Johnson & Bell’s Municipal Law Group has recently partnered with the City of Chicago to defend the numerous lawsuits that are filed each year against the City’s Police Department and its officers alleging excessive force, unlawful arrest, and other Constitutional violations. The City’s retention of Johnson & Bell is part of its new strategy of taking these cases to trial and not settling them (as it had in the past). The goal of the new strategy is to save millions of dollars that the City previously disbursed to settle these matters.
Thus far, the City’s strategy is working due in large part to the success of Johnson & Bell’s lawyers trying these cases. Johnson & Bell’s lawyers have tried nine cases to verdict in federal court on behalf of the City of Chicago Police Department since April and have achieved favorable results in all of them, including seven verdicts of “not guilty.” The change in the City’s legal strategy and the dividends it is paying were recently detailed in an article in the Chicago Sun Times. As stated in the article, the City of Chicago anticipates that 50 percent fewer police misconduct cases will be filed this year than in 2009. The share of cases resolved through settlements has fallen from about 67 percent in 2009 to about 24 percent this year through the end of September, officials said. According to the article, the results achieved thus far have been “astonishing.”