In 1983, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Chicago in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Plaintiff was represented by private counsel. Plaintiff asked for compensatory damages and alleged her constitutional rights were violated when she was strip-searched.
The parties stipulated that on December 2, 1975, police arrested Plaintiff, then 53, for a misdemeanor. Police strip-searched Plaintiff at the Women's Central Detention facility. At the time of the incident, Defendant's policy subjected every arrestee to a strip search.
The City admitted that Plaintiff's strip search violated her constitutional rights because the Seventh Circuit previously held that Defendant's former policy searching female arrestees violated the Fourth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection. The jury trial (Judge Milton I. Shadur) was limited to damages, and the jury awarded Plaintiff $50,000 in compensatory damages. The District Court (Judge Shadur) denied Defendant's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and Defendant appealed.
On April 27, 1984, the District Court (Judge Shadur) awarded Plaintiff $24,475 in attorney fees for the trial. Roe v. City of Chicago, 586 F.Supp. 513 (N.D.Ill. 1984).
On November 19, 1984, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges Wilbur F. Pell, Jr., William J. Bauer and Franklin T. Dupree, Jr.) held that Plaintiff's award of $50,000 was excessive in comparison to awards in other strip-search cases. Furthermore, Plaintiff's age was not an aggravating factor. The Court ordered Plaintiff to accept a remittitur reducing the judgment to $25,000 or alternatively to retry the case. Levka v. City of Chicago, 748 F.2d 421 (7th Cir. 1984).
On January 2, 1985, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied rehearing en banc.
Plaintiff accepted the remittitur. Plaintiff moved for attorney fees for the appeal, stating she was the prevailing party in the litigation as a whole.
On March 27, 1985, the District Court (Judge Shadur) denied Plaintiff's motion for attorney fees because it held that Plaintiff was not the prevailing party on appeal. Levka v. City of Chicago, 605 F.Supp. 197 (N.D.Ill. 1985).
Docket: 83-C-2283.Shira Gordon - 03/16/2012