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B.H. v. Walker

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

June 18, 2018

B.H., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
BEVERLY J. WALKER, Acting Director, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JORGE L. ALONSO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         In this case, which will reach its thirtieth birthday in a couple of weeks, plaintiffs move to compel production of information. In essence, theirs is a motion to enforce a consent decree entered by Judge Grady on December 20, 1991 and restated on July 15, 1997. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies the motion [600].

         I. BACKGROUND

         In the late 1980's, plaintiffs, who were children removed from their homes and placed in the custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Service (“DCFS”), filed this suit. They alleged that they had been removed from their families and then subjected to further harm and abuse when DCFS failed to place them in safe and stable living situations. The parties reached a settlement, in the form of a consent decree, which was approved and entered by Judge Grady. That decree has been altered over the years, and the parties agree that the restated consent decree is located at Docket 456-2.

         The restated consent decree states, in relevant part:

DEFINITIONS
1. As used herein the following terms have the following meanings:
* * *
e. “Child, ” “children, ” “class members” or “plaintiffs” all mean solely members of the class certified by this Court's order dated February 22, 1989, and defined as all persons who, on or after the date of commencement of this action, are in the custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and who have been placed somewhere other than with their parents.
* * * DISCLAIMER
* * *
3. This Decree shall apply only to those persons who are members of the plaintiff class. This Decree creates no rights in favor of any other person and creates no obligations or duties on the part of defendant beyond the terms of this Decree.
* * *
PURPOSE OF DECREE AND STANDARD OF CARE FOR CLASS MEMBERS
4. It is the purpose of this Decree to assure that DCFS provides children with at least minimally adequate care. Defendant agrees that, for purposes of this Decree, DCFS's responsibility to provide such care for plaintiffs includes an obligation to create and maintain a system which assures children are treated in conformity with the following standards of care:
a. Children shall be free from foreseeable and preventable ...

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