Q&H Wins Massive Civil Rights Trial Following 2006 Jail Escape

Congrats to Querrey & Harrow Shareholders Terrence Guolee and Larry Kowalczyk and Associate Megan Monaghan for their impressive Federal District Court trial victory in Hernandez et al v. Cook County Sheriff's Office, case number 07 C 855, which involved myriad civil rights claims filed by five corrections officers implicated in the escape of six violent detainees from Division 1 of the Cook County Jail in February 2006. In summary, the officers alleged that their suspensions, the following investigations and various job actions taken against the officers following the escape were caused by alleged political retaliation for their claimed support of a primary challenger in an election for Sheriff proceeding close in time to the escape. 

The multiple count complaint was initially filed against the Sheriff's Office and several members of the Sheriff's management. Following massive document discovery, dozens of depositions, intensive briefing and two trips to the 7th Circuit Appellate Court which resulted in the dismissal of various claims, the remaining claims moved to trial as a bench trial before Federal District Court Judge Thomas Durkin through most of August 2016. Following several weeks of trial and several months of post-trial briefing, the court ruled on September 25, 2017, in favor of the Sheriff's Office on all remaining claims.

Before trial, plaintiffs sought several million dollars in settlement and plaintiffs' legal fees and costs that could have been sought from the County following a verdict in favor of plaintiffs were expected to surpass a million dollars. Further proceedings and appeal remain possible.

A copy of Judge Durkin's published order can be accessed by CLICKING HERE (9/25/17 Order in 07 C 855).


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