FOIA: Settlements & Judgments

The cost of civil settlements and judgments is a significant burden to Chicago taxpayers not to mention the impact of the behavior at the root of the litigation on Chicago’s communities.

The Chicago Department of Law publishes reports that detail the settlements and judgments for every year from 2008 through 2020. These reports can be found on their website. With this request we are trying to obtain this same type of data from 2000-2007 and an official figure for how much money the City pays out to private law firms and lawyers in private practice to defend the CPD and their officers in civil courts.

CJP has authored a ground breaking national level best practices ordinance that will create a new structure for the City Council to hold the CPD and the police accountability system responsible for failing to stop the behavior from within the CPD that is the root of all this litigation. The ordinance also requires an unprecedented amount of transparency around the litigation. Follow this link for more information about the ordinance and to register you support for the legislation: Link

FOIA Content

To:  Chicago Department of Law

Re:  Chicago Justice Project FOIA Requests

In accordance with the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140, I request that your office provide the following public records: FOIA A

Judgement & Settlement Payment Requests the same digital format that you make those reports available on your website for the years 2000-2003.
FOIA B

Documents sufficient to show (or from which may be derived), the total amount of money paid out by year to private law firms or lawyers to represent the Chicago Police Department or any members there of in litigation both in Federal and Cook County Circuit Court for the years 2000-2020.

In order to reduce the burden of responding to this FOIA request, in the alternative to producing all such documents, we would accept as a complete response to this FOIA if you simply answered on a yearly basis for the years 2000-2020 what was the aggregate amount of money paid out to private lawyers or law firms.

DEFINITIONS  

“Document” and/or “Documents” means any documents or electronically stored information of any kind—including writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, sound recordings, images, and other data or data compilations—stored in any medium from which information can be obtained either directly or, if necessary, after translation by the responding party into a reasonably usable form.

“You” or “Your” means the Illinois Department of Corrections, and all attorneys, employees, officers, directors, bureaus, offices, divisions or subdivisions of same.

INSTRUCTIONS

If the agency withholds any document or information pertinent to the requests made herein, please identify the document or information in as much detail as is possible, and detail in specific language why each document or piece of information is being withheld.

If any information requested herein is withheld on the basis of a claim of privilege or other protection as material prepared in anticipation of litigation or trial, then that claim shall be made expressly in a writing that describes the nature of the Documents, Communications, or Things not produced or disclosed in a manner that will enable us to assess the applicability of the privilege or protection. With regard to each claim of privilege or protection, the following information should be provided in the response or the objection:

(a) the type of Document, e.g., letter or memorandum;

(b) general subject matter of the Document;

(c) the date of the Document;

(d) such other information as is sufficient to identify the Document for a subpoena duces tecum, including, where appropriate, the author, addressee, and any other recipient of the Document, and, where not apparent, the relationship of the author, addressee, and any other recipient to each other; and

(e) the nature of the privilege or protection;

(f) if applicable, the litigation or trial of which he document was created in anticipation.

If any Document identified herein has been lost, discarded, or destroyed, each such Document should be identified as completely as possible, including as to each such Document, its date, general nature (e.g., letter, memorandum, telegram, telex, photograph, computer printout), subject matter, each author or originator, each person indicated as an addressee or copy recipient, and its former custodian(s). In addition, as to each such Document, the following information shall be supplied:

(a) date of disposal, loss, or destruction;

(b) manner of disposal, loss, or destruction;

(c) reason for disposal or destruction, or any explanation of loss;

(d) persons authorizing the disposal or destruction;

(e) persons having knowledge of the disposal, destruction, or loss; and

(f) persons who destroyed, lost, or disposed or the Document or Thing.

I look forward to hearing from you in writing within five working days, as required by the Act 5 ILCS 140(3).  Please direct all questions or responses to this FOIA request to this email address by responding to this email. I can be reached at tsiska@chicagojustice.org Tracy Siska

Updates

7/29 – July 29, 2020

Tracy Siska

Chicago Justice Project

Via email at tsiska@chicagojustice.org

Dear Mr. Siska,

On behalf of the City of Chicago Department of Law, I am responding to your Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request which was dated July 22, 2020 and received in our offices on the same day.  At this time, the Law Department is seeking an extension of five additional working days to respond to the request for one or more of the following reasons identified in 5 ILCS 140/3(e) of FOIA:

( ) the requested records are stored in whole or in part at other locations than the office having charge of the requested records;

( ) the request requires the collection of a substantial number of specified records;

( ) the request is couched in categorical terms and requires an extensive search for the records responsive to it;

( ) the requested records have not been located in the course of routine search and additional efforts are being made to locate them;

( ) the requested records require examination and evaluation by personnel having the necessary competence and discretion to determine if they are exempt from disclosure under Section 7 of the FOIA or should be revealed only with appropriate deletions; 

( ) the request for records cannot be complied with by the public body within the time limits prescribed by 5 ILCS 140/3(d) without unduly burdening or interfering with the operations of the public body; 

(xx) there is need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another public body or among two or more components of a public body having a substantial interest in the determination or in the subject matter of the request.

Sincerely,

Tom Skelton

FOIA Officer – Department of Law

Author: Tracy Siska

Tracy Siska is the Founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Justice Project.

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