unnecessary.

The plaintiff filed an amended complaint on March 7, 2020. As of July 8, 2020, two motions to dismiss are pending.

Sarah Reasoner - 02/28/2019
Gregory Marsh - 07/08/2020

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
disability, unspecified
Mental impairment
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary segregation
Grievance Procedures
Placement in detention facilities
Reasonable Accommodations
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Self-injurious behaviors
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Illinois
Illinois Department of Corrections
Wexford Health Sources, Inc.
Plaintiff Description A man with severe mental illness who was imprisoned in Illinois for two decades starting as a teenager, most of that time in solitary confinement, but was released following a successful habeas petition.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Loevy & Loevy
MacArthur Justice Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 10/28/2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Gay v. State of Illinois
MacArthur Justice Center
Date: Oct. 28, 2018
By: MacArthur Justice Center
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

1:18-cv-7196 (N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0045-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/19/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-IL-0045-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/28/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 44] (C.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0045-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/16/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 82]
PC-IL-0045-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/07/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Baker, Harold Albert (FISC, E.D. Ill., C.D. Ill.) show/hide docs
Bruce, Colin Stirling (C.D. Ill.) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chardon, Alexis Garmey (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0045-0001 | PC-IL-0045-9000
Filler, Maggie E (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0045-0001 | PC-IL-0045-0003 | PC-IL-0045-9000
Grady, Sarah (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0045-0003 | PC-IL-0045-9000
Greenfield, Daniel M (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0045-0001 | PC-IL-0045-9000
Loevy, Arthur R. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0045-0003 | PC-IL-0045-9000
Loevy, Jonathan I. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0045-0003 | PC-IL-0045-9000
Romanucci, Antonio Maurizio (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0045-0001 | PC-IL-0045-0003 | PC-IL-0045-9000
Ward, Nicolette A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0045-0001 | PC-IL-0045-0003 | PC-IL-0045-9000
Weil, Stephen Heschel (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0045-0001 | PC-IL-0045-0003 | PC-IL-0045-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Atwood, Stetson F. (Illinois) show/hide docs
Hayes, Rachael N (Illinois) show/hide docs
Ieremia, Laura Coffey (Illinois) show/hide docs
Inouye, Thor Yukinobu (Illinois) show/hide docs
Klaus, Jessica Nicole (Illinois) show/hide docs
Lombardo, Joseph Jack (Illinois) show/hide docs
Rehani, Phillip Waleed (Illinois) show/hide docs
Rupcich, Joseph N. (Illinois) show/hide docs
Staley, Nicholas Scott (Illinois) show/hide docs
Taborga, Remy (Illinois) show/hide docs
Weller, Matthew H. (Illinois) show/hide docs

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