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Case Name Ross v. Gossett PC-IL-0033
Docket / Court 3:15-cv-00309 ( S.D. Ill. )
Additional Docket(s) 15-515  [ 15-515 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
15-611  [ 15-611 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
15-690  [ 15-690 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
15-692  [ 15-692 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
15-706  [ 15-706 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
15-1060  [ 15-1060 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
15-1263  [ 15-1263 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
15-308  [ 15-308 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
16-cv-00130  [ 16-130 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
16-cv-00248  [ 16-248 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
16-cv-00115  [ 16-115 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
16-cv-083  [ 16-83 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
16-cv-00416  [ 16-416 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
16-cv-783  [ 16-783 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
15-cv-00007  [ 15-7 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
17-cv-00146  [ 17-146 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
17-cv-00494  [ 17-494 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
16-cv-00745  [ 16-745 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
15-415  [ 15-415 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
3:15-cv-281-SMY-SCW  [ 15-281 ]  Southern District of IL (U.S.)
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Attorney Organization Loevy & Loevy
Uptown People's Law Center
Case Summary
On March 19, 2015, an Illinois prisoner filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law against numerous members of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) tactical team “Orange Crush,” the wardens at ... read more >
On March 19, 2015, an Illinois prisoner filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law against numerous members of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) tactical team “Orange Crush,” the wardens at Illinois River, Menard, Big Muddy River, and Lawrence Correctional Centers, and other IDOC officials. The plaintiff, represented by Loevy & Loevy and the Uptown People's Law Center, sought injunctive relief, compensatory damages, and punitive damages, both for himself individually and for a class of other similarly-situated Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) inmates. Specifically, the named plaintiff claimed that during an April 2014 search of cells at Illinois River Correctional Center, the members of the IDOC tactical team "Orange Crush" beat, abused, and sexually humiliated the plaintiff, destroyed his property, and otherwise inflicted punishment for the sole purpose of causing humiliation and needless pain. The plaintiff further alleged that this conduct at Illinois River was not an aberration. Rather, Orange Crush conducted similarly abusive search procedures at three other IDOC facilities: Menard, Big Muddy River, and Lawrence Correctional Centers. The plaintiff sought to represent a class consisting of all IDOC inmates subjected to “shakedowns” in 2014, as well as all present and future inmates of these four IDOC facilities.

In his complaint, the plaintiff alleged violations of the Eighth Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause, when state officials intentionally, wantonly, and/or maliciously inflicted unnecessary physical and emotional pain and suffering on IDOC inmates. In addition, the plaintiff argued that the defendants' strip search procedures violate several provisions of the Prison Rape Elimination Act National Standards, 28 C.F.R. § 115. Lastly, the plaintiff claimed that the defendants acted with the intent or knowledge that there was a high probability that their conduct would inflict severe emotional distress upon the inmates.

The case was assigned to District Judge Staci M. Yandle. It was initially assigned to Magistrate Judge Philip M. Frazier, but was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams on October 16, 2015.

Various defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim on May 29, 2015, and this motion was granted in part and denied in part on January 28, 2016. The court dismissed the portions of the complaint dealing with the Prison Rape Elimination Act, as the Act did not provide for private cause of action. The court determined that the remainder of the complaint was sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. The court (Magistrate Judge Williams) approved a confidentiality order on July 10, 2017. The plaintiffs then filed a motion to certify the class on October 12, 2018.

As the litigation progressed, the Court granted many motions to consolidate cases by plaintiffs alleging similarly improper stripe search techniques and cell shakedowns. The complete list of docket numbers for the consolidated cases can be found at the end of this summary. In January of 2019, a number of cases were then severed because their facts fell outside of the class perimeters including time frame and location. The severed cases included Turner v. Spiller, et al., 3:16-cv-131-SMY-MAB; Williams v. Mull, et al., 3:15-cv-523-SMY-MAB; and, Chairs v. IDOC, et al., 3:15-cv-1359-SMY-MAB, each in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

On March 26, 2020, Judge Staci Yandle of the Southern District of Illinois issued an order granting Plaintiffs' class certification request. The class consists of all prisoners housed at:
Menard Correctional Center between April 4, 2014 and April 16, 2014;
Illinois River Correctional Center between April 21, 2014 and April 29, 2014;
Big Muddy Correctional Center between May 12, 2014 and May 19, 2014; or
Lawrence Lawrence Correctional Center between July 7, 2014 and July 11, 2014

Each of the below cases were filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois and consolidated with this case (Ross v. Gossett) as of February 2020:
Hamilton v. McCallister, 15-281-SMY-SCW
Miller v. Duncan, 15-415-SMY-SCW
McDaniel v. McCallistor, 15-515-SMY-SCW
Sultan v. Duncan, 15-611-SMY-SCW
Cortes v. Stolworthy, 15-690-SMY-SCW
Watts v. Big Muddy River Correctional Center, 15-692-SMY-SCW
Dunmore v. Duncan, 15-706-SMY-SCW
Brooks v. IDOC Director, 15-1060-SMY-SCW
Verser v. Duncan, 15-1263-SMY-SCW
Johnson v. McCallistor, 15-308-MJR-SCW
Tolliver v. Wexford Health Sources, 16-cv-00130-SMY
Smith v. Godinez, 16-cv-00248-SMY
Tenney v. Baldwin, 16-cv-00115-SMY
Harding v. Balwin,16-cv-083-SMY
Miller v. Baldwin, 16-cv-00416-SMY
Truly v. Moore, 16-cv-783-NJR
Fisher v. McCallistor, 15-cv-00007-SMY-RJD
Clark v. Tact Team, 17-cv-00146-SMY-RJD
Knox v. Butler, 17-cv-00494-SMY
Smith v. Unknown Party, 16-cv-00745-SMY-MAB

Discovery commenced in May 2020. On June 4, 2020, the government filed an appeal of the earlier class certifications to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The circuit court has yet to rule on the issue, but the earlier class certification has been stayed pending that appeal. Discovery remains ongoing in the district court and the case remains open.

Robert Lake - 05/29/2015
Elizabeth Heise - 10/23/2018
Margaret Vogel - 02/11/2020
John Duffield - 07/11/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Defendant-type
Corrections
Law-enforcement
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary procedures
Excessive force
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Grievance Procedures
Prison Rape Elimination Act
Restraints : physical
Search policies
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
State law
Defendant(s) Illinois Department of Corrections
Illinois Department of Corrections
Illinois Department of Corrections
Illinois Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Individual plaintiff and class. The class consists of all prisoners housed at: Menard Correctional Center between April 4, 2014 and April 16, 2014; Illinois River Correctional Center between April 21, 2014 and April 29, 2014; Big Muddy Correctional Center between May 12, 2014 and May 19, 2014; or
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Loevy & Loevy
Uptown People's Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Document/information produced
None yet
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 03/19/2015
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Ross v. Gossett
Uptown People's Law Center
Date: 2020
By: Uptown People's Law Center
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
http://law.duke.edu/journals/lcp
Date: Spring 2008
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis Faculty)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
S.D. Ill.
07/11/2021
3:15-cv-309
PC-IL-0033-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D. Ill.
01/28/2015
Order [ECF# 76]
PC-IL-0033-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ill.
03/19/2015
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-IL-0033-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
S.D. Ill.
10/31/2016
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 197]
PC-IL-0033-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ill.
03/25/2019
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 508] (2019 WL 1326899)
PC-IL-0033-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ill.
08/21/2019
Memorandum and Opinion [ECF# 516]
PC-IL-0033-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Williams, Stephen C. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
Yandle, Staci Michelle (S.D. Ill.) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-0002 | PC-IL-0033-0004 | PC-IL-0033-0005 | PC-IL-0033-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown, Ruth Z. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-0003 | PC-IL-0033-9000
Crosley, Adair (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
Grady, Sarah (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-0001 | PC-IL-0033-0003 | PC-IL-0033-9000
Heppell, Sam (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
Kanovitz, Michael I. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-0001 | PC-IL-0033-0003 | PC-IL-0033-9000
Loevy, Jonathan I. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-0001 | PC-IL-0033-0003 | PC-IL-0033-9000
Mazur, Elizabeth N (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
Mills, Alan S. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-0001 | PC-IL-0033-0003 | PC-IL-0033-9000
Rauscher, Scott (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
Roche, Katherine A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
Schult, Nicole (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-0001 | PC-IL-0033-0003 | PC-IL-0033-9000
Tracy, Johanna Louise (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Alfonso, Nicholas Vincent (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
Cook, Lisa A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
Doran, James Patrick (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
Fanning, Robert L. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
Fletcher, Matthew T. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
McNaught, Karen L. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
Powell, Michael Martin (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
Price, Susannah J. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
Steimel, Emma Dorothy (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
Taborga, Alan (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000
Weigand, Jason Joseph (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0033-9000

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