Notable Cases

  • Notable Cases: Section 1983
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    Jail inmate alleged that correctional officers failed to keep him safe and failed to prevent a fight after a “rival” inmate was let into the same day room. Michael Condon and Jason Rose successfully filed a motion for summary judgment for the officers. In granting the motion, the court ruled that the inmate could not show that the officers acted with “deliberate indifference” – since both the officers and the plaintiff were surprised by the “rival” inmate’s attack. James v. Kankakee County, No. 14-2283 (C.D. Ill. July 1, 2016). Click to read more.

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    Inmate claimed that he was sexually harassed by a correctional officer. The officer was investigated officer on two prior occasions for sexual misconduct by the Sheriff and the FBI but was cleared of any wrongdoing on both occasions. Michael Condon and Tony Fioretti represented the Sheriff and filed a motion for summary judgment. The court granted the motion, finding that it was reasonable for the Sheriff to believe the officer did not pose a risk to inmates, especially after an independent investigation by the FBI. Brewer v. Bukowski, et al., Case No. 13-cv-2256, (C.D. Ill. Jan. 7, 2016). Click to read more.

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    Jail inmate complained of not receiving adequate pain medication for his hernia. He sued the Chief of Corrections, alleging that the Chief was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. Michael Condon and Anthony Becknek successfully defended the Chief before the district and appellate courts, winning a summary judgment motion based on lack of personal involvement. Riley v. Kolitwenzew, No. 15-1137 (7th Cir. Mar. 18, 2016). Click to read more.

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    Arrestee alleged claims for excessive force and unlawful search and seizure. The plaintiff fled a traffic stop and drove across a lawn and into a garage and then approached officer on foot and refused to lower his hands and get on ground. Officer forced him to ground at gunpoint. District Court granted summary judgment for officers, finding that officer used reasonable force and enjoyed qualified immunity for seizure of the vehicle. The officer was defended by Mike Bersani and Tony Fioretti. Thompson v. Vill. of Monee, No. 1:12-cv-5020, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3291 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 12, 2016). Click to read more.

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    Jail inmate claimed that the jail did not give him his pain medication for 9 days following surgery and then gave him a different medication than prescribed by his primary care physician. After the District Court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, Mike Bersani and Yordana Wysocki appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals. The Court reversed and found in favor of the jail officials and medical staff. The inmate was not entitled to his choice of medication, and the evidence showed only a 2-day delay in receiving medications, not a 9-day delay. The Court held that the 2-day delay was de minimis and thus not actionable. Burton v. Downey, No. 14-3591 (7th Cir. Oct. 8, 2015) (unpublished). Click to read more.

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    Inmate filed suit alleging that jail officials failed to protect him against an attack by a fellow inmate. Following a bench trial, the District Court ruled in favor of the defendants, and the verdict was upheld on appeal. HC&B attorneys Michael Condon and Jason Rose represented the officers and sheriff at trial. Russell v. Bukowski, 608 Fed. Appx. 426 (7th Cir. 2015) Click to read more.

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    Arrestee sued police officers alleging excessive use of force following 45 minute vehicle pursuit. Police used K-9 to assist in removing the plaintiff from his truck after it had crashed into a residential fence. Plaintiff claimed that he was beaten with batons and punched and kicked both before and after being handcuffed. Federal judge granted summary judgment to officers based on use of K-9 and use of force prior to handcuffing. Martin v. Luckett, No. 07 C 2800, 2011 WL 1231024 (N.D. Ill.). The rest of the case was tried before a federal jury in Chicago. The jury returned a verdict for the officers. HC&B attorneys Mike Bersani represented the officers. Martin v. Luckett, No. 07 C 2800 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 2012). Click to read more.

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    Plaintiff claimed that the police entered her home without consent and unlawfully removed her ostensibly for mental health reasons. In the process, the plaintiff resisted, resulting in a broken wrist. A federal judge in Chicago granted summary judgment for the officers. The officers were represented by Chuck Hervas, Mike Bersani, and Yordana Wysocki. Fitzgerald v. Santoro, No. 12-1487, 707 F.3d 725 (7th Cir. 2013). Click to read more.

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    Arrestee complained that officers did not have probable cause for arrest, which was based on a physical and clothing description from a minor witness and the arrestee’s vicinity to the crime scene immediately following the crime. Michael Condon and Yordana Wysocki successfully defended the arresting officers in the district and appellate courts. Fleming v. Livingston County, 674 F.3d 874 (7th Cir. 2012). Click to read more.

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    Muslim inmate at county jail sued jail officials over denial of prayer rug and religious diet. Federal court found that special diet was not prescribed by doctor and that denial of prayer rug was not unlawful because inmate could use towel as a substitute. Murrell v. Bukowski, No. 08-2044. Click to read more.

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    Jail inmate claimed that he was extracted from his cell by correctional officers through the use of excessive force, including use of a Taser. The case was tried before a federal court jury in Urbana, and a verdict was returned in favor of the correctional officers. HC&B attorneys Mike Bersani and Yordana Wysocki represented the correctional officers. Murrell v. Kankakee County Sheriff (2011).

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    Jail inmate alleged that the use of a Taser to compel his compliance with an order was excessive given his lack of threatening behavior and lack of any immediate safety concerns. A federal jury returned a verdict in favor of correctional officer.  The officer was represented at trial by Michael Condon and Yordana Wysocki. Cintora v. Downey, et. al. (2010). Click to read more.

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    Two sisters accused City of Urbana police officers of false arrest and use of excessive force.  Officers used mace on one sister and straight-arm takedown tactics on the other sister, who was recovering from a recent brain surgery.  Federal jury returned a verdict in favor of the officers.  The officers were represented by Mike Bersani and Urbana City Attorney Ronald O’Neal. Dorris v. City of Urbana, et. al. (2010).

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    A 27-year-old inmate committed suicide while detained at the local county jail. The inmate’s estate filed a deliberate indifference claim against the correctional officers. Michael Condon and Jason Rose successfully defended the jail staff and obtained summary judgment in their favor. Dunn v. Rice, No. 04-2280 (C.D. Ill. 2007). Click to read more.

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    Arrestee, who was accused of murder, sued police for false arrest but was subsequently found guilty in the criminal case. Federal judge held that the civil suit was barred by criminal conviction. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently affirmed the lower court’s decision. Michael Condon represented the Village of Riverdale in the case. Simpson v. Rowan, No. 04-1897125 Fed. Appx. 720 (7th Cir. 2005).

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    A Village of Hampshire police sergeant was murdered while on duty. Within 24 hours his best friend was arrested by Kane County sheriff’s deputies. After his acquittal in the criminal case, the plaintiff sued the deputies for wrongful arrest and prosecution. Federal court held that the deputies had probable cause for the arrest and prosecution. Carroccia v. Anderson, No. 02 C 3916, 2004 WL 2032754 (N.D. Ill. 2004)Click to read more.

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    Father of deceased 19-year-old daughter sued jail officials for failing to prevent daughter’s suicide by hanging in county jail. The decedent was not immediately screened for suicide and was temporarily detained in visitation room where she hung herself on a phone cord. The defendants moved for summary judgment based on the argument that they did not know the decedent was suicidal and did not act deliberately indifferent with regard to her safety. A federal judge in Rockford granted summary judgment for the defendants. Mike Bersani represented the county and jail officials. Brantley v. DeKalb County, 10 CV 50075 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 8, 2011). Click to read more.

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    Inmate alleged that excessive force was used when the officers used force to restrain and subdue the inmate in order to remove a plastic bag which he put into his mouth during an arrest inventory. Michael Condon successfully tried the case before a jury in Urbana. Brandon v. Renaker, No. 05-cv-2246 (C.D. 2007). Click to read more.

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    Male arrestee informed booking officer that he was depressed and had previously attempted suicide. Jail officers placed him in special needs cell. Arrestee was found hanging by a make-shift rope in his cell. Federal court found that jail officials did not act deliberately indifferent to arrestee’s risk of suicide and that the jail had constitutionally adequate jail suicide policies. Michael Condon represented the jail officials in the case. Rapier v. Kankakee County, No. 00-cv-2089, 203 F.Supp.2d 978 (C.D. Ill. 2002).

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    Female arrestee, who had not indicated depression or suicidal behavior upon booking, committed suicide in cell. Federal court held that jail was not deliberately indifferent to risk of suicide by inmates housed in general population. Michael Condon represented the jail staff. Ownbey v. Kankakee County.

  • Notable Cases: Local Gov't Litigation
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    Son brought suit on behalf of his father’s estate after his father was killed in a train and car collision in Vance Township, Illinois. Son argued that the township improperly designed the crossing to include an ultrahazardous approach and then failed to maintain the signage to the south of the crossing. Michael Condon and Yordana Wysocki represented the defendant township in the case and won summary judgment. Arnold v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., No. 10 L 11 (Vermillion County 2015).

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    Mother brought suit as special administrator of the estate of her daughter following a fatal car crash in Kankakee. Plaintiffs alleged that the county should have implemented a plan to improve a known dangerous intersection. Michael Condon and Jason Rose successfully filed a motion to dismiss on tort immunity grounds. Little v. Kankakee, No. 13 L 131 (Kankakee County 2015).

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    Losing candidate for the office of village president sued county clerk alleging irregularities and problems with the ballots during the 2013 election. Michael Condon represented the county clerk and successfully won a motion to dismiss. Watson v. Clark, No. 13 MR 331 (Kankakee County 2015).

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    Decedent’s wife brought suit after her husband committed suicide by cop by approaching the Marshall County deputy with a knife raised. Michael Condon and Jason Rose successfully won summary judgment for the deputy. The decision was affirmed on appeal. Sheets v. Strawn, 2012 IL App (3d) 110659-U. Click to read more.

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    Plaintiff sued after tripping and falling on an uneven sidewalk and breaking her arm. Mike Bersani and Yordana Wysocki successfully defended the Village before both the trial court and appellate court, asserting immunities under the Tort Immunity Act. Harms v. Vill. of Romeoville, 2011 IL App (3d) 100858-U. Click to read more.

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    Parents of deceased teenage daughter sued Village for failing to enforce its municipal code regarding sightlines at the intersection where daughter was killed in a car accident. Mike Bersani successfully argued that the Illinois Tort Immunity Act barred the claims and that the Village did not have a duty of care to enforce its ordinance. Pouk v. Vill. of Romeoville, 405 Ill. App. 3d 194 (3d Dist. 2010). Click to read more.

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    Intoxicated motorist killed in accident after high speed chase by police.  Appellate court upheld summary judgment in favor of Warrenville police officer finding that officer’s conduct was not the proximate cause of motorist’s death. Kimber v. City of Warrenville, 248 Ill. App.3d 361, 617 N.E.2d 1263 (2nd Dist. 1993).  The officer was represented by Chuck Hervas and Mike Bersani. Click to read more.

  • Notable Cases: Municipal and Park District Law
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    A billboard company tenant challenged the Village’s authority to enforce an agreement with the property owner that conditioned zoning on the removal of the billboard. HC&B attorney Chuck Hervas successfully defended the Village’s actions, and the Court upheld the agreement. CBS Outdoor, Inc. v. Vill. of Itasca, 2011 IL App. (2d ) 101117. Click to read more.

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    Village of Itasca sued local business and Village of Lisle for conspiring to establish sham sales office in Lisle for purpose of falsely reporting sales taxes as originating in Lisle. Illinois appellate court held that Itasca could sue for declaratory and injunctive relief for false tax situs reporting. Village of Itasca v. Village of Lisle, 352 Ill. App. 3d 817 N.E.2d 160 (2nd Dist. 2004). Click to read more.

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    Interracial married couple sued the village for limiting the number of children that could be served in couple’s home day care business. A federal judge found no evidence of racial motive. The village was represented by Mike Bersani. Roberts v. Village of Shorewood. Click to read more.

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    Neighboring residents sued the village for special use permit granted to construct two five-story condominium buildings. Plaintiffs claimed, among other things, that their cross-examination rights during plan commission public hearing were violated. Both trial and appellate court disagreed and upheld village’s ordinances. The village was represented by Mike Bersani and Chuck Hervas. Aspito v. Village of Itasca (DuPage County 2005).

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    Landowner sued the village for denial of use of dirt road located on village property to access proposed marina project. Illinois appellate and trial courts limited scope of landowner’s rights and held that landowner could not use road to develop marina. The village was represented by Mike Bersani.  Limestone v. Village of Lemont, 284 Ill. App. 3d 848 (1st Dist. 1996)Click to read more.

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    Local landowner sued for disconnection from village. The village argued that landowner could not disconnect because property was subject to current annexation agreement. Illinois circuit court agreed and dismissed petition for disconnection. The village was represented by Chuck Hervas and Mike Bersani. Quality Screw & Nut Corp. v. Village of Itasca. 

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    Landowners were denied variance to split lot in order to build two single-family detached homes. Illinois appellate court upheld denial because the two lots lacked adequate area to qualify as buildable lots under village ordinance. The village was represented by Michael Condon and Mike Bersani. D’Amico v. Village of Palos Park. 

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    County denied landowners’ request for special use and variance to operate religious school. Circuit court held that county’s ordinance did not violate landowners’ religious freedoms. The Village was represented by Chuck Hervas. Anthony v. Kankakee County, 304 Ill. App. 3d 1040 (3rd Dist. 1999).

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    Landowner claimed that several villages and public officials illegally conspired to prevent the construction of low-income housing. Federal appellate court held that developer could not recover lost profits and otherwise limited developers’claims. The Village was represented by Chuck Hervas and Mike Bersani. Creek v. Westhaven, 80 F.3d 186 (7th Cir. 1996).

  • Notable Cases: Employment Matters
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    Former police officer sued, seeking benefits under the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act (PSEBA) thirteen years after receiving his line-of-duty pension in 2000 for an injury sustained in 1993. The DuPage County Circuit Court granted summary judgment in the village’s favor, and the appellate court affirmed, holding that the officer’s claim was time-barred since his suit was filed over a decade after receiving his line-of-duty pension. Chuck Hervas represented the Village. Hancock v. Vill. of Itasca, 2016 IL App (2d) 150677 Click to read more.

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    A police officer was terminated after he had two altercations with anti-abortion demonstrators while on and off duty. The Board of Police and Fire Commissioners found his testimony untruthful and his abusive and degrading conduct unbecoming of an officer. The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of the city and commissioners and found that the officer’s statements were not constitutionally protected under First Amendment because the state’s interests in running an efficient and effective police department outweighed his speech interests and that his speech directly conflicted with his responsibilities as a police officer. The Seventh Circuit Appellate Court affirmed. Chuck Hervas represented the commissioners during the proceedings. Lalowski v. City of Des Plaines, 789 F.3d 784, 787 (7th Cir. 2015). Click to read more.

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    Chuck Hervas effectively prosecuted charges filed by the Chief of Police against Officer Stephen Peterson for misconduct stemming from Stephen’s acceptance and concealment of weapons and money from his father, Drew Peterson, during an Illinois State Police investigation into the disappearance of Drew’s wife. After he was terminated by the Police and Fire Commission, Officer Stephen Peterson filed suit for administrative review. HC&B attorney Chuck Hervas successfully defended the decision of the Commission before the DuPage Circuit Court and the Second District Court of Appeals. Peterson v. Vill. of Oak Brook, 2013 IL App (2d) 130388-U. Click to read more.

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    Police officer applicant sued chief of police for failing to hire him on account of his race. Following a hung jury, a federal judge held that there was insufficient evidence of discrimination to warrant a retrial. Mike Bersani and Jason Rose successfully tried the case. The Village of Sugar Grove was represented by Michael Condon and Jason Rose in the case. Pirela v. Village of Sugar Grove, 966 F. Supp. 661 (N. D. Ill. 1997). Click to read more.

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    Probationary female police officer sued five supervisors from the Village of Lombard for alleged sexual harassment and unlawful termination. Federal jury rendered verdict in favor of police supervisors after a three-week trial. Michael Condon represented the Lombard defendant officers at trial. Murray v. Kutzke, 967 F. Supp. 337 (N.D. Ill. 1997)

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    Former deputy sheriffs sued sheriff, claiming that they were fired in retaliation for the support of sheriff’s opponent. The federal appeals court held that the sheriff was entitled to qualified immunity, since it was not clearly established at time of the firings that deputies were protected from patronage firings. Chuck Hervas and Michael Condon represented the Sheriff in the case. Upton v. Thompson, 930 F.2d 1209 (7th Cir. 1991).

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    Mike Bersani represented Pace Bus Company in suit by former Pace bus driver alleging that he was terminated because of a medical disability in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Federal court held that termination was lawful because plaintiff had failed to pass medical evaluation required by Pace policy and federal regulations. Green v. Pace Suburban Bus, 02 C 3031, 2004 WL 1574246 (N.D. Ill. 2004)Click to read more.

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    Female police officer sued village for violation of ADA and Title VII.  Federal court dismissed case and held that village’s reason for placing officer on administrative leave and ordering her to undergo psychological exam was not a pretext for discrimination.  Davis-Durnil v. Village of Carpentersville, 128 F.Supp.2d 575 (N.D. Ill. 2001). Click to read more.

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    Jury verdict in favor of former chief of police and deputy chief who were fired from their jobs with the town of Cicero in retaliation for cooperating with a federal corruption investigation. Jury awarded plaintiffs $1.7 million. Niebur v. Town of Cicero, 212 F. Supp. 2d 790 (N.D.Ill. 2002).

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    Jury verdict for police lieutenant who was subjected to termination proceedings in retaliation for his support of mayor’s opponent. Jury awarded lieutenant $12.5 million. Case was tried by Chuck Hervas and Mike Bersani. Comanda v. City of Country Club Hills, No. 99 C 1708 (N.D. Ill. 2001).

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    Former Itasca police officer sued for administrative review stemming from his termination by local police board for lying during internal investigation. Appellate Court upheld termination.  Chuck Hervas successfully defended the police board. Valio v. Bd. of Fire and Police Commissioners of Village of Itasca, 311 Ill. App. 3d 321 (2nd Dist. 2000). Click to read more.