Schaumburg settles 10th lawsuit involving former cops
Schaumburg officials Tuesday approved the village's 10th settlement among the 16 lawsuits filed against it regarding three indicted former police officers.
The latest settlement of $30,000 -- to be paid to plaintiffs Christine Abel, John Abel Sr. and Nicholas Abel -- raises the total amount paid among all the settlements to $164,000.
Apart from the settlements themselves, the village has paid $50,942 in legal costs on the Abel lawsuit and a total of $639,000 in legal costs for all 16 cases both settled and pending, Village Manager Brian Townsend said.
Schaumburg's attorney, Jim Sotos, said the village considered virtually all the lawsuits against former officers John Cichy, Matthew Hudak and Terrance O'Brien to be defensible. But even if the village prevailed every time, each case would probably have cost a six-figure amount to fully litigate to trial, he added.
So far, the settlement amounts have ranged from $5,000 to $32,000.
"Schaumburg has a history of aggressively defending itself when it believes it's been unjustly sued," Sotos said. "These (lawsuits) are a special circumstance."
One of the chief factors in defending these lawsuits is the likely lack of credibility Cichy, Hudak and O'Brien would experience in court due to their January 2013 indictments on multiple drug conspiracy charges, Sotos said.
Nevertheless, Sotos said that in almost every case he found independent justification of the law enforcement actions taken against the lawsuit plaintiffs.
All the lawsuits allege some combination of false arrest, illegal search or malicious prosecution committed by some combination of the three former officers.
The Abels' lawsuit also names current Schaumburg officer Alan Takei as a defendant.
Takei's reputation remains untarnished and is an example of why the village regards the case as defensible, Sotos said. But that doesn't change the fact that it would cost less to settle than litigate, he added.
O'Brien and Hudak have pleaded guilty to felony charges and are serving prison sentences, while Cichy is still awaiting trial.
The Abels' attorney could not be reached for comment.