Judge Hibbler Rules No Constitutional Violation in Loevy's Car Accident Case

"On May 19, 2004, 8 year old Gregory Jones and 11 sufficent year old Dantondra Mitchell were struck by an unmarked police car.  Both children were gravely injured and Jones died the next day.  The plaintiffs - parents of the children - allege the officers' reckless driving deprived the victims of their substantive due process rights.  In response, the officers moved for summary judgment and assert vehicular accidents cannot support a finding of constitutional liability. " Judge Hibbler, citing US Supreme Court and Seventh Circuit cases, agreed.  

 
The Court explained:
"The threshold question of any substantive due process challenge is whether the behavior of a state actor 'is so egregious, so outrageous that it may fairly be said to shock the contemporary conscience.'"
 
"Ultimately the [Supreme Court] held the police officers' conduct did not deprive the plaintiff of substantive due process: 'high speed chases with no intent to harm...do not give rise to liability under the Fourteenth Amendment" ...As there was no time for reflection or deliberation it cannot be said the officer's conduct was deliberately indifferent.
 
The Court also discussed the relevant Seventh Case on point, Hill v. Schobe:
In Hill, the officer - who was not chasing a suspect or responding to an emergency call - was driving over the speed limit, and failed to turn on his lights or sirens even though it was after midnight.  Subsequently, the officer ran a red light and struck and killed Robert Hill.  The Seventh Circuit held, "the officer must have knowledge of the danger so the court can "infer he intended to inflict the injury" - He must have known it "was imminent but consciously and culpably refused to prevent it." The key word is accident - "if the vehicular collision was accidental - there is no constitutional liability. "
 
As such, summary judgment was granted in favor of defendants.  
 
Jon Loevy, Arthur Loevy, Douglas Shreffler, Amanda Antholt, Michael Kanovitz, Samantha Liskow, Loevy & Loevy for plaintiffs 
 
Liza Franklin, Steve Borkan, Stellato & Schwatrz, George John Yamin, Jr., Jordan Marsh, Scott Jebson, City of Chicago , for Defendants.

Jones v. City of Chicago 04 C 3742

 

 

 

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.