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Cook County, Illinois, To Pay $4,575,000 for Nonconsensual STD Testing

On July 10, 2007, Cook County, Illinois, agreed to pay $4,575,000 to settle a federal class action lawsuit that alleged prisoners were subjected to nonconsensual testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) during intake at Chicago?s Cook County jail.

Plaintiffs Robert Jackson, Joseph McGrath, and Derrell Smith claimed in their 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuit that upon their imprisonment at the Cook County Jail they were forced to undergo painful and invasive STD testing.
According to court documents, an employee of Cermark Health Services (the jail?s for-profit health care provider) jabbed a cotton swab into the penises of all incoming prisoners to obtain a sample for the testing.
What?s more, the lawsuit alleged, the procedure was specifically calculated to spread disease because the health care professional administering the tests used the same pair of latex gloves to grab the penises of all detainees during the intake testing process.

On December 14, 2006, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois certified a class of all male prisoners who underwent nonconsensual STD testing at the jail on or after January 27, 2004?approximately 32,000 persons, according to the court documents.

Under the proposed settlement, which still requires final approval by the court, the named plaintiff?s will each receive $25,000. The remaining funds, after deducting attorneys? fees and court costs (not exceed $1.3 Million), will be distributed to the eligible class members.

Attorneys Kenneth N. Flaxman and Thomas G. Morrisse, both of Chicago, represented the plaintiffs. See: Jackson v. Sheriff of Cook County, USDC ND IL, Case No. O6-CV-493.

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Related legal case

Jackson v. Sheriff of Cook County