City Settles 2003 Antiwar Class Action Lawsuit for $6.2 Million
Attorneys representing some 700 arrestees and detainees in the famed March 20, 2003 antiwar protest on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive announced that they have won a multi-million dollar settlement with the City of Chicago over the illegal crackdown of that protest by the Chicago Police that night.
It is a win nearly nine years in the making -- first to get all charges against Chicago peace protesters dismissed, then to wait three years before achieving class certification of the lawsuit (Vodak v. City of Chicago), then to fend off a spurious police countersuit, then to appeal a summary judgment in 2010 dismissing the lawsuit altogether, finally winning an appeal in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirming the protesters' rights and restoring the suit.
The city has agreed to compensate all arrestees and detainees a total of $6.2 million, divided to members of the class based on the degree of police repression faced, with some class members winning up to $15,000. This settlement represents not only a financial win for protesters and members of the public but the intermediate rulings in the case affirm the rights of public protesters amidst open police crackdowns -- a development expected to help activists planning to protest the NATO / G8 summits in Chicago in May 2012.