Our Case Results
Hernandez v. City of Peoria, et al., Trial Win in Deadly Force Case, August 2023
After deliberating for just three hours, a federal jury sided with Peoria Police Officer Ryan Isonhart, finding that his use of deadly force in the July 2018 fatal shooting of Luis Cruz was reasonable. The case was brought by Cruz’s sister in her capacity as the administrator of his estate, asserting excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment and a claim for wrongful death under Illinois law. Judge James E. Shadid presided over the trial. Plaintiff sought $15.6M in compensatory damages and an unspecified amount of punitive damages against Officer Isonhart. Plaintiff was represented by the law firm of Hale & Monico. The City of Peoria and Peoria Police Officer Ryan Isonhart were represented at trial by Joseph Polick and Laura Ranum.
Xavier Patterson v. Village of River Forest, Summary Judgment in Malicious Prosecution Claim, April 2023
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Scott McKenna granted summary judgment for the Village of River Forest and a retired River Forest detective on plaintiff’s malicious prosecution claim stemming from his prosecution for sexual assault. The plaintiff and the purported victim were acquaintances and lived in the same dormitory at Dominican University in River Forest. The Court found that the prosecution was initiated with probable cause, defeating the claim. Defendants were represented by Jim Sotos, John Timbo, and Tom Sotos.
Haynes v. Astrella, et al., Summary Judgment in Alleged Wrongful Conviction Case, January 2023
Plaintiff Terrence Haynes brought a wrongful conviction lawsuit against a former assistant state’s attorney along with several Kankakee police officers, alleging that he was prosecuted without probable cause and denied his due process right to a fair trial in his prosecution and conviction for a 1999 murder. Federal District Judge Colin S. Bruce granted summary judgment in favor of all defendants on all counts. Plaintiff did not appeal. Plaintiff was represented by the law firm of Hale & Monico. Defendants were represented by Jim Sotos, Laura Ranum, and Jeff Kivetz.
Moran v. Calumet City, Seventh Circuit Victory in Alleged Wrongful Conviction Case, November 2022
In November 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed District Court Judge Robert Gettleman’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s wrongful conviction lawsuit on summary judgment. In affirming summary judgment, the Seventh Circuit clarified the contours of a suppression of evidence claim brought pursuant to Brady v. Maryland, holding that a police officer cannot be civilly liable for withholding evidence that is known to the prosecution, even if known only from a source other than the police. Defendants were represented by Jim Sotos and Laura Ranum, and the case was argued before the Seventh Circuit by Laura Ranum. The published opinion can be found at Moran v. Calumet, 54 F.4th 483 (7th Cir. 2022).
Coleman v. City of Peoria, Seventh Circuit Victory in Alleged Wrongful Conviction Case, May 2019
On May 24, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit put to rest Christopher Coleman’s claims that four former Peoria police officers deprived him of a fair criminal trial in 1995 and affirmed the summary judgment granted by Judge Sara Darrow of the Central District. Coleman was represented in the case by the law firm of Loevy and Loevy. Defendants were represented by Jim Sotos, Laura Ranum, and Sara Schroeder, and the appeal was argued before the Seventh Circuit by Laura Ranum. The published opinion can be found at Coleman v. Peoria, et al., 925. F.3d 336 (7th Cir. 2019).
Cole v. Meeks, Trial Win in Alleged Malicious Prosecution Case, April 2019
After deliberating for just two hours, a Peoria County jury found in favor of retired City of Peoria detective Shawn Meeks on a claim that he maliciously prosecuted Steven Cole. Cole was convicted in 2012 of sexually abusing a 20-month-old girl after an investigation revealed that the toddler’s mother discovered significant injuries to her daughter the morning after Cole and his wife babysat the child. In 2015, Cole’s conviction was reversed by the Illinois Appellate Court. Cole’s lawsuit originally alleged he was wrongfully convicted as well as maliciously prosecuted but the federal wrongful conviction claims were dismissed by Federal District Judge Michael M. Mihm before trial. Plaintiff was represented by Kathleen Zellner and Douglas Johnson. The City of Peoria and retired Peoria Police Detective Shawn Meeks were represented at trial by Jim Sotos, John Timbo, Laura Ranum, and Dan McGinnis.
Coleman v. City of Peoria, Summary Judgment in Alleged Wrongful Conviction Case, March 2018
On March 9, 2018, Federal District Judge Sara Darrow granted summary judgment in favor of the City of Peoria and four retired Peoria police officers on claims that they wrongfully prosecuted and convicted Christopher Coleman for his role in a 1994 home invasion and armed robbery. Coleman had alleged several federal and state law claims against the officers and a Monell practice and policy claim against the City itself. The City and its officers were represented by Jim Sotos, Elizabeth Ekl, Laura Ranum, and Sara Schroeder.
Milliman v. County of McHenry, Seventh Circuit Victory in First Amendment Case, June 2018
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of the County of McHenry and several Sheriff’s officers on a former deputy sheriff’s claim that they violated his First Amendment right of free speech. The Plaintiff had claimed that he was terminated him from his employment for testifying in another lawsuit that the Sheriff was engaging in criminal activity, including ticket fixing, bribery, trafficking of illegal aliens, and soliciting the murder of a former judge. The Seventh Circuit agreed that the termination was proper because the Sheriff justifiably relied on a psychologist’s finding that Plaintiff’s bizarre accusations rendered him unfit for duty. The case was argued before the Seventh Circuit by Jeff Given. The published opinion can be found at Milliman v. County of McHenry, 893 F.3d 422 (7th Cir. 2018).
Milliman v. County of McHenry, Summary Judgment in First Amendment Case, July, 2017
Plaintiff alleged that the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office violated his First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of association when he was terminated from his employment as a Sheriff’s deputy. Plaintiff’s termination was in response to a finding of unfitness for duty following Plaintiff’s allegations that the former McHenry County Sheriff was engaging in criminal activity, including ticket fixing, bribery, trafficking of illegal aliens, and soliciting the murder of a former judge. Defendants filed a successful motion for summary judgment arguing the McHenry County Sheriff was justified in terminating Plaintiff in reliance on the findings of a licensed clinical psychologist that Plaintiff was not fit for duty. McHenry County was represented by Jim Sotos, Jeff Given, and Dave Brueggen.
Kondrat v. Village of Westchester, January 2017
Plaintiff alleged that he was arrested with the use of excessive force by several Village of Westchester police officers after Plaintiff admittedly led them on a foot chase. The officers were called to Plaintiff’s residence to investigate a domestic disturbance and fled from one of the arresting officers after being placed in handcuffs. Plaintiff alleged that after he was arrested one or more officers kicked him in his torso, fracturing two ribs. Plaintiff made an initial demand of $75,000, but was forced to accept a nuisance value settlement of $1,500 before Defendants had to respond to the complaint after two witnesses were located who confirmed that Plaintiff fell over a five-foot high fence onto his side during the foot chase. The Village of Westchester was represented by John Timbo.
Flournoy v. Quinn, Trial Win in Fourth Amendment Case, October 2014
A federal jury found two members of the Chicago Police Department’s SWAT Team did not violate Plaintiff Donna Flournoy’s Fourth Amendment rights during the execution of a “high risk” search warrant at the residence of Plaintiff’s son. Plaintiff suffered a blast injury to her knee after rolling on top of a “flash bang” diversionary device tossed inside the residence by one of the Defendants as the SWAT Team was making entry. The Plaintiff asked the jury to assess $3,000,000 in compensatory and punitive damages against the officers. The case was presided over by Judge William Hart in the Northern District of Illinois. The case was tried by Jim Sotos, John Timbo, and Jordan Lejcar.
Livingston v. McDevitt, Trial Win in Fourth Amendment Case, February 2011
A federal jury rejected Willie Livingston’s claim that he was falsely arrested after Chicago Police Officers chased him and allegedly threw him into a metal fence. The jury also found the officers not guilty of excessive force in connection with the orbital fracture Mr. Livingston received when he slipped and hit the corner of the fence during the pursuit. The case was presided over by the Honorable Judge Amy St. Eve in the Northern District of Illinois.
Gauger v. Hendle, Trial Win in McHenry County, August 2009
After a two-week trial and nearly five hours of deliberation, a jury concluded that McHenry County Undersheriff Gene Lowery and retired Detectives Beverly Hendle and Christopher Pandre were not guilty of maliciously prosecuting Gary Gauger for the 1993 murders of his parents. Gary Gauger had claimed that his confession to those crimes was coerced during an 18-hour interrogation. Gauger v. Hendle, No. 03 LA 292, Circuit Court of the 22nd Judicial Circuit, McHenry County, Illinois.
This case was tried by Jim Sotos, John Timbo, and Jeff Given. The case was argued on appeal by Jim Sotos and affirmed by the Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District. The published opinion can be found at Gauger v. Hendle, et al., 2011 IL App (2d) 100316.