Chicago’s hard line on police-misconduct claims

A year ago the city of Chicago announced a change in its litigation posture in claims against police: it would refuse to settle claims it did not consider strong and would prepare for trial instead. “In the past, the city often settled ‘defensible’ cases because the city’s legal expenses could far exceed the cost of a settlement.” Now the city law department is claiming “astonishing” success for the policy, citing a 50 percent project drop in claims against police. Plaintiff’s lawyers say their clients are handicapped before juries because they often have police records and that “the door has been slammed shut.” [Frank Main, Chicago Sun-Times]


  • Sounds like Walmart’s stance on slip-and-fall cases.

  • I KNEW IT.

    And I have said as much. Hold the plaintiff’s feet to the fire and just see what happens. Let juries see what loads of crap they’re claiming. Even in a big urban area, a lot of it won’t pass muster.

    Now, if the rest of the defense bar would take the same tack, similarly amazing things would happen.

  • Naw, the defense bar and the insurance companies are never going to take this stance. The insurance companies are perfectly happy to have lots of claims, as long as people keep buying insurance. And as long as the courts continue making lawsuits fun ‘n’ rewarding, insurance protection just plain isn’t optional.

    In the end, the insurance industry is happy to have more money flowing through its hands.

    BTW: before Walmart called shennanigans on slip ‘n’ falls, Chrysler did it on product liability cases. Call Chicago’s successful move “doing a Chrysler”.

  • I agree with you, AMcA. Overlawyering — and the lawsuit explosion — are an integral part of the insurance industry business model. If nobody ever sues, no reason to buy insurance. In a way, they’ve got culpability in this mess that maybe hasn’t been fully accounted for. The costs just get passed on to consumers, and all the players pocket something. As an insurance defense lawyer, I was just a very small pawn in that game.

    Big companies and self-insured municipalities are more likely to take a stand.

  • LOoong ago, in Los Angeles, I heard about a company (just heard, this is not being presented as fact) about a company (probably not too large) that owned nothing (rented), owed on inventory, paid stockholder dividends VERY often, and advertised they had no assets, no insurance. Never heard a follow story on how that worked out.

    Anyone else heard similar?