Jury Awards Ryan Hallett $450,000

 A jury in Rockford, Illinois has awarded plaintiff Ryan Hallett $450,000 in his civil rights trial against Village of Richmond police officer Brian Quilici. Hallett claimed that he was handcuffed, beaten and kicked in the face by Quilici outside a bar. Hallett was represented by Russell Ainsworth from the law firm of Loevy & Loevy. 

Federal Jury Finds In Favor Of Chicago Police In 100 Pound Marijuana Arrest Case

 After a week-long trial, a federal court jury found in favor of Chicago police officers Sean Whelan and Elise Padilla, who had been sued for false arrest and unlawful entry by plaintiffs Maria Leyva and Laura Leyva. The case stemmed from a 2005 drug bust. On May 24, 2005, Officer Whelan received information from a confidential informant that the informant had purchased marijuana from Rapheal Leyva and Humberto Leyva (sons of Maria and brothers of Laura)  at 312 East 117th Street. Officers Whelan and Padilla went to the 117th Street address and spoke to Maria Leyva and advised her that they were informed that drugs were being sold from the house. Maria Leyva gave them consent to search the house and that search revealed the presence of 100 pounds of marijuana in an upstairs bedroom belonging to Laura Leyva, who had just returned home when the marijuana was found. Maria Leyva told the Officers that  she was aware there was marijuana in the house but not that much and that the bedroom where the marijuana was found belonged to Humberto, not Laura. Maria, Laura and Humberto Leyva were all arrested and charged with felony possession of narcotics with intent to sell. Maria and Laura spent two months in jail before charges against them were dropped. Humberto plead guilty to possession of marijuana with intent to sell. In the civil suit, Maria Leyva claimed that she never consented to a search of her home and that she never told the Officers she was aware of marijuana in the house. Laura Leyva claimed she had no knowledge of marijuana in the house and that the closet where the marijuana was found belonged to Humberto. Each plaintiff asked the jury to award them $3.3 million in damages, for a total of $6.6 million. The jury rejected the plaintiff's claims and found in favor of Officers Whelan and Padilla. Officers Whelan and Padilla were represented at trial by attorneys Scott Jebson and Suyon Reed from the City of Chicago Corporation Counsel's Office. Plaintiffs were represented by attorneys Joel Ostrander, Sam Amirante and Pam Curran. Judge Ronald A. Guzman presided over the trial.   

Judge Reduces Jury Verdict Against Chicago Police from $7.9 Million to $1.9 Million

 In a 17-page Order dated January 26, 2009, United States District Court Judge Ruben Castillo reduced a jury verdict against the City of Chicago and three Chicago police officers from $7.9 million to $1.9 million. The plaintiff in the case, Rachelle Jackson, had sued three Chicago police officers and the City of Chicago claiming she was falsely arrested and detained for attempting to disarm a Chicago police officer. Ms. Jackson was arrested on November 19, 2002 for attempting to disarm Chicago police officer Kelly Brogan after Brogan's squad car was involved in a serious automobile accident. Ms. Jackson admitted to pulling Officer Brogan out of the squad car and placing her in a "full nelson" hold but claimed she was trying to rescue Officer Brogan, not disarm her. Ms. Jackson spent ten months in jail before her criminal charges were ultimately dismissed at trial. Ms. Jackson then filed a civil suit against the Chicago police officers involved in her arrest. Following a nine-day jury trial, the jury awarded Ms. Jackson $7.9 million on her various claims. In granting the defendants' motion for a remittitur, Judge Castillo agreed that the jury's damage award was "monstrously excessive," not rationally related to the evidence presented, and out of range with awards in similar cases. Judge Castillo noted that "[t]here was no evidence that Plaintiff requires professional treatment for mental or emotional distress (other than her alcohol treatment), nor was there any evidence of lost wages, medical expenses, or other out-of-pocket losses. Based on the evidence an award of $7.9 million in compensatory damages was grossly excessive." Judge Castillo reduced plaintiff's compensatory damages to $1.9 million. This is only the second time in fifteen years that Judge Castillo has modified a jury verdict. Defendants were represented at trial by attorneys Andrew Hale, Avi Kamionski and Ebone Liggins of the law firm of Andrew M. Hale & Associates, LLC.

Cook County Jury Finds In Favor of Police Detective and City in Police Shooting Lawsuit

            On Thursday, September 4, 2008 a Cook County jury found in favor of Chicago Police Detective Luke Daly and the City of Chicago in a lawsuit stemming from a 2004 police shooting.

On October 27, 2004, plaintiff David Wilson was arrested on the north side of Chicago by the police and was brought to the Area 3 police station pursuant to an arrest warrant for two rapes.  Detective Daly was not one of the officers who arrested Wilson, but was the primary detective investigating the rape cases.  The arresting officers searched plaintiff upon arrest and placed him in an interview room on a bench handcuffed to a ring on the wall.   


The next day, Detective Daly went to Area 3 to receive a Department commendation and to have photographs taken with his family.  At this time, he was informed that Wilson was in custody, and he proceed to interview him about the rapes.  Wilson initially denied the rapes, but after being presented with evidence to the contrary, including DNA evidence, he requested something to eat and a cigarette.  Detective Daly went to the lock up, made Wilson a sandwich, went back to the interview room and gave Wilson the sandwich and a cigarette.  Detective Daly uncuffed Wilson from the ring on the wall so he could use his hands to eat and smoke, leaving one handcuff attached to Wilson’s wrist and the other loose.      


Detective Daly then left the interview room to get the rape victims and arrange for a lineup.  A short time later, Detective Daly heard Wilson yell out from the interview room requesting another cigarette.  When Detective Daly opened the door to the interview room to give him a cigarette, Wilson attacked him with the dangling handcuff and a screwdriver.  Wilson apparently found the screwdriver after moving one of the tiles in the false ceiling in the interview room.  There was evidence presented at the trial that maintenance and installation work had recently been done in the interview room.  After being attacked, Detective Daly then shot Wilson three times, paralyzing him from the waist down.  


Wilson subsequently sued Detective Daly and the City of Chicago on the basis that the shooting was wilful and wanton.  He alleged that he never threatened Detective Daly and that Daly performed street justice and attempted to execute him; or alternatively, he alleged that, even if he had attacked Detective Daly, it was because Daly failed to follow proper procedures, putting Wilson in a position where he was able to attack Daly. The City argued that Daly was justified in shooting since Wilson was trying to kill him.


At the close of the eighty-day trial, Wilson asked the jury to award $28.5 million in damages.  Jurors deliberated for five hours before finding in favor of Detective Daly and the City.  


Scott Jebson and David Selmer of the Corporation Counsel's Officer represented the defendant at trial. 


Steve Muslin and Craig Sanberg of Muslin & Sanberg represented the Plaintiff

Federal Jury Awards Ted White $14 Million

A federal jury in Kansas City has awarded plaintiff Ted White $14 million in compensatory damages in his wrongful conviction trial. White is a former Lee's Summit businessman who was charged with child molestation ten years ago. White sued Lee's Summit police officer Richard McKinley, who was the lead investigator on the case. McKinley had an affair with White's wife shortly after White was arrested, but the affair was not disclosed during White's trial. McKinley wound up marrying White's wife after the two got divorced. White spent almost six years in prison before his conviction was overturned on appeal. White's attorneys convinced the jury that White was denied the right to a fair trial. White's attorneys argued that McKinley failed to disclose a diary of White's daughter - White defended the decision, stating the diary did not contain information relating to sexual abuse. The diary disappeared before White's first criminal trial. White's attorneys also argued that McKinley tainted the investigation by speaking with White's daughter before she submitted to a forensic interview. The jury also awarded $2 million in punitive damages against White. White was represented by Mike Kanovitz of the Chicago law firm of Loevy & Loevy.

Verdict for Defense!!!

On July 31, 2008, federal jury returned verdict in favor of Chicago Police: The case is Willie Luckett v. Police Officers CONLAN and PALIDER. 07 C 3300. Plaintiff claimed that on June 28, 2005, the SOS Defendants falsely arrested him and caused him to be subjected to a malicious prosecution. Plaintiff also claimed that the SOS Defendants conspired with other non-named SOS Defendants to falsely arrest and maliciously prosecute him by raiding a apartment he was in for drugs, and arresting him for drugs that were not his. Plaintiff claimed SOS defendants then created false reports to coverup their raid. Plaintiff claimed severe emotional injuries as a result. In actuality, Defendant Officers arrested Plaintiff on June 28, 2005 in the alley behind the address of 4930 S. Laflin in Chicago, for possession of a controlled substance, after recieving info from a anonymous citizen about drug sales. Officers then approached for field interview and observed in plain view plaintiff discard suspect narcotics. This case was tried before Judge Delow. Jury returned a verdict in favor of defendants on all counts. Defendants were represented by Tom Freitag, Tom Aumann, and Arlene Martin - Corporation Counsel's Office Plaintiff was represented by Ed Fox & Associates

Jury Rejects Wrongful Death Suit Brought By The Family Of Chicago Blues Drummer Fred Grady

A federal court jury yesterday swiftly rejected a wrongful death lawsuit that had been filed by the family of Chicago Blues drummer Fred Grady. After a week long trial, the jury returned its verdict in little over an hour in favor of the City of Chicago and Chicago police officers. Judge Ruben Castillo was the presiding judge in the suit that was heard in the Northern District of Illinois. Grady was involved in a traffic accident on April 8, 2003. He was later arrested and charged with trespassing when he attempted to gain access to his vehicle which had been towed to a private lot. Grady was taken to the police lock-up at 10:30 p.m. He was found dead in his cell at approximately 1:30 a.m. An autopsy conducted by Dr. Eupil Choi of the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office revealed that Grady died of coronary heart disease and the cause of death was natural. At trial, attorneys for Grady's estate contended that Grady died as the result of a police beating in his cell. The jury rejected that claim and found in favor of the City and officers. The defendants were represented by Liza Franklin from the  City of Chicago's Corporation Counsel's office. The plaintiffs were represented by Berve Power. Plaintiffs had asked the jury to award them over $40 million dollars in damages.

Jury Rules In Favor Of Chicago Police In Porch Shooting Case

A state court jury returned a quick verdict in favor of Chicago police officers who shot and killed 39-year old Joseph Zagar on May 3, 2004. The officers shot Zagar after he refused to put down what the police thought was a gun but turned out to be a large battery pack. The case was defended by Thomas Samson of the City of Chicago Corporation Counsel's Office. Judge Elrod presided over the trial. More to follow.

Michael Evans Appeals Jury Verdict In Favor Of Ten Former Chicago Police Officers

Plaintiff Michael Evans has filed his appellate brief with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Evans had sued ten former Chicago Police Officers claiming they framed him for the rape and murder of nine-year old Lisa Cabassa back in 1976. Evans was convicted of that crime in 1977 and spent 27 years in prison until being released in 2003 based on the results of DNA testing. Evans later received an innocence pardon from Governor Blagojevich. In August 2006, a jury found in favor of the ten Chicago Police Officers and against Evans. Evans had asked the jury to award him over $50 million in damages.The main issue raised in Evans' appeal is that several of the former Officers were allowed to give depositions shortly before trial after having previously asserted their Fifth Amendment rights. Evans claims he was prejudiced by these depositions, but did not ask District Court Judge David Coar to continue the trial date. The ten former Chicago Police Officers were represented by Andrew Hale, Eileen Rosen and John Rock from the law firm of Rock Fusco, LLC. Michael Evans was represented by Jon Loevy of Loevy & Loevy, Flint Taylor from the People's Law Office and Locke Bowman from the MacArthur Justice Center.

Jury Awards ATF Agents $9.75 Million

Yesterday, a federal court jury awarded Michael Casali and his wife Diane Klipfel, both of whom were ATF agents, $9.75 million in damages. The jury found that the City of Chicago failed to properly investigate reports of corruption against former Chicago Police Officer Joseph Miedzianowski, which allowed him to terrorize the couple over a period of years. Back in 1992, Klipfel worked on a case with Miedzianowski and reported that he had robbed a drug dealer. The couple claims that later on Miedzianowski stalked and terrorized them. Chicago Police Superintendent Phil Cline testified in the trial that the department conducted three internal investigations of Miedzianowski, but he was never disciplined. The plaintiffs were represented by attorney Sally Saltzberg. The City of Chicago was represented by Stephen Baker of the City of Chicago Law Department.

City Of Chicago Settles With Estate Of Cornelius Ware For $5.25 Million

Last Friday, a federal court jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff, the estate of Cornelius Ware, and against the City of Chicago, in the liability phase of plaintiff's civil rights trial. The damages phase was scheduled to commence this week. However, over the weekend, the City of Chicago settled with the plaintiff's estate, agreeing to pay $5.25 million in damages. During the week long trial, plaintiff's attorney Jon Loevy argued that the Chicago Police shot Cornelius Ware when his hands were above his head in a gesture of surrender. The City countered that Ware pointed a gun at the Police Officers, which lead to the shooting. A gun was recovered from Ware's vehicle. Loevy argued that the Police Officers planted the gun, noting that there was no blood on the gun and that there were no fingerprints suitable for comparison obtained from the gun. The nine-person jury heard closing arguments last Friday, and reached their verdict late Friday afternoon. Judge Joan Lefkow presided over the trial.

Federal Jury Awards $9 Million To Waukegan Man

On Tuesday, October 17, 2006, a jury awarded Waukegan resident Alejandro Dominguez $9 million in damages in his civil rights lawsuit. Dominguez had sued the city of Waukegan and former Waukegan Police Lieutenant Paul Hendley.  Dominguez, now 33 years old, was convicted of rape in 1990 when he was 16 years old. He spent four years in prison. Dominguez later conducted DNA testing which showed that his DNA did not match DNA from the crime scene. In 2002, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich granted Dominguez an innocence pardon. Dominguez claimed that Hendley caused the rape victim to falsely identify Dominguez. Toward the end of the two-week trial, the court granted Waukegan's motion for a directed finding and the case proceeded solely against Hendley. The case was tried in the Northern District of Illinois before the Honorable Milton I. Shadur. Dominguez was represented by Jon Loevy from Loevy & Loevy. The defendants were represented by Waukegan attorney Mike Noonan.