Schaumburg settles second lawsuit against former cops
Schaumburg trustees Tuesday settled a second of the 14 lawsuits filed against the village by people alleging mistreatment at the hands of convicted former cops Matthew Hudak and Terrance O'Brien.
John Cichy, a third former cop who was arrested simultaneously on multiple drug conspiracy charges in January 2013, did not plead guilty like the other two and is awaiting trial on March 3.
The lawsuit settled Tuesday did not involve Cichy, however.
The settlement, which admits no wrongdoing on the part of the village or its employees, will pay $12,500 to plaintiff Jordan Miller.
Miller's lawsuit was very similar to the rest, Schaumburg's attorney Jim Sotos said. They generally allege some combination of false arrest, illegal search or malicious prosecution by one or more of the former officers.
Perhaps the main distinction in Miller's case is a greater number of alleged encounters over a longer period of time. As such, the amount paid is somewhat higher than the $5,000 paid to plaintiff Justin Holmstrom by a settlement in September, Sotos said.
The cost of discovery required to defend the case in court is expected to be much higher than the $12,500 being paid by settling, Sotos said. But he added that he's confident the case could have been defended if needed.
Miller's attorney, Dan Kiss, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Sotos said the approach he took to all the lawsuits was to assume that nothing Cichy, Hudak or O'Brien might say in court would be believed -- whether true or not.
So he said he looked for -- and found -- independent verification in every case that there were valid reasons each plaintiff was arrested or searched.
"The settlement reflects the fact that we had independent corroboration for all of those encounters," Sotos said.
In fact, one lawsuit was dropped when confronted with this evidence, he added.
The 14th lawsuit was filed relatively late, on Oct. 24, alleging that plaintiff Jessica Elsayed of Schaumburg was wrongfully prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance.
Though Sotos said he hasn't had time to review that suit as thoroughly as the others yet, he considers it another very defensible case for the village.