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Friday, June 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Judge Certifies Detainees’ Class Action

CHICAGO - A federal judge has granted class certification to four people who say the Cook County Department of Corrections violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to accommodate them during their prison stay.

Plaintiffs Derrick Phipps, Kevin House, Kenneth Courtney and James Grant are paraplegics or partially paralyzed and were pre-trial detainees at the Cook County Department of Corrections between 2006 and 2007.

They claim that Cook County and its sheriff failed to provide appropriate shower and toilet facilities and beds for wheelchair-bound people, and say they suffered from bed sores and other injuries as a result.

Cook County argued that the plaintiffs failed to establish numerosity, commonality and typicality, adequacy of representation and predominance of law or fact common to class members. But U.S. District Judge Elaine E. Bucklo disagreed.

"In this case, the common nucleus of operative fact is the discrimination resulting from the conditions and accessibility of the shower and toilet facilities to wheelchair bound individuals," Bucklo wrote. "Defendant points out that the named plaintiffs were housed in different housing units within the CCDC. This does not defeat commonality, however, as the plaintiffs sufficiently allege a common discriminatory practice throughout the CCDC."

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