The opinion of the court was delivered by: SUZANNE CONLON, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Alice Kozlowski and Renee Walker, two former pretrial detainees
at the Cook County Department of Corrections ("the county jail"),
brings a putative class action against Cook County and its
sheriff, Michael Sheahan, in his official capacity, pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants jointly move to dismiss. For the
reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.
The following facts are derived from the amended complaint.
This case arises from the pretrial detention of Kozlowski and
Walker in Division III of the county jail. They were held for
several months in 2002; Kozlowski was released on July 24, 2002,
and Walker, on September 19, 2002. Am. Compl. at ¶ 3. They were
assigned to Division III because it was designated to house
inmates who needed medical treatment; Kozlowski received
treatment for drug addiction, and Walker, for asthma. Id. at ¶
7. Division III, which occupied three floors, was divided into six
tiers. Id. at ¶ 8. An interlocking area separated each floor
into two tiers. Id. This area served as the only passageway to
the tiers and a monitoring station for guards. Id. Inside each
tier were cells, a common holding area, and shower stalls. Id.
at ¶ 9. Each cell housed two inmates. Id. at ¶ 10. Secured by a
steel door with a small opening, each cell had two bunk beds, a
toilet, and a sink. Id. The common holding area, known as "the
day room," had pay phones and a television. Id. at ¶ 9. If
allowed in the day room, inmates could socialize with each other,
use the pay phones, and shower. Id. From the monitoring
station, guards could observe the day room, but not the cells.
Id. at ¶¶ 9-10. The monitoring station was supposed to be
staffed by guards. Id. at ¶ 8. As a result, it was impossible
for inmates to pass weapons or contraband from one tier to
The lockdowns, which usually lasted from Friday afternoon to
Sunday afternoon, were conducted to seize weapons and contraband
from inmates. Id. at ¶ 11. Between March 11, 2001 and March 11,
2003 ("the class period"), lockdowns took place at least once a
month. Id. at ¶¶ 2(c), 11. During each lockdown, teams of
guards searched the tiers for weapons and contraband. Id. at ¶
11. The searches of each tier took less than 40 minutes. Id.
Because inmates could not pass weapons or contraband between the
tiers without going through the monitoring stations, inmates
would not burden the search effort by using the day room and
shower stalls after their tiers were searched. Id. at ¶ 8. But
inmates were confined in their cells during the entire lockdown.
Id. at ¶ 11. As a result, they could not exercise, shower, use
the pay phones, or watch television. Id. at ¶ 12.
While they do not allege denial of food, medical care, or
protection during the lockdowns, Kozlowski and Walker claim the
lockdowns violated the Fourteenth Amendment by subjecting them to
protracted detention in their cells. They seek to represent all
female pretrial detainees held in Divisions III and IV during the class period. Defendants move to
dismiss on two grounds: (1) this case is time-barred; and (2)
plaintiffs fail to state a claim.
I. Motion to Dismiss Standard
"A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the
sufficiency of the complaint, and dismissal of an action under
the rule is warranted only if `no relief could be granted under
any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the
allegations.'" Cler v. Ill. Educ. Ass'n, 423 F.3d 726, 729 (7th
Cir. 2005) (quoting DeWalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607, 612 (7th
Cir. 2000)). In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court must
accept the well-pleaded allegations as true and draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Cler,
423 F.3d at 729. To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
"need not plead particular legal theories or particular facts."
DeWalt, 224 F.3d at 612. All that is required is "a short and
plain statement . . . that will give the defendant fair notice"
of the nature and basis of the claim. Id. But a complaint must
be dismissed if it "reveals that the plaintiff's claim is barred
by a statute of limitations." Tregenza v. Great Am. Commc'ns
Co., 12 F.3d 717, 719 (7th Cir. 1993).
II. Statute of Limitations
Plaintiffs' § 1983 claim is subject to Illinois' two-year
limitations period for personal injury actions. Mitchell v.
Donchin, 286 F.3d 447, 450 (7th Cir. 2002). Defendants argue the
limitations period has run: Plaintiffs were released before
September 19, 2002, but did not file this case until September
28, 2005 more than three years after suffering the alleged
injuries. In response, plaintiffs argue the limitations period is tolled by the timely
commencement of Hart v. Sheahan, 03 C 1768 (N.D. Ill.), another
putative class action filed by pretrial detainees.
Genise Hart and five other pretrial detainees filed a putative
class action against Sheriff Sheahan and Cook County on March 11,
2003. Defs. Exs. C (docket printout), F (second amended
complaint). Hart claimed protracted detention identical to
Kozlowski and Walker's allegations: "[D]uring the weekend lock
down, the detainee is neither released from her cell nor
permitted to shower, exercise or have access to a phone to
communicate with their [sic] lawyer or family." Defs. Ex. F at
¶ 20. In addition, Hart alleged that because they were confined
in their cells during the lockdowns, inmates could not
communicate with guards if they needed protection against
cellmates or medical attention. See, e.g., id. at ¶¶ 19, 39-41,
Judge Zagel initially dismissed Hart's second amended
complaint. Hart, Dkt. No. 35 (Dec. 18, 2003). On appeal, the
Seventh Circuit held that Hart sufficiently stated a claim based
on the alleged lack of access to medical attention and guard
[T]he heart of the plaintiffs' claim, with enough
merit to withstand a motion to dismiss, is that the
jail is subjecting them to a risk of serious harm by
an unreasonably protracted detention of them out of
sight and hearing of guards.
Hart v. Sheahan, 396 F.3d 887
, 894 (7th Cir. 2005) (emphasis
added). The Seventh Circuit instructed that on remand, Judge
Zagel should "prun[e] the overlong complaint of untenable
charges." Id. One of the untenable charges was Hart's claim
based on protracted detention alone. Had the Seventh Circuit
intended to allow the protracted detention claim to go forward,
its holding would not have included the restricting language
about the inmates' being "out of sight and hearing of guards." Id. Accordingly, Judge Zagel dismissed the
protracted detention claim on remand. Hart, ...