Perfect Storm of Police Misconduct Suits Slams City - The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

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Perfect Storm of Police Misconduct Suits Slams City

In October, city lawyers will likely face two lawsuits that allege some of the most notorious Chicago police misconduct in recent memory, the Chicago Tribune reports. One such suit is that of Christina Eilman, a mentally ill woman who was raped and left permanently disabled after police dropped her off in a high-crime area.

The other suit was brought by Karolina Obrycka, a bartender who alleges that off-duty Officer Anthony Abbate beat her. Both civil suits are currently scheduled to commence in October, creating a perfect storm for city attorneys.

Eilman was arrested after she suffered a mental breakdown at O'hare Airport. Instead of placing her in a hospital for psychological evaluation, police dropped her off in one of the citiest highest-crime areas. After wandering into a nearby high rise, Eilman was sexually assaulted and fell from a seventh-story window. As a result, she is permanently mentally and physically disabled.

Eilman's suit, filed in 2006, has been stalled for over two years due to a pretrial appeal by the city. U.S. District Judge Virgina Kendall was concerned about the delay, and recently requested an October trial date. The problem, however, is that city attorney Matthew Hund is already scheduled to defend the city against Obrycka's suit in October.

Obrycka's injuries were not nearly as serious as Eilman's. However, her attorneys have spent considerable time collecting evidence of an alleged conspiracy by police officials to cover up the incident in the hours after the reported beating took place. The city contends that it's not liable for Abbate's actions because the officer was off duty at the time.

Under the principle of respondeat superior, an employer or principal may be held liable for the wrongdoing of an employee or agent if it was committed within the scope of employment or agency. As Abbate's alleged acts were committed outside of his working hours and scope of duties, the city's defense may be successful.

Judge Virgina Kendall's insistence that Christina Eilman's suit be pushed up to the same month as Karolina Obrycka's suit against the city, is likely a sign of Kendall's concern over Eilman's diminished condition. "That shows extraordinary concern for the victim in this case," retired federal judge Wayne Andersen said. "That shows she is really focused on helping the victim."

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