Plaintiffs Drop Claims Against Individual Defendants in Brown v. Cook County, et al.

February 7, 2018

Plaintiffs, female Cook County Assistant Public Defenders, filed suit in November 2017, against Cook County, its Sheriff Tom Dart and his office, and Plaintiffs’ employer, the Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli and her office, the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender. Plaintiffs alleged that the Sheriff and the Public Defender violated their rights to equal protection by failing to stop jail inmates from exposing themselves and masturbating in front of them. Plaintiffs sued Sheriff Dart and Public Defender Campanelli in their individual and official capacities.

District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly entered an agreed preliminary injunction orders on November 28th, which require the Sheriff to handcuff serial masturbators while at the criminal courthouse, provide jumpsuits designed to thwart indecent exposure to serial masturbators, and assign deputies to the lockup areas at the courthouse. The Public Defender had previously issued a directive prohibiting Assistant Public Defenders from entering the lockups at the courthouse, and this directive has been rescinded as a result of the increased sheriff’s staff at the courthouse.

Public Defender Campanelli moved to dismiss the claims against her in her individual capacity, arguing that Plaintiffs had not stated a claim for violation of their rights and, in any event, that their claims were barred by qualified immunity. Plaintiffs responded to the motion by voluntarily dismissing all individual capacity claims against Campanelli and Sheriff Dart. Michael Condon, Mike Bersani, and Yordana Wysocki represent Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli in her individual capacity in the suit.

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