Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

NICHOLS v. LAYMON

December 5, 1980

WILLIAM NICHOLS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
RICHARD S. LAYMON, GUARDIANSHIP ADMINISTRATOR, DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES; ALBERT NEELY, DIRECTOR OF THE CHILDREN'S DIVISION OF COOK COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC AID; ROBERT BUSSELL, M.D., EMPLOYED BY THE JUVENILE COURT OF COOK COUNTY; ELEANOR DOYLE, EMPLOYED BY DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES; SARAH MAUER, EMPLOYED BY THE DIVISION OF COOK COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC AID; FRANK DETTENBACH, EMPLOYEE OF THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES; ENRICH VISIOSO, M.D., EMPLOYEE OF DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES; VICTOR PLATT, CLINICAL DIRECTOR, ELGIN MENTAL HEALTH CENTER; DR. LEONARD HORECKER, CLINICAL DIRECTOR, CHESTER MENTAL HEALTH CENTER; VERNON UFFELMAN, DIRECTOR, CHESTER MENTAL HEALTH CENTER; DAVID CLARK, EMPLOYEE OF THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES; JAMES LAMPROS, CASEWORKER, DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES; ROBERT MACKIE, SUPERINTENDENT, ELGIN MENTAL HEALTH CENTER; COUNTY OF COOK, A BODY POLITIC AND CORPORATE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Crowley, District Judge.

  MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This is an action for damages resulting from the alleged violations of plaintiff's First, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Jurisdiction is asserted under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 1343.

The facts are fully set forth in Judge Will's Memorandum Opinion of May 5, 1978. Briefly, the complaint alleges that when plaintiff became a ward of the State of Illinois in 1960, he was erroneously designated to be three years older than his actual age. This error, which was not rectified until 1974, resulted in classifying plaintiff as mentally retarded. According to the complaint, because of the incorrect age assignment and because of certain policies and practices of Cook County, the State of Illinois, their officials and employees, plaintiff was not provided adequate treatment and was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment while residing in the Arthur J. Audy Home, the Elgin State Mental Hospital and the Chester State Mental Hospital.

The unconstitutional practices and policies include indiscriminately mixing neglected and dependent children with delinquent minors at the Audy Home, denying boarding rates in excess of a standard rate for children with specialized needs except under vague circumstances and employing methods of "treatment" which were akin to punishment and bore no relationship to care and rehabilitation.

Currently before the Court are the motions for summary judgment by defendants the County of Cook and Albert Neely.*fn1 Defendants' major contention is that the action against them is barred by the statute of limitations.

All parties agree that the applicable statute of limitations is Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 83, § 16 (1977). Beard v. Robinson, 563 F.2d 331, 338 (7th Cir. 1977), cert. denied sub nom. Mitchell v. Beard, 438 U.S. 907, 98 S.Ct. 3125, 57 L.Ed.2d 1149 (1978). That statute provides that the action must be brought within five years of the date it accrued.

Defendants County of Cook and Neely, the Director of the Children's Division of Cook County Department of Public Aid during the time plaintiff was confined in the Audy Home, contend that the limitations period should be calculated from March, 1969, when plaintiff left the County's control. Since the action was not brought against the County until February 1, 1977 and against Neely until February 17, 1978, it is barred.*fn2

A special provision operates to lengthen the limitations period. That statute provides:

    If the person entitled to bring an action. . . is
  at the time the cause of action accrued, within the
  age of 18 years, or incompetent . . . he or she may
  bring the action within 2 years after the
  disability is removed. Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 83, §
  22 (1977).

The parties disagree about the proper interpretation of the statute.

Defendants contend that the plaintiff does not fall within the age exception because he did not bring the action within two years of his eighteenth birthday, even assuming he was assigned an incorrect age. Additionally, defendants argue that the incompetency exception of Section 22 only applies to persons who have been adjudicated incompetent by a court, and that no court has adjudged plaintiff incompetent. Thus, they conclude, the exception does not apply.

Plaintiff responds that under the Juvenile Court Act, he remains a minor until his twenty-first birthday. Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 37, § 701-13 (1977). However, plaintiff's principal contention is that he was incompetent during the entire course of events giving rise to this action and is incompetent still.

Whether or not plaintiff is considered a minor until his twenty-first birthday under the Juvenile Court Act is irrelevant to the application of Section 22. That provision explicitly extends the limitations period for two years after the plaintiff's eighteenth birthday. Therefore, a plaintiff's physical age is the determinative criterion.

Assuming plaintiff's age was designated erroneously, he became eighteen on March 3, 1974. Since the action was filed after March 3, 1976, it was not brought within two years of plaintiff's eighteenth birthday.

The question of whether plaintiff falls within the incompetency exception of Section 22 does not lend itself to facile resolution. Neither the statute itself nor the Illinois courts provide guidance about the meaning of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.