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Adams v. City of Chicago

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

April 14, 2015

SENECA ADAMS and TARI ADAMS, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, et al., Defendants-Appellees

 Argued April 13, 2015

Page 540

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 06 C 4856 -- Charles R. Norgle, Judge.

For Seneca Adams, Tari Adams, Plaintiff - Appellant: Christopher R. Smith, Attorney, Smith, Johnson & Antholt, LLC, Chicago, IL.

For City of Chicago, Defendant - Appellee: Ruth F. Masters, Attorney, Oak Park, IL; Jeffery Alan Waldhoff, Attorney, City of Chicago Law Department, Chicago, IL; Geri L. Yanow, Attorney, Myriam Z. Kasper, Attorney, Office of The Corporation Counsel, Appeals Division, Chicago, IL.

For Margaret Hopkins, Defendant - Appellee: Joseph V. Roddy, Attorney, Chicago, IL.

For Timothy Mckeon, Matthew Riley, John Dahlberg, Defendants - Appellee: Jeffery Alan Waldhoff, Attorney, City of Chicago Law Department, Chicago, IL; Geri L. Yanow, Attorney, City of Chicago Law Department, Chicago, IL.

Before WOOD, Chief Judge, ROVNER, Circuit Judge, and SPRINGMANN, District Judge.[*]

Page 541

ORDER

Wood, Chief Judge.

In 2004, Seneca and Tari Adams endured vicious beatings by Chicago police officers and prolonged detentions in the Cook County Jail. Along with their sister, Sicara Adams, they sued the City of Chicago and the officers for various violations of their rights under federal and state law. The City admitted its liability to all three plaintiffs for false arrest, excessive force, and race discrimination; it also stipulated that it was liable to Seneca and Tari for malicious prosecution in violation of state law. That left damages for the jury, which returned sizeable awards to each of the Adams siblings. The district court entered an order reducing each award, but it failed to give the plaintiffs the option of a new trial in lieu of accepting the lower amount. Seneca and Tari Adams (the Adams brothers) have appealed. We conclude that the purported remittitur must be vacated and the case returned to the district court for reinstatement of the jury's verdict in their favor.

I

Seneca, Tari, and Sicara Adams filed a complaint in federal court alleging various constitutional and state law violations against the City of Chicago and several Chicago police officers stemming from their arrests in 2004. They invoked federal-question jurisdiction for their claims under 42 U.S.C. § § 1983 and 1985, see 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and supplemental jurisdiction for their state-law claims, see 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

As we noted, all three plaintiffs reached an agreement with the City on the question of liability and proceeded to trial before a jury on damages. The jury awarded $2.4 million to Seneca, $1 million to Tari, and $300,000 to Sicara. The district court announced that it was " remitting" those amounts to $1.17 million for Seneca, $350,000 for Tari, and $125,000 for Sicara; it did not give any of them the ...


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