Civil Rights Litigation, Damages: News and Publications

Murphy v. Smith

"Incarcerated men and women too often suffer horrific abuses that call out for recompense and deterrence... The lower court in this case imposed a rule that every damage award in a case 'brought by a prisoner' under 42 U.S.C. Section 1997e(d) must be reduced automatically by 25%. That blanket rule not only conflicts with the text and intent of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 1997e(d), as the petitioner's brief shows, but it also undermines arbitrarily the deterrent and compensatory purposes of Section 1983."

Unjust: LGBTQ Youth Incarcerated in the Juvenile Justice System

Movement Advancement Project
Movement Advancement Project

"'Unjust: LGBTQ Youth Incarcerated in the Juvenile Justice System'" examines how LGBTQ youth who are incarcerated in juvenile detention and correctional facilities face bias in adjudication, and mistreatment and abuse in confinement facilities. LGBTQ youth also lack supportive services when leaving the criminal and juvenile justice systems, often forcing them back into negative interactions with law enforcement.

Given that nearly 40% of incarcerated girls in identify as LGB and 85-90% of incarcerated LGBTQ youth are youth of color, it is crucial that any effort to change the way youth in the United States engage with the juvenile justice system must consider the unique experiences of LGBTQ youth. This spotlight report highlights the experiences of LGBTQ youth incarcerated in the juvenile justice system."

$885K Settlement in Hartford, CT Police Shooting of Family Dog

In February 2017, the city of Hartford, Connecticut agreed to pay the family of Glen Harris $885,000 in settlement for the 2006 city police shooting of their 3-year-old Saint Bernard dog. Hartford Sergeants Anthony Pia and Johnmichael O'Hare entered Harris's property without a warrant in search of illegal weapons. Despite finding no contraband, as they walked away from the property they shot and killed the dog in full view of Harris's 12-year-old daughter.

Ziglar v. Abbasi, et al.

"...whether Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), provides a cause of action for Respondents' claim that the punitive and abusive mistreatment inflicted upon them while they were detained in a federal correctional facility was unconstitutional. The breadth of the Petitioners' position is startling. They claim that no Bivens remedy is available because this case involves high-level policy decisions and touches on issues of national security and immigration. That proposed rule would effectively immunize tens of thousands of federal officers, and large swaths of federal law enforcement activity, from damages, no matter how egregious the officers' conduct... This Court should reject that extreme position and affirm the critical importance of a Bivens remedy in deterring unconstitutional conduct and enforcing constitutional rights."

$22M Verdict for Man Beaten and Locked in Closet by East Cleveland Detective

On Tuesday, May 31 2016, a Cuyahoga County, Ohio jury returned a verdict in the amount of $22 million for Arnold Black, who in 2012 was severely beaten by detective Randy Hicks. Hicks had erroneously identified Black's truck as one he had been tipped off would contain a kilogram of cocaine, and when he realized his mistake, he began to punch Black in the face and head. Hicks' partner, patrol officer Jonathan O'Leary, held Black upright during the assault.

Los Angeles to Pay Over $24M to Men Imprisoned for Decades on Wrongful Convictions

The Los Angeles City Council has agreed to pay more than $24 million to settle lawsuits from two men who alleged that dishonest investigative tactics by LAPD detectives led to their wrongful murder convictions and caused them to spend decades of their lives incarcerated. 

Kash Delano Register, who won his freedom in 2013 after lawyers and students from Loyola Law School cast doubt on the testimony of a key prosecution witness, will receive $16.7 million — the largest settlement in an individual civil rights case in the city’s history.

16.65M Settlement in DC for Man Framed by Police, Wrongly Imprisoned for 27 Years

On Thursday, November 19, US District for the District of Columbia Judge Richard Roberts authorized a settlement in the amount of $16.65 million in the case of Donald E. Gates, 64, who was framed in 1981 by D.C. homicide detectives for a murder he did not commit; Gates spent 27 years in prison before until DNA testing exonerated him.

Reparations: A Blueprint to Address Systemic Police Violence

Joey Mogul is a partner at the People’s Law Office who has represented Burge torture survivors for the last 18 years.  Mogul co-founded the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials and drafted the original reparations ordinance. Here is a piece by Joey entitled Reparations: A Blueprint to Address Systemic Police Violence.