Seventh Circuit reverses, in part, district court in Montano v. City of Chicago et. al., 06-2148

Here are the basic facts from this 1997 lawsuit:"Plaintiffs alleged flagrant mistreatment by Chicago police officers during and after the celebration of Mexican Independence Day in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood on September 14, 1997. The five plaintiffs were forcibly arrested and jailed following an altercation between officers and several celebrants on the corner of 25th and Whipple. The plaintiffs describe the incident as a violent police-initiated beating followed by illegal arrests and strip searches at the station house; the City and the officers deny any wrongdoing." Judge Der-Yeghiayan dismissed this case at trial as a sanction, when he found some of the plaintiffs committed perjury at trial. "The plaintiffs argue that the extreme sanction of dismissal was unwarranted in this case because the instances of perjury cited by the district court were merely ambiguities or innocent discrepancies in certain aspects of their testimony. They also argue the sanction unjustly punished Yesenia Mendez and David Mendez, neither of whom were accused of perjury in the officers' motion for sanctions." The Seventh Circuit held "the district court's order and the relevant portions of the record, does not support that the plaintiffs gave "false testimony concerning a material matter with the willful intent to provide false testimony, rather than as a result of confusion, mistake, or faulty memory." "By dismissing the case with prejudice, however, the district judge took the credibility question from the jury--and he did so on the basis of a paper record from a trial that was impermissibly cut short" The Seventh Circuit also reversed, in part, the granting of defendants motion for directed verdict - but upheld the granting of summary judgment by the City and certain named defendants. David Cerda represents the plaintiffs and Jim Sotos represents the defendants