BWMK Partner Elizabeth Kaveny and Brian Monico Win Cook County Jury Verdict of False Arrest and Imprisonment Against Cook County Sheriff’s Department
Chicago (July 15, 2013):
A 77-year old woman’s exercise of her constitutional right to remain silent about the whereabouts of her son – which led four Cook County Sheriff Department officers to draw their guns, frisk and handcuff her, and arrest her for an obstruction of justice charge that was later dropped – was the basis for a lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court by the law firm of Burke Wise Morrissey Kaveny (BWMK). Handling the case were BWMK Partner Elizabeth Kaveny, assisted by BWMK lawyer Brian Monico. On July 10, 2013, the jury hearing Macon v. Anthony, et al. agreed that the woman, Merien Macon, deserved compensation for false arrest and imprisonment, and awarded her $327,500 in damages.
“Every American has the fundamental right to remain silent when questioned by law enforcement officials,” said Ms. Kaveny after the award was announced. “Merien Macon was well within her rights to say she did not want to provide the officers with the information they requested. But when they wouldn’t accept that, and tried to get the information that they wanted through aggressive and unnecessary tactics, that simply was not proper law enforcement procedure.”
The four Sheriff deputies who, along with Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart, were named in the suit had sought to serve a child support arrest warrant on Derrick Macon, son of Mrs. Macon and her 83-year old husband William. Officers had previously attempted to serve the support arrest warrant on the son at his parents’ house but they were turned away for not having a search warrant. They returned two weeks later again attempting to serve the warrant, but without having discovered a court order from years before saying the son was not the father of the child in question. The officers approached Mrs. Macon and her husband with guns drawn, pressing them both for information about the son’s whereabouts. When Mrs. Macon exercised her right to remain silent, the officers handcuffed, frisked and arrested her on a charge of obstruction of justice that was later dropped – after she was booked and spent five hours in jail.
“The child support team of deputies is doing important work, which sometimes involves frustrations” Ms. Kaveny stated. “But no degree of frustration justifies what happened at the Macons’ home. If deputies cannot show the restraint they should show in speaking with a 77-year-old woman, then what hope does any citizen have of proper treatment in a similar situation?” The Cook County Circuit Court jury agreed with Ms. Kaveny’s argument that the officers’ conduct was extreme, and awarded $327,500 to Mrs. Macon.
Elizabeth A. Kaveny during her professional career has obtained numerous verdicts and settlements of plaintiff personal injury and professional malpractice actions, each in excess of $1 million and some at more than $10 million. She is widely respected for her success at securing just compensation for her clients in such complex, medically related matters as misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose and has been recognized by Illinois Leading Lawyers Network and Illinois SuperLawyers as one of the state’s top personal injury attorneys. Her exceptional care and concern for her clients was featured in the November 2012 issue of Leading Lawyers Magazine.
Brian Monico has had a broad range of hands-on trial experience focused on wrongful death, professional malpractice and personal injury cases, with major responsibility for witness preparation and presentation of witness testimony at trial. He is a leader in the development and use of computer-generated graphics and electronic presentations in the courtroom.
Burke Wise Morrissey Kaveny has for nearly 20 years represented victims of negligence and their families in a wide range of liability litigation. The firm’s broad knowledge, and extensive trial and mediation experience, have been instrumental in verdicts and settlements for clients valued in excess of $750 million.
The following can provide additional information upon request, including a copy of the complaint as filed:
Attorney Contact: Elizabeth Kaveny, email@example.com, 312-580-2040
Media Contac to Ms. Kaveny : Denise M. Henderson; firstname.lastname@example.org 312-848-0067