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Case Name T.S. v. Twentieth Century Fox Television, Inc. JI-IL-0005
Docket / Court 1:16-cv-08303 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Juvenile Institution
Attorney Organization Loevy & Loevy
Case Summary
This case involved claims arising from a juvenile detention center being used for a television show.

Two children previously detained in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) filed this class action lawsuit on August 24, 2016. Defendants included numerous Fox ... read more >
This case involved claims arising from a juvenile detention center being used for a television show.

Two children previously detained in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) filed this class action lawsuit on August 24, 2016. Defendants included numerous Fox entertainment companies (collectively “Fox”); Cook County, Illinois; the Chief Judge of the District Court of Cook County; and various officials connected to JTDC. The complaint was brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (in Chicago). Allegedly, plaintiffs’ rights were violated due to the filming of the hit Fox television show, Empire, at JTDC. They sought disgorgement and monetary damages. Judge Amy St. Eve. was assigned.

The complaint was brought following the summer of 2015. Plaintiffs claimed JTDC locked down for approximately two weeks to be used as a set to shoot scenes for Empire. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants knew the children housed at the JTDC would be confined to their cells and pods at the facility to make room for the shooting. Throughout the two weeks, numerous areas, including JTDC's school, its facilities for family visits, and the outdoor recreation yard, were placed off-limits to the children living there. The lockdown allegedly harmed the children of JTDC. It had “interrupted and degraded the rehabilitation and structured programming that is designed to address the problems that brought the children to the JTDC,” including the children’s access to education. Psychological damage was also alleged as children were forced to sit still in their pods, unable to get up from their chairs without permission, for days at a time.

The following claims were brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983:
  1. Due process violations
  2. Unlawful seizure
  3. Monell liability (JTDC/Cook County official’s liability as final decision-makers)
  4. Joint action liability
  5. Respondeat superior (Fox defendants)
  6. Conspiracy
Additional claims were brought under Illinois state law:
  1. Breach of fiduciary duty (Cook County/JDTC defendants)
  2. Inducement of breach of fiduciary duty (Fox defendants)
  3. Intentional infliction of emotional distress
  4. Civil conspiracy
  5. Respondeat Superior
  6. Indemnification (Cook County defendants)
Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on October 5, 2016. They clarified the allegations against Cook County’s Chief Judge. They particularly focused on the Chief Judge’s role as the final decisionmaker regarding the JTDC lockdowns.

Numerous defendants filed motions to dismiss on December 5, 2016. The court granted these motions in part on April 20, 2017. First, the court denied all defendants’ claims for qualified or Eleventh Amendment immunity. Second, the court dismissed counts II, V, and X. Third, the court dismissed counts IV, V, VIII, and IX, but also allowed plaintiffs to re-plead. 2017 WL 1425596.

On May 23, 2017, the plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint. They added an unjust enrichment claim (Count XIII) against Fox defendants and fixed the deficiencies in their earlier pleadings.

Fox filed a motion to dismiss several of the claims in this complaint on June 19, 2017. The court granted the motion in part on October 16, 2017. Counts IV, VI, and X were dismissed with prejudice. However, counts VIII and XIII proceeded. 2017 WL 4620841.

In March 2018, this case was reassigned to Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer.

Plaintiffs filed for partial summary judgment on December 9, 2019. They argued that Cook County’s Chief Judge was not entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity in this case. Shortly after, in early 2020, the parties began settlement negotiations.

The court denied class certification on January 16, 2020. They cited plaintiffs’ failure to meet the requirements of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 23(a) and (b). However, the court stated plaintiffs could be in compliance with modifications to their motion. The court also encouraged parties to seek a settlement rather than continue litigation. 334 F.R.D. 518.

Defendant Chief Judge moved for summary judgment on January 17, 2020. He sought to dismiss all claims against himself. Stated reasons included his not being a person subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Eleventh Amendment's bar against lawsuits for damages against the states.

Plaintiffs renewed their motion to certify a class on June 15, 2020. Three days later, the motion's text was sealed at plaintiffs’ request. However, according to the court’s eventual order on June 10, 2021, three classes were requested. In order to narrow their focus plaintiffs required all class members detained at JDTC for at least 24 consecutive hours. Class 1 included all those confined to their pods longer than they otherwise would have been because of filming. This class had numerous subclasses involving the denial of various services during the filming period. Class 1(a) included those who did not receive at least one hour of “Large Muscle Exercise.” Class 1(b) included those who did not receive scheduled outdoor recreation. Class 1(c) included those who did not receive off-pod recreation or programming. Class 1(d) included those who did not travel to a nearby school for classes. Class 1(e) included those who did not receive various off-pod activities including “game room.” Class 1(f) included those who did not leave their pods for 24 consecutive hours. Class 2 included all those who had family visits during the June and July filming periods. Class 3 included all those confined in pods with populations that exceeded a safe capacity.

The court granted summary judgment for defendant Chief Judge on November 23, 2020. The court determined that Chief Judge acted as "an arm of the State of Illinois when he operat[ed] and administer[ed] the JTDC." As such, the Chief Judge was protected by the Eleventh Amendment's bar against lawsuits for damages against the states. Any § 1983 claims against this defendant were rendered moot. 502 F.Supp.3d 1285.

On December 16, 2020, defendants from Fox and Cook County filed an updated motion for summary judgment and a new motion for summary judgment, respectively.

On June 10, 2021, the court issued an order addressing plaintiffs’ claims and the renewed motion for class certification. 2021 WL 2376017. The court dismissed plaintiffs’ federal claims, including those regarding conditions of confinement. The court also granted in part plaintiffs’ renewed motion for class certification. The four classes certified were class 1(c) concerning off-pod recreation, class 1(d) concerning attending classes, class 1(e) concerning various off-pod activities, and class 3 concerning pods that exceeded a safe capacity. The remaining classes were denied. Classes 1(a) and 1(f) both failed the FRCP 23(b)(3) requirement that common questions must predominate over individual ones among class members. Classes 1, 1(b), and 2 all failed the FRCP 23(a)(3) requirement that claims of the parties representing the class be typical among class members.

In the same order, the Court addressed the plaintiff's state law claims. First, the court dismissed claims against Fox regarding unjust enrichment and inducement of Chief Judge’s alleged breach of fiduciary duty. The court determined that plaintiffs failed to show that Fox had actual knowledge of the alleged breach. Second, the court dismissed plaintiff's claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Court stated that plaintiffs made "no effort to explain how [their] harm was sufficiently severe to support an IIED claim.” Third, the court did not dismiss claims regarding Cook County’s indemnification of defendant Chief Judge. Because Cook County funds the JTDC, it thus remains liable to indemnify claims arising within JTDC and the Chief Judge’s official capacity. Fourth, the court did not dismiss claims regarding defendant Chief Judge’s alleged breach of fiduciary duty. The court determined that a reasonable jury could find the Chief Judge had a guardian-ward relationship with the plaintiffs’ juvenile detainees.

The case is ongoing.

Amelia Huckins - 01/26/2017
Rebecca Strauss - 05/24/2018
Alex Moody - 04/13/2020
Eric Gripp - 07/16/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Conditions of confinement
Confinement/isolation
Education
Juveniles
Library (non-law) access
Parents (visitation, involvement)
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Visiting
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Cook County, Illinois
Twentieth Century Fox Television
Plaintiff Description Two children who were detained in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center during the summer of 2015. There are four court-certified classes: Class 1(c) concerning off-pod recreation; Class 1(d) concerning class attendance; Class 1(e) concerning various off-pod activities; Class 3 concerning pods that exceeded a safe capacity.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Loevy & Loevy
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 08/24/2016
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)
Court Docket(s)
N.D. Ill.
07/19/2021
1:16-cv-08303
JI-IL-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
N.D. Ill.
08/24/2016
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
JI-IL-0005-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
10/05/2016
First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 23]
JI-IL-0005-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
04/20/2017
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 73] (2017 WL 1425596)
JI-IL-0005-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
05/23/2017
Second Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 88]
JI-IL-0005-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
10/16/2017
Memorandum Order and Opinion [ECF# 110] (2017 WL 4620841)
JI-IL-0005-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
C.D. Ill.
01/16/2020
Memorandum Order and Opinion [ECF# 319] (334 F.R.D. 518)
JI-IL-0005-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
06/10/2021
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 434] (2021 WL 2376017)
JI-IL-0005-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Kim, Young B (N.D. Ill.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JI-IL-0005-9000
Pallmeyer, Rebecca R. (N.D. Ill.) show/hide docs
JI-IL-0005-0006 | JI-IL-0005-0007 | JI-IL-0005-9000
St. Eve, Amy Joan (N.D. Ill., Seventh Circuit) show/hide docs
JI-IL-0005-0003 | JI-IL-0005-0005
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chardon, Alexis Garmey (Illinois) show/hide docs
JI-IL-0005-0004 | JI-IL-0005-9000
Garcia, Mariah Esperanza (Illinois) show/hide docs
JI-IL-0005-9000
Garmey, Terrence D (Maine) show/hide docs
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Grady, Sarah (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Hanebutt, Pamela Reasor (Illinois) show/hide docs
JI-IL-0005-0001 | JI-IL-0005-0002 | JI-IL-0005-9000
Kanovitz, Michael I. (Illinois) show/hide docs
JI-IL-0005-9000
Loevy, Jonathan I. (Illinois) show/hide docs
JI-IL-0005-9000
Pessin, Adam J. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
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Razzano, Susan M. (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Weil, Stephen Heschel (Illinois) show/hide docs
JI-IL-0005-0001 | JI-IL-0005-0002 | JI-IL-0005-0004 | JI-IL-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Catania, Francis J. (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Chapin, Christina Rae (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Dierkes, Michael T. (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Dworkin, Hal (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Fletcher-Thomas, Janine Nicole (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Gillespie, Ryan (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Henretty, Lyle Kevin (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Horvat, T. Andrew (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Jacobson, Jeffrey S. (New York) show/hide docs
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James, Catherine E. (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Kamper, Joi (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Kay, Justin O'Neill (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Longoria, Marissa D (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Luzadder, Matthew Charles (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Mikhail, Danielle (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Morris, Patrick Daniel (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Nowinski, Thomas Edward (Illinois) show/hide docs
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West, Allyson Lynn (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Zecchin, Anthony E. (Illinois) show/hide docs
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