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DUNN v. CITY OF CHICAGO

October 5, 2005.

THOMAS DUNN, DENNY ROBINSON, and LEONARD KIMBLE, on behalf of themselves and a class of others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT GETTLEMAN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiffs Thomas Dunn ("Dunn") and Denny Robinson ("Robinson"), individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed a four-count putative class action against defendant City of Chicago ("City") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on October 21, 2004. Plaintiffs allege that while in the custody of the Chicago Police Department ("CPD") as post-arrest detainees, they were subjected to unlawful interrogation room detentions (Count I), deprived of adequate accommodations for sleep (Count II), and detained more than 48 hours before receiving a judicial hearing (Count III). Count IV asserts a respondent superior claim.

Plaintiffs*fn1 have moved pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23 for certification of three classes defined as:
1. All persons held in a CPD interrogation or "interview" room for more than sixteen hours in a 24-hour period at any time from March 15, 1999, to the date of the order granting certification in this case. II. All persons held in a CPD lock-up or detective division facility between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. at any time from March 15, 1999, to the date of the order granting certification in this case.
III. All persons arrested on suspicion of a felony without an arrest warrant and who were detained by the CPD in excess of 48 hours without a judicial probable cause hearing at any time from March 15, 1999, to the date of the order granting certification in this case.
Class I is further defined to "exclude all persons who gave an inculpatory statement while in CPD custody if:
(1) the person was convicted after a trial on the merits at which the statement was admitted, that conviction has not been invalidated, and the resulting sentence has not been discharged, provided that the person also brought a motion to suppress that statement before or during trial; or
(2) the criminal case remains pending and the statement has not been suppressed in a pretrial motion or has been suppressed but the suppression order was not appealed by the state within 30 days.
Robinson seeks to represent Class I, and Robinson and Dunn seek to represent Class II and Class III.

  Defendant opposes certification of Class I and Class III, arguing that: (1) plaintiffs cannot satisfy the commonality and typicality requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a); and (2) the classes are not maintainable under Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b). Defendant does not challenge certification of Class II. For the reasons set forth below, plaintiffs' motion is granted as to Class III and denied as to Class I.*fn2 FACTS

  Plaintiffs' three proposed classes correspond to three separate categories of claims regarding the treatment of post-arrest detainees held by the CPD.

  Class I alleges that detainees were held in interrogation or interview rooms, rather than in lock-up facilities, for more than 16 hours, and that they were subjected to inhumane conditions in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.*fn3 Interrogation rooms are small, approximately ten feet long eight feet wide, and bare except for a metal bench, which is approximately four feet long and ten inches wide, and a shackling hook on the wall. Under the CPD's Special Order No. 99-02, dated December 3, 1999, detectives and officers are required to "secure all adult prisoners to a restraining device when placing the prisoner in an interview room." There is no toilet in the interrogation rooms. Detainees do not receive regular meal service while in the interrogation rooms, and are "at the whim" of CPD officers and detectives for food, water, and access to bathroom facilities. Detainees become sleep-deprived because the metal bench is not long enough for an adult to lie down on, and "it is not uncommon for detainees to go without food or access to sanitary facilities for much of their detention." Many detainees urinate or defecate on themselves or on the floor.

  Unlike the interrogation rooms, lock-up cells contain bunks and toilet facilities, and lock-up detainees receive regular meal service. There are CPD rules and regulations regarding treatment of lock-up detainees. In contrast, the CPD maintains no rule or practice limiting the amount of time that an individual can be kept in an interrogation room, or specifying the care and treatment of arrestees detained in interrogation rooms. According to plaintiffs, no legitimate police purpose is served by holding post-arrest detainees in interrogation rooms rather than lock-up facilities where their conditions of confinement would be improved and regulated. Plaintiffs basic human needs for food, sleep, hygiene, and access to a restroom were ignored. Plaintiffs allege that the conditions in the interrogation rooms amount to physical and psychological "soft torture," which lead to increased suggestibility for the person being interrogated, and to false confessions.

  Class II, which defendant does not challenge, alleges that persons held in lock-up cells overnight were not provided with a mattress or other bedding for the bunks.

  Class III alleges that persons arrested without a warrant on suspicion of a felony were held in excess of 48 hours without a judicial probable cause hearing, in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Under the CPD's "hold past court call" procedure, the CPD extends an arrestee's detention until the Cook County State's Attorney decides whether to approve charges. Plaintiffs allege that this procedure existed for decades and was widespread, and was applied to class members even though it was held unconstitutional in Robinson v. City of Chicago, 638 F. Supp. 186 (N.D.Ill. 1986).*fn4 In August 2003, the CPD adopted a policy prohibiting detentions in excess of 48 hours, but according to plaintiffs the new policy has not been properly implemented. For example, Dunn alleges that in 2004 he was detained for 56 hours without a judicial hearing. DISCUSSION

  Fed.R.Civ.P. 23, which governs class actions, requires a two-step analysis to determine if class certification is appropriate. First, plaintiffs must satisfy all four requirements of Rule 23(a): (1) numerosity; (2) commonality; (3) typicality; and (4) adequacy of representation. Harriston v. Chicago Tribune Co., 992 F.2d 697, 703 (7th Cir. 1993). These elements are a prerequisite to certification, and failure to meet any one of them precludes certification of a class. Second, the action must also satisfy one of the conditions of Rule 23(b). Joncek v. Local 714 International Teamster Health and Welfare Fund, 1999 WL 755051, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 3, 1999) (and cases cited therein).

  Relevant to the instant case, Rule 23(b)(3) requires plaintiffs to demonstrate that: "(1) common questions must predominate over any questions affecting only individual members; and (2) class resolution must be superior to other methods for the fair and effective adjudication of the controversy." Portis v. City of Chicago, 2003 WL 22078279, at *3 (N.D. III. Sept. 8, 2003) (quoting Joncek, 1999 WL 755051, at *7). Plaintiffs have the burden of showing compliance with Rule 23. Cwiak v. Flint Ink Corp., 186 F.R.D. 494, 496 (N.D. Ill. 1999). Defendant challenges certification of Class I and Class III on several grounds, but focuses its Rule 23(a) arguments on typicality and commonality. Defendant also argues that plaintiffs fail to satisfy Rule 23(b)(3) because class claims do not predominate, and class resolution is not superior. I. Rule 23(a): Commonality and Typicality

  Defendant objects to certification of Classes I and III on the basis that the proposed classes fail to satisfy the commonality and typicality requirements of Rule 23(a). "A common nucleus of operative facts is usually enough to satisfy the commonality requirement of Rule 23(a)." Rosario v. Livaditis, 963 F.2d 1013, 1018 (7th Cir. 1992), cert. denied 506 U.S. 1051 (1993). The presence of some factual variation among class members' experiences will not defeat class certification. Id. at 1017. A plaintiff need only show that there is at least one question of fact common to the class to satisfy the commonality requirement. Portis v. City of Chicago, 2003 WL 22078279, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 8, 2003); In re VMS Sec. Litig, 136 F.R.D. 466, 473 (N.D. Ill. 1991). Typicality is satisfied if a plaintiff's claim arises from the same event, practice, or course of conduct that gives rise to the claims of the other class members, and the claims are based on the same legal theory. Keele v. Wexler, 149 F.3d 589, 595 (7th Cir. 1998); Kort v. Diversified Collections Services, Inc., 2001 WL 1617213, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 17, 2001). Commonality and typicality are closely related, and finding one often results in find the other. Id. For the reasons discussed below, the court finds that Class I and Class III satisfy the requirements of Rule 23(a).

  A. Class I

  Plaintiffs argue that there are several questions of fact and law common to Class I. Class I alleges that defendant is liable under Monell v. Dept. of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978), for violations of the Fourth Amendment based on: (1) the maintenance of an unconstitutional, written policy requiring shackling of detainees held in interrogation rooms;*fn5 (2) the failure to enact policies limiting the amount of time a detainee may be held in an interrogation room; (3) the failure to establish policies for food services and other humane treatment for persons held in the rooms; (4) the failure to provide proper sleeping facilities for persons held in the rooms, including bedding; and (5) the deliberately indifferent failure to correct a repeated pattern of neglect of the human needs of persons held in interrogation rooms.

  Defendant argues that Class I lacks commonality because plaintiffs were not subjected to standardized conduct or conditions. See Allen v. City of Chicago, 828 F. Supp. 543, 551 (N.D. Ill. 1993) (commonality requirement met when there is "standardized conduct by defendants toward members of the putative class"). Defendant asserts that the deposition testimony of plaintiffs, other class members, and defendant's witnesses demonstrate differences in CPD practices and the experiences of detainees. Indeed, some class members testified that they were offered food and water by some CPD officers while being held in the interrogation room, and that they were permitted to use the restroom facilities when they asked. Some class members ...


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