B.H. by Pierce v. Murphy, No. 92-1136

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore CUDAHY, RIPPLE, and KANNE; CUDAHY
Citation984 F.2d 196
PartiesB.H., C.H., J.E., C.Z., E.G., O.G., S.G., C.G., P.G. and A.G., by their next friend, Susan Tone PIERCE, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. Patrick T. MURPHY, Cook County Public Guardian, Proposed Intervening Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Sterling M. RYDER, Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Defendant-Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 92-1136
Decision Date14 January 1993

Page 196

984 F.2d 196
24 Fed.R.Serv.3d 1095
B.H., C.H., J.E., C.Z., E.G., O.G., S.G., C.G., P.G. and
A.G., by their next friend, Susan Tone PIERCE,
individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
Patrick T. MURPHY, Cook County Public Guardian, Proposed
Intervening Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Sterling M. RYDER, Acting Director of the Illinois
Department of Children and Family Services,
Defendant-Appellee.
No. 92-1136.
United States Court of Appeals,
Seventh Circuit.
Argued Sept. 14, 1992.
Decided Jan. 14, 1993.

Page 197

Michael L. Brody, Jeanne L. Nowaczewski, Lynn E. Rzonca, Schiff, Hardin & Waite, Lee A. Lowder, Office of the Public Guardian, Benjamin S. Wolf, Susan Wishnick, Roger Baldwin Foundation of ACLU, Inc., Patrick T. Murphy (argued), Kathleen G. Kennedy, Chicago, IL, for plaintiffs-appellees.

Susan Getzendanner, Christina M. Tchen (argued), Charles F. Smith, Kimberley K. Baer, Hilary K. Krane, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Chicago, IL, for defendant-appellee.

Before CUDAHY, RIPPLE, and KANNE, Circuit Judges.

CUDAHY, Circuit Judge.

Twice the Cook County Public Guardian, Patrick Murphy, sought to intervene in this action against the Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Twice his motions were denied. Now, after this court dismissed his appeal of the second denial of intervention and after the two original parties entered a consent decree that the district judge approved as fair, reasonable and adequate, Mr. Murphy appeals both district court orders denying his motions to intervene and also challenges the fairness and adequacy of the consent decree. We dismiss Mr. Murphy's appeal for lack of jurisdiction on grounds of untimeliness and because, with respect to the decree, he lacks standing to challenge the district court's rulings.

Page 198

I.

The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is the state agency responsible for providing protective and welfare services to abused and neglected children and their families. The plaintiffs here--a class of all children who have been or will be in the custody of the DCFS and placed by it somewhere other than with their biological parents--filed suit in June of 1988 seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the Director of the DCFS. 1 They asserted that various DCFS actions violated their right to adequate and safe placements and care under the Fourteenth Amendment, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. §§ 620-28, 670-79(a).

On May 30, 1989, the district court granted in part and denied in part DCFS's motion to dismiss the action. B.H. v. Johnson, 715 F.Supp. 1387 (N.D.Ill.1989). Specifically, the court held that the plaintiffs stated valid claims under the Fourteenth Amendment for violations of their constitutional right "to be free from arbitrary intrusions upon their physical and emotional well-being while directly or indirectly in state custody, and to be provided with adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and minimally adequate training to secure these basic constitutional rights." Id. at 1405. The court also determined that the plaintiffs set forth a proper claim for violations of the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act's case plan and case review requirements, but dismissed the plaintiffs' equal protection claims, their due process claims for violation of state statutory provisions and their remaining substantive due process claims. Id.

After extensive discovery over the course of two years, the parties agreed in August 1990 to the district judge's suggestion that they work toward settlement with the help of court-appointed experts who would assess DCFS's procedures and recommend improvements. The settlement process, conducted pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 706, 2 culminated in the consent decree, which the district court approved on December 20, 1991. This document imposes detailed requirements upon the DCFS in areas ranging from case management and case planning to assessments and accountability.

Mr. Murphy, meanwhile, was not satisfied with how the case was proceeding. He contended that his status as guardian ad litem for thousands of children in the juvenile court system gave him a substantial interest in the proceedings and justified his participation. Under the Juvenile Court Act of Illinois, a guardian ad litem must be appointed upon the filing in state court of a petition alleging child abuse or neglect, Juvenile Court Act § 2-17, Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 37, § 802-17 (1990), and Mr. Murphy serves in that role in the Cook County juvenile court system. In September 1990 he filed a motion to intervene in this case, complaining that the counsel for the plaintiffs' class were inadequately representing them. The district court denied the motion, holding that Mr. Murphy failed to demonstrate a direct interest or to explain why his expertise was essential to resolution of the case. The court also based its denial on timeliness grounds,...

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25 practice notes
  • Associated Press, In re, Nos. 98-1267
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • December 7, 1998
    ...7 F.3d 584, 596 n. 14 (7th Cir.1993) (citing United States v. City of Chicago, 870 F.2d 1256, 1258 (7th Cir.1989)); B.H. v. Murphy, 984 F.2d 196, 199-200 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 508 U.S. 960, 113 S.Ct. 2930, 124 L.Ed.2d 680 (1993). 3 As a starting point, we recall the fundamental proposit......
  • City of Cleveland v. Ohio, No. 06-3611.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • November 21, 2007
    ...appealing anything but the order denying intervention. See In re Assoc. Press, 162 F.3d 503, 506 (7th Cir.1998); B.H. by Pierce v. Murphy, 984 F.2d 196, 199-200 (7th Cir.1993). However, that rule presupposes that the would-be appellant was never a party to the action at all. We hold that a ......
  • U.S. v. Kirschenbaum, Nos. 98-1591
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • December 23, 1998
    ...court and is not a party, can even bring this appeal. Generally, non-parties lack standing to bring appeals. See, e.g., B.H. v. Murphy, 984 F.2d 196, 199 (7th Cir.1993). But non-parties who are bound by a court's equitable decrees have a right to move to have the order dissolved, United Sta......
  • B.H. v. McDonald, No. 94-2307
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • April 7, 1995
    ...position by the selection of arguments. He wants to intervene; yet a panel of this court recently rebuffed that request, B.H. v. Ryder, 984 F.2d 196 (7th Cir.1993), and subsequent events do not justify revisiting so recent a decision. Murphy seeks party status so that he can wrest some cont......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
25 cases
  • Associated Press, In re, Nos. 98-1267
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • December 7, 1998
    ...7 F.3d 584, 596 n. 14 (7th Cir.1993) (citing United States v. City of Chicago, 870 F.2d 1256, 1258 (7th Cir.1989)); B.H. v. Murphy, 984 F.2d 196, 199-200 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 508 U.S. 960, 113 S.Ct. 2930, 124 L.Ed.2d 680 (1993). 3 As a starting point, we recall the fundamental proposit......
  • City of Cleveland v. Ohio, No. 06-3611.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • November 21, 2007
    ...appealing anything but the order denying intervention. See In re Assoc. Press, 162 F.3d 503, 506 (7th Cir.1998); B.H. by Pierce v. Murphy, 984 F.2d 196, 199-200 (7th Cir.1993). However, that rule presupposes that the would-be appellant was never a party to the action at all. We hold that a ......
  • U.S. v. Kirschenbaum, Nos. 98-1591
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • December 23, 1998
    ...court and is not a party, can even bring this appeal. Generally, non-parties lack standing to bring appeals. See, e.g., B.H. v. Murphy, 984 F.2d 196, 199 (7th Cir.1993). But non-parties who are bound by a court's equitable decrees have a right to move to have the order dissolved, United Sta......
  • B.H. v. McDonald, No. 94-2307
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • April 7, 1995
    ...position by the selection of arguments. He wants to intervene; yet a panel of this court recently rebuffed that request, B.H. v. Ryder, 984 F.2d 196 (7th Cir.1993), and subsequent events do not justify revisiting so recent a decision. Murphy seeks party status so that he can wrest some cont......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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