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Case Name Dobbey v. Weilding PC-IL-0052
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-01068 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization Loevy & Loevy
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: The plaintiffs, a class of prisoners housed at Stateville Correctional Center, asked the court to temporarily appoint an expert to oversee the Illinois Department of Correction's (IDOC) response to the COVID-19 pandemic at Stateville. The court denied the motion on April 13, 2020 ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: The plaintiffs, a class of prisoners housed at Stateville Correctional Center, asked the court to temporarily appoint an expert to oversee the Illinois Department of Correction's (IDOC) response to the COVID-19 pandemic at Stateville. The court denied the motion on April 13, 2020.


This case was originally filed in 2013. The original plaintiff, Lester Dobbey, was an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections in the Stateville Correctional Center. On February 8, 2013, the original plaintiff filed a pro se complaint in the Northern District of Illinois (in Chicago) against employees at Stateville Correctional Center. He brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment Violations. Specifically, the original plaintiff complained of unsanitary birds and vermin in inmates' living units and common areas, unbearable florescent lighting preventing inmates from getting proper sleep, unsanitary living conditions, inadequate ventilation, contaminated water supply, and unsafe housing in the "Bravo, Charlie, Delta, and Edward-Building" in which the plaintiff was housed. The original plaintiff sought injunctive and declaratory relief, along with compensatory damages, punitive damages, and damages for physical and mental suffering. The case was assigned to Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr.

On February 20, 2013, the original plaintiff filed a motion for attorney assistance and a motion to certify a class of the approximately 1,700 inmates housed at Stateville Correctional Center. The court granted the plaintiff's request for counsel and appointed law firm Brinks Gilson & Lione to his case. (The firm no longer exists as its own entity; it merged with the international law firm Crowell & Moring in July 2021). The court denied the plaintiff's motion for class certification without prejudice. The defendants filed their answer on May 28, 2013 and denied any violation of the plaintiff's constitutional rights.

On October 17, 2013, while represented by counsel, the original plaintiff filed an amended complaint which made the same substantive arguments, but also explained that the plaintiff had exhausted his administrative remedies. On January 7, 2014, the original plaintiff filed a second amended complaint adding additional defendants who were at Stateville Correctional Center.

On January 23, 2014, the court entered an amended order granting class certification after the parties filed a joint status report recommending that a class be certified. The certified class consisted of all individuals incarcerated at the Stateville Correctional Center at any time since January 1, 2011, and all individuals who would be housed at the Stateville Correctional Center at any point in the future following January 23, 2014. The court appointed Harold Johnson of Brinks Gilson & Lione as the attorney for the class.

On March 6, 2014, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss portions of the plaintiffs' complaint for failure to allege constitutional violations. In April 2014, Loevy & Loevy was substituted as counsel for the plaintiffs. On September 8, 2014, the court struck the motion to dismiss but gave the defendants permission to refile. In July 2015, settlement negotiations began. On September 5, 2018, the court appointed an expert to assist with these negotiations.

On September 25, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a motion to terminate Loevy & Loevy as class counsel and a motion for appointment of new class counsel. The plaintiff never filed a brief in support and withdrew his motion on December 4, 2018.

On April 2, 2020, the plaintiffs filed a motion for an emergency, temporary appointment of a Special Master to oversee IDOC's response to the COVID-19 pandemic at Stateville Correctional Center. The plaintiffs sought an individual or individuals with expertise in correctional facility management as well as infectious disease and/or public health to evaluate IDOC's response with regard to:
(1) segregating Class Members who are exhibiting symptoms of infection from healthy Class Members;
(2) reducing the spread of the virus through all necessary health and sanitation recommendations:
(3) instituting social distancing for living, daily activities like eating and showering;
(4) providing PPE to Class Members to reduce the spread of the virus; and
(5) ensuring all possible means are used to segregate any Class Members whose age or prior medical conditions put them at increased risk of developing severe medical complications if they contracted COVID-19.

On April 3, 2020, the court held a status conference and requested that the plaintiffs supplement their motion with a concrete proposal. In response, the plaintiffs modified their emergency motion to request the appointment of an expert instead of a special master. The plaintiffs sought the temporary appointment of an expert to: (1) access information from the Defendants regarding the conditions at Stateville, and speak with relevant IDOC employees about the Defendants’ COVID-19 response at Stateville; and (2) provide recommendations to the court and parties regarding the Defendants’ COVID-19 response at Stateville to ensure that all class members’ health and safety were protected during this crisis period.

On April 13, 2020, District Judge Dow denied without prejudice the plaintiff's motion to appoint an expert. The court concluded that imposing additional obligations on the already overburdened medical personnel and correctional staff would have been counterproductive, especially given that none of the individuals identified as potential experts had particularized knowledge about the conditions at Stateville since the first COVID-19 case was identified.

On September 11, 2020, the original plaintiff amended an earlier motion to declass the class action certification. The court denied the motion on October 7, 2020, noting that the class action remained viable.

On December 1, 2020, the original plaintiff moved to voluntarily withdraw and dismiss his individual claims provided in his second amended complaint. The court granted the motion the next day. The injunctive claims brought on behalf of the class remain pending.

The parties have engaged in settlement conferences since December, 2020. The case remains ongoing.

Elena Malik - 06/02/2020
Mary Novakovic - 10/10/2020
Nicholas Gillan - 02/19/2021
John Duffield - 07/12/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
COVID-19
Mitigation Denied
Mitigation Requested
Release Requested
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Defendant(s) Stateville Correctional Center
Plaintiff Description All individuals incarcerated at the Stateville Correctional Center at any time since January 1, 2011, and all individuals that would be housed at the Stateville Correctional Center after January 23, 2014, (the date class certification was granted).
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Loevy & Loevy
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 02/08/2013
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.
07/12/2021
1:13-cv-1068
PC-IL-0052-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
N.D. Ill.
02/08/2013
Complaint [ECF# 1, 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5]
PC-IL-0052-0009.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
05/28/2013
Answer to Plaintiffs' Complaint [ECF# 19]
PC-IL-0052-0010.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
10/17/2013
Amended Complaint [ECF# 27, 27-1, 27-2, 27-3, 27-4, 27-5]
PC-IL-0052-0011.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
01/07/2014
Revised Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 35, 35-1, 35-2, 35-3, 35-4, 35-5]
PC-IL-0052-0012.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
01/23/2014
Order Granting Class Certification [ECF# 37]
PC-IL-0052-0013.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
03/06/2014
Memorandum in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Portions of Plaintiffs' Second Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 48]
PC-IL-0052-0014.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
12/06/2018
Joint Status Report [ECF# 192]
PC-IL-0052-0015.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
03/16/2020
Amended General Order 20-0012 [ECF# 226]
PC-IL-0052-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
03/30/2020
Second Amended General Order 20-0012 [ECF# 227]
PC-IL-0052-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
04/02/2020
Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Appointment of a Special Master [ECF# 230 (& 230-1 to 230-13)]
PC-IL-0052-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
04/02/2020
Plaintiffs' Motion for an Expedited Hearing on Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Appointment of a Special Master [ECF# 232, 232-1 through 232-7]
PC-IL-0052-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
04/06/2020
Plaintiffs' Supplemental Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion and Amended Motion for Appointment of Rule 706 Expert [ECF# 239]
PC-IL-0052-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
04/08/2020
Opposition to Plaintiffs' Amended Motion for Rule 706 Expert [ECF# 241]
PC-IL-0052-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Dow, Robert Michael Jr. (N.D. Ill.) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0013 | PC-IL-0052-9000
Pallmeyer, Rebecca R. (N.D. Ill.) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0001 | PC-IL-0052-0002
Plaintiff's Lawyers Crosley, Adair (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-9000
Donnell, Heather Lewis (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0005 | PC-IL-0052-0006 | PC-IL-0052-0007 | PC-IL-0052-0015 | PC-IL-0052-9000
Field, Vincenzo (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-9000
Grady, Sarah (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0005 | PC-IL-0052-0006 | PC-IL-0052-0007 | PC-IL-0052-0015 | PC-IL-0052-9000
Hanna, David Michael (California) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0012 | PC-IL-0052-9000
Johnson, Harold V. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0011 | PC-IL-0052-0012 | PC-IL-0052-9000
Kanovitz, Michael I. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0005 | PC-IL-0052-0006 | PC-IL-0052-0007 | PC-IL-0052-0015 | PC-IL-0052-9000
Kayes, Thomas (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-9000
Loevy, Arthur R. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0005 | PC-IL-0052-0006 | PC-IL-0052-0007 | PC-IL-0052-9000
Loevy, Jonathan I. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0005 | PC-IL-0052-0006 | PC-IL-0052-0007 | PC-IL-0052-9000
Parsons, Luke Austin (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-9000
Weil, Stephen Heschel (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0005 | PC-IL-0052-0006 | PC-IL-0052-0007 | PC-IL-0052-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Doran, James Patrick (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0008 | PC-IL-0052-0015 | PC-IL-0052-9000
Henretty, Lyle Kevin (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-9000
Lovellette, Kevin R. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0010 | PC-IL-0052-0014 | PC-IL-0052-9000
Madigan, Lisa (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0010 | PC-IL-0052-0014
Ptasznik, Agnes A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0010 | PC-IL-0052-9000
Raoul, Kwame (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0008
Rees, R. Douglas (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0008 | PC-IL-0052-9000
Scheller, Jessica Megan (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-9000
Staley, Nicholas Scott (Illinois) show/hide docs
PC-IL-0052-0008 | PC-IL-0052-9000

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