Case: Suter v. Artist M.

1:88-cv-10503 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Filed Date: Dec. 14, 1988

Closed Date: 1992

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. §§ 620-629, 670-679 (hereinafter the Adoption Act) provided that participating States would be reimbursed by the Federal Government for certain expenses incurred in administering foster care and adoption services in accordance with plans submitted by the States to and approved by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Once established, these plans were required to be in effect in all of a State's political subdivisions. Compl…

The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. §§ 620-629, 670-679 (hereinafter the Adoption Act) provided that participating States would be reimbursed by the Federal Government for certain expenses incurred in administering foster care and adoption services in accordance with plans submitted by the States to and approved by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Once established, these plans were required to be in effect in all of a State's political subdivisions. Compliance with the plans was mandatory.

In December 1988, Plaintiffs filed a class-action suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the Director and the Administrator of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, in their official capacities (DCFS.) The named Plaintiffs were several children, and their parents or guardians, who allegedly had been affected by Illinois' non-compliance with its obligations under the Adoption Act.

The Plaintiffs alleged that DFCS had failed to make reasonable efforts to prevent the unnecessary removal of children from their homes and to facilitate the reunification of families where such removal had occurred, in contravention of § 671(a)(15) of the Adoption Act. The Plaintiffs alleged that DCFS had failed promptly to assign caseworkers to children removed from their families and placed in DCFS custody. They alleged that DCFS regularly failed to assign caseworkers until four to six weeks after the Juvenile Court proceeding had commenced. As a result, many children were without a caseworker at critical times. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, seeking to require DFCS to come into full compliance with its mandatory obligations under the Adoption Act. The Plaintiffs filed the suit with two theories as to the cause of action, suggesting that the Adoption Act itself contained an implied private cause of action, and that alternatively the Act could be enforced under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which allows private actions to be brought against States for violations of federal statutory and constitutional law committed under the color of state law.

On August 15, 1989, the Court (Judge Milton I. Shadur) granted the Plaintiffs' motion to certify two plaintiff classes, which included all children who at the time were, or who would become, wards of DCFS, and who were or would be either placed in foster care or remain in their homes under a judicial protective order. In a November 21, 1989 Memorandum Opinion and Order, the Court denied DFCS' motion to dismiss the case, holding that the Adoption Act did contain an implied cause of action and that the suit could also be brought under § 1983. Artist M. v. Johnson, 726 F.Supp. 690 (N.D. Ill.1989).

In March 1990, the Court issued a preliminary injunction requiring DFCS to assign caseworkers to each child in DCFS custody within three working days of the time of that child's first hearing in Juvenile Court. The Court found that adhering to this three-day deadline was realistically achievable in part because DFCS itself had asserted to the Court that assigning caseworkers within that period of time "would not be overly burdensome."

DFCS appealed this decision to the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which substantially affirmed the lower court's decision. The Court of Appeals held that the "reasonable efforts" clause of the Adoption Act was enforceable under § 1983. Artist M. v. Johnson, 917 F.2d 980 (7th Cir. 1990).

The Supreme Court granted certiorari review, and on March 25, 1992, in an opinion by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, reversed, holding the Adoption Act did not directly create a private cause of action and that it did not create a right enforceable under 42 U.S.C § 1983. Suter v. Artist M., 503 U.S. 347 (U.S. 1992) The suit was therefore dismissed and the preliminary injunction was lifted.

In 1994, Congress passed legislation, commonly called the "Suter cure provision," that amended the Adoption Act to explicitly authorize a cause of action that enabled private plaintiffs to bring suit in order to obtain relief from the failure of states to comply with their mandatory obligations under the Act.

Summary Authors

Alex Colbert-Taylor (7/3/2013)

People


Judge(s)

Cummings, Walter Joseph (Illinois)

Manion, Daniel Anthony (Indiana)

Rehnquist, William Hubbs (District of Columbia)

Shadur, Milton Irving (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Biehl, Julie (Illinois)

DeGrange, Jeannette (Illinois)

Dsida, Michael Gregory (Massachusetts)

Murphy, Patrick Thomas (Illinois)

Pierce, Susan Tone (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Baer, Kimberley K. (Illinois)

Judge(s)

Cummings, Walter Joseph (Illinois)

Manion, Daniel Anthony (Indiana)

Rehnquist, William Hubbs (District of Columbia)

Shadur, Milton Irving (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Biehl, Julie (Illinois)

DeGrange, Jeannette (Illinois)

Dsida, Michael Gregory (Massachusetts)

Murphy, Patrick Thomas (Illinois)

Pierce, Susan Tone (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Baer, Kimberley K. (Illinois)

Getzendanner, Susan Christine O'Meara (Illinois)

Giroux, Paula J. (Illinois)

Smith, Charles F. Jr. (Illinois)

Tchen, Christina M. (Illinois)

Wells, Christina Elizabeth (Illinois)

Other Attorney(s)

Brody, Michael L. (Illinois)

Evans, Gregory L. (District of Columbia)

Heybach, Laurene Marie (Illinois)

Matlack, Joan (Illinois)

Redleaf, Diane L. (Illinois)

Wishnick, Susan (Illinois)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Casey, Timothy Joseph (New York)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:88-cv-10503

Docket [PACER]

Artist M. v. Johnson

July 30, 1992

July 30, 1992

Docket

1:88-cv-10503

Memorandum Opinion and Order

Artist M. v. Johnson

747 F.Supp. 446

July 25, 1989

July 25, 1989

Order/Opinion

1:88-cv-10503

Memorandum Opinion and Order

Artist M. v. Johnson

726 F.Supp. 690

Nov. 21, 1989

Nov. 21, 1989

Order/Opinion

90-01742

90-01764

Appellate Opinion

Artist M. v. Johnson

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

917 F.2d 980

Oct. 29, 1990

Oct. 29, 1990

Order/Opinion

90-01488

Supreme Court Opinion

Supreme Court of the United States

503 U.S. 347, 112 S.Ct. 1360, 118 L.Ed.2d 1

March 25, 1992

March 25, 1992

Order/Opinion

Enforcement of Social Security Act State Plan Requirements after Suter v. Artist M.

No Court

Aug. 1, 1992

Aug. 1, 1992

Press Release

Youth Law Developments

No Court

Jan. 1, 1993

Jan. 1, 1993

Press Release

Memo Re: Suter v. Artist M. Docket

No Court

Sept. 29, 1994

Sept. 29, 1994

Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report

1:88-cv-10503

Improving America's Schools Act

Nov. 4, 1994

Nov. 4, 1994

Legislative Report

Memo Re: Suter v. Artist M. Legislative History

No Court

Feb. 8, 1995

Feb. 8, 1995

Correspondence

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 12, 2022, 3:09 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
143

ORDER (fce) (Entered: 06/20/1991)

July 25, 1990

July 25, 1990

144

MINUTE ORDER of 7/25/90 before Honorable Milton I. Shadur : Findings of fact entered as to the current delays in caseworker assignment and reassignment. (For further detail see order attached to the original minute order form). Notice not mailed. (fce) (Entered: 06/20/1991)

July 25, 1990

July 25, 1990

141

MINUTE ORDER of 4/23/91 before Honorable Milton I. Shadur : Status hearing set for 05/22/91 at 9:00 A.M. Notice mailed 04/24/91. (fce) (Entered: 04/24/1991)

April 23, 1991

April 23, 1991

142

MINUTE ORDER of 5/22/91 before Honorable Milton I. Shadur : Status hearing held; continued to 08/05/91 at 9:00 a.m. Notice not mailed (fce) (Entered: 05/23/1991)

May 22, 1991

May 22, 1991

145

MINUTE ORDER of 8/5/91 before Honorable Milton I. Shadur : Status hearing held; continued to 01/30/91 at 9:00 a.m. Notice not required, advised in open court. (emd) (Entered: 08/06/1991)

Aug. 5, 1991

Aug. 5, 1991

146

ORDER from the Supreme Court of the United States to transmit immediately the entire record. (pmp) (Entered: 08/19/1991)

Aug. 16, 1991

Aug. 16, 1991

TRANSMITTED 08/19/91 complete record on appeal to USCA for the Supreme Circuit consisting of transmittal letter, certificate, certified copy docket entries with Three Volumes of Pleadings, One Volume of Transcripts of Proceedings (Item #136) and Two Brown Accordian Folders with Exhibits (Items #121−1 and #121−2) also One Volume of Loose Pleadings (Item #85) with certified copy of U.S.C.A. order. (U.S.S.C. 90−1488; U.S.C.A. Nos. 90−1742 and 90−1764) (pmp) (Entered: 08/19/1991)

Aug. 19, 1991

Aug. 19, 1991

MAILED: Copy of certificates and transmittal letter to all counsel of record. (pmp) (Entered: 08/19/1991)

Aug. 19, 1991

Aug. 19, 1991

147

MINUTE ORDER of 1/30/92 by Hon. Milton I. Shadur : Status hearing held; continued to 03/12/92 at 9:00 a.m. No notice (hp) (Entered: 01/31/1992)

Jan. 30, 1992

Jan. 30, 1992

148

MINUTE ORDER of 3/12/92 by Hon. Milton I. Shadur : Status hearing re−set for 04/13/92 at 9:00 a.m. Telephoned notice (hp) (Entered: 03/16/1992)

March 12, 1992

March 12, 1992

149

MINUTE ORDER of 3/30/92 by Hon. Milton I. Shadur : The preliminary injunction is dissolved. Simultaneous memoranda (citations of authority) are due by 04/09/92. Mailed notice (hp) (Entered: 03/31/1992)

March 30, 1992

March 30, 1992

150

LETTER from plaintiffs attorney Michael Dsida to Judge Shadur dated 04/02/92 (Attachment). (hp) (Entered: 04/14/1992)

April 13, 1992

April 13, 1992

151

MINUTE ORDER of 4/13/92 by Hon. Milton I. Shadur : Status hearing held. This case is dismissed with prejudice and without costs by agreement. terminating case Mailed notice (hp) (Entered: 04/14/1992)

April 13, 1992

April 13, 1992

152

CERTIFIED copy of Order from the USCA for the 7th Circuit Court (fce) (Entered: 07/09/1992)

July 8, 1992

July 8, 1992

153

LETTER from the USCA for the Supreme Circuit Court returning the complete record on appeal, consisting of: four volumes of pleadings, one transcript and five folders of exhibits. (hp) (Entered: 07/17/1992)

July 16, 1992

July 16, 1992

154

LETTER from the USCA for the 7th Circuit Court no record on appeal filed. (Temporarily unavailable for docketing). (hp) (Entered: 08/07/1992)

July 30, 1992

July 30, 1992

155

CERTIFIED COPY of order from the USCA for the 7th Circuit entered 07/08/92: It is ordered and adjudged by this court that the orders of the district court denying the DCFS motion to dismiss and granting plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction pending trial are reversed, in accordance with the decision of this court entered this date. (Temporarily unavailable for docketing). (hp) (Entered: 08/07/1992)

July 30, 1992

July 30, 1992

156

CERTIFIED copy of Order from the USCA for the 7th Circuit Court entered on 07/08/92: Pursuant to the Supreme Cour's opinion in Suter, et al. v. Artist M., et al., U.S., 112 S. Ct. 1360, reversing our judgment in the above case reported in 917 F.2d 980 (1990), the district court's orders denying the DCFS motion to dismiss and granting plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction pending trial are reversed.

July 30, 1992

July 30, 1992

Case Details

State / Territory: Illinois

Case Type(s):

Child Welfare

Key Dates

Filing Date: Dec. 14, 1988

Closing Date: 1992

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The class of children, and their parents or guardians, who had been affected by Illinois’ non-compliance with its obligations under the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Illinois, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (AACWA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 620 et seq.

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Procedural Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Non-settlement Outcome

U.S. Supreme Court merits opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Source of Relief:

None

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Adoption

Foster care (benefits, training)

Juveniles

Parents (visitation, involvement)

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Timeliness of case assignment