Case: Thomas v. Pate

1:66-cv-00609 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Filed Date: April 5, 1966

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1966, two black inmates of the Illinois State Penitentiary in Joliet, Illinois, filed a lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Illinois Department of Correction, Illinois State Penitentiary, and the penitentiary's warden in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, challenged racial discrimination in vocational and educational offerings, cruel and unusual conditions of disciplinary cells, the lack of due…

In 1966, two black inmates of the Illinois State Penitentiary in Joliet, Illinois, filed a lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Illinois Department of Correction, Illinois State Penitentiary, and the penitentiary's warden in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, challenged racial discrimination in vocational and educational offerings, cruel and unusual conditions of disciplinary cells, the lack of due process in disciplinary proceedings, denial of medical care, and obstructing inmates' access to the courts.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Judge Richard B. Austin) dismissed portions of the plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and found no racial discrimination at the prison. On January 10, 1974, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Judge Thomas Edward Fairchild) reversed and remanded. Thomas v. Pate, 493 F.2d 151 (7th Cir. 1974). The court held that prison authorities had to answer inmates' racial discrimination allegations because the plaintiffs showed that racial separation existed. In addition, the court held that an inmate could establish a claim based on inadequate health care if a known drug allergy was ignored or if treatment was delayed to the detriment of the inmate by solitary confinement. The court also ordered the District Court to hear the plaintiff's due process claims.

On October 15, 1974, the United States Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs' petition for a writ of certiorari. Thomas v. Pate, 419 U.S. 879 (1974). Also on October 14, 1974, the Court granted the State's petition for a writ of certiorari, vacated the judgment, remanded for further consideration in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling in Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974), and permitted the prisoners to proceed in forma pauperis. Cannon v. Thomas, 419 U.S. 813 (1974), reh'g denied, 419 U.S. 1041 (1974).

On remand, the Court of Appeals reversed the District Court's dismissal of the due process claims and remanded. Thomas v. Pate, 516 F.2d 889 (7th Cir. 1975) (per curiam), cert. denied, 423 U.S. 877 (1975). The Seventh Circuit held that the complaint was sufficient to state a due process claim under general constitutional principles. The court noted that, because the due process violations were already alleviated, the plaintiffs' due process claim would likely be dismissed on remand.

The file contains no other information.

Summary Authors

Elizabeth Chilcoat (6/1/2006)

People


Judge(s)

Douglas, William Orville (District of Columbia)

Fairchild, Thomas Edward (Wisconsin)

Kilkenny, John Francis (Oregon)

Stevens, John Paul (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

McNown, Lynne E. (Illinois)

Solovy, Jerold S. (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Holum, Thomas E. (Illinois)

Noel, Melbourne A. Jr. (Illinois)

Scott, William J. (Illinois)

Zagel, James Block (Illinois)

Judge(s)

Douglas, William Orville (District of Columbia)

Fairchild, Thomas Edward (Wisconsin)

Kilkenny, John Francis (Oregon)

Stevens, John Paul (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

McNown, Lynne E. (Illinois)

Solovy, Jerold S. (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Holum, Thomas E. (Illinois)

Noel, Melbourne A. Jr. (Illinois)

Scott, William J. (Illinois)

Zagel, James Block (Illinois)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

71-01410

71-01411

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

493 F.2d 151, 1974 U.S.App.LEXIS 10645

Jan. 10, 1974

Jan. 10, 1974

Order/Opinion

73-06948

Memorandum Decision

Thomas v. Cannon

Supreme Court of the United States

419 U.S. 879, 95 S.Ct. 143, 42 L.Ed.2d 119

Oct. 15, 1974

Oct. 15, 1974

Order/Opinion

73-01972

[Grant, Vacate, Remand]

Cannon v. Thomas

Supreme Court of the United States

419 U.S. 813, 95 S.Ct. 288, 42 L.Ed.2d 39

Oct. 15, 1974

Oct. 15, 1974

Order/Opinion

71-01410

71-01411

On remand from the supreme court, per curiam

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

516 F.2d 889, 1975 U.S.App.LEXIS 15495

March 25, 1975

March 25, 1975

Order/Opinion

74-01625

Memorandum Decision

Pate v. Thomas

Supreme Court of the United States

423 U.S. 877, 96 S.Ct. 149, 46 L.Ed.2d 110

Oct. 6, 1975

Oct. 6, 1975

Order/Opinion

73-01972

Opinion [Denying Petition for Rehearing]

Cannon v. Thomas

Supreme Court of the United States

419 U.S. 1041, 95 S.Ct. 529

Nov. 25, 1997

Nov. 25, 1997

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 4, 2022, 3:17 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Illinois

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 5, 1966

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Black inmates at state penitentiary alleging violations of their civil rights

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Illinois Department of Corrections, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Unknown

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Conditions of confinement

Disciplinary procedures

Disciplinary segregation

Education

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run