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.

Jerry Miller Files Suit Against City Of Chicago And Retired Police Officers

Jerry Miller has filed a federal court civil rights lawsuit against the City of Chicago and several retired Chicago Police Officers. Miller was arrested in 1981 and charged with raping a woman at a parking garage at 506 N. Rush Street in Chicago. Two parking lot attendants identified Miller from a police lineup as the person attempting to drive the rape victim's car out of the parking structure while the victim was locked in the trunk. Miller was convicted at his criminal trial and spent 26 years in prison. In July 2006 the Cook County State's Attorney's Office agreed to post-conviction DNA testing that showed that Miller was not the contributor of a DNA profile found on the victim's clothing. Miller has now filed suit against the City of Chicago and several now-retired Chicago Police Officers. Miller alleges, among other things, that the Officers told the two parking lot attendants to pick Miller out of a police lineup. The factual basis for this allegation is unknown at this time and the two parking lot attendants are deceased. The case has been assigned to District Court Judge Suzanne Conlon. Miller is represented by John Stainthorp at the Peoples Law Office. The Police Officer Defendants are represented by Andrew M. Hale and Avi Kamionski from Andrew M. Hale & Associates.

Seventh Circuit Affirms Sanction Against Frequent Plaintiff Prince Foryoh

In a published opinion in In Re City of Chicago, No. 07-2608,  the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reaffirmed its prior orders sanctioning Prince Foryoh for making false statements on his application for in forma pauperis ("IFP") status. The prior orders barred Foryoh from conducting any federal litigation until all of his outstanding fees and costs, in all of his cases had been paid. The appeal arose after the district courts in Foryoh's pending cases determined that they would allow Foryoh to litigate his pending cases notwithstanding the court's orders. When the defendants objected, the district court judges referred the matter to the Executive Committee, which issued orders stating that barring Foryoh from proceeding would raise due process concerns and prejudice the defendants, since the cases would have to be stayed until Foryoh could pay. On the City's motion, the Seventh Circuit reaffirmed its prior sanctions. The court rejected the view that the sanctions posed any constitutional problem, and described the sanction as "modest." The court emphasized that Foryoh had filed frivolous lawsuits and attempted to defraud both the judiciary and his opponents. The court also rejected the idea that Foryoh's cases would have to be stayed, stating that Foryoh must meet the normal schedule for civil litigation, and that if he fails to do so, his suits must be dismissed with prejudice for failure to prosecute. The court did clarify that once Foryoh pays what he owes, he is entitled to have the order lifted immediately. Avi Kamionski handled the case in the district court and Myriam Kasper handled the appeal.