Chicago, Client Results, Firm News, Johnson & Bell, Municipal Liability

Police Officers Vindicated in Arrest of Suspect

May 21, 2018

Johnson & Bell Shareholder, Brian P. Gainer, and Associate Attorney, Michael J. Lizzadro, recently obtained summary judgment in favor of a municipality in Northern Illinois and two of its police officers.  In this federal court dispute, plaintiff alleged that the officers used excessive force in arresting her, resulting in injuries, including a broken arm. Plaintiff testified she was dragged out of a car and thrown to the ground face first. The arrest was captured on video by a squad car camera. Plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $240,000 against the officers for making the arrest.

At the close of discovery, Johnson & Bell moved for summary judgment based upon Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1986). The motion asserted that the officers were justified in using necessary force to make an arrest under state and federal law, and that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity. The court granted summary judgment for Johnson & Bell’s clients, finding that the motion established that the officers were justified in using force on an actively resisting suspect and the officers did not violate the plaintiff’s constitutional rights. The court accepted Messrs. Gainer and Lizzadro’s argument that plaintiff was bound by the events captured on the squad car camera and could not use her deposition testimony to concoct disputed issues of fact that contradicted the video evidence.

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