On December 4, 1973, a class action lawsuit was filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by black inmates segregated from the general population at the Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois, against the Governor of Illinois and prison officials in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs, represented by the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc., the A.C.L.U. of Illinois, and private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief alleging unconstitutional prison conditions including inadequate health care.
On December 4, 1973, the parties agreed to a temporary restraining order, which addressed health care for segregated inmates. On March 5, 1976, the court certified the class, defined as inmates in segregation at the Menard Correctional Center on or after May 1, 1973. On October 18, 1976, the court separated the health claims from the other allegations. On December 23, 1976, the court expanded the class to include all Menard Correctional Center inmates.
On February 19, 1980, the court (Chief Judge James L. Foreman) found the conditions at Menard Correctional Center were not conducive to prisoner health and granted injunctive and declaratory relief. Lightfoot v. Walker, 486 F. Supp. 504 (S.D. Ill. 1980). The court held that deficiencies in medical and mental health care, hygiene, showering facilities, toilets, and sanitation amounted to violations of the Eighth Amendment.
On October 18, 1985, the court (Chief Judge Forman) awarded the plaintiffs' attorneys' fees and costs, after concluding that the plaintiffs had prevailed in the previous action because most of their requests were granted. Lightfoot v. Walker, 619 F. Supp. 1486 (S.D. Ill. 1985). The State appealed, but the court conditioned a stay on payment of a bond. On July 31, 1986, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Judge Richard A. Posner) held that the District Court could require a bond at its discretion. Lightfoot v. Walker, 797 F.2d 505 (7th Cir. 1986). The State apparently chose to pursue its original appeal. In an opinion decided on July 24, 1987, and amended August 3, 1987, the Court of Appeals (Judge Harlington Wood, Jr.) affirmed the award of attorneys' fees. Lightfoot v. Walker, 826 F.2d 516 (7th Cir. 1987). The court held that attorneys' fees should be calculated at current, not historical, rates if they were promptly requested and would not result in a windfall for the plaintiff's attorneys.
We do not have the docket, pleadings, or information on any subsequent proceedings.Elizabeth Chilcoat - 06/01/2006