Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto
Please E-mail suggested additions, comments and/or corrections to Kent@MoreLaw.Com.
Help support the publication of case reports on MoreLaw
Case Style: Coprez Coffie v. City of Chicago, Officer Scott Korhonen, and Officer Gerald Lodwich.
Case Number: 05 C 6745
Judge: James Holderman
Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Cook County
Jon Loevy, Michael Kanovitz, and Samantha Liskow of Loevy & Loevy, Chicago, Illinois
Patricia Kendall, Tom Platt, and Alec McAusland of the City of Chicago; and Andrew Hale of Rock Fusco.
Plaintiff alleged the following: Two Chicago police officers -- Scott Korhonen and Gerald Lodwich -- pulled over a van in which he and his friends were riding on the Near West Side of Chicago. The officers searched Plaintiff, his friends, and the van. After waiting in vain for a female officer to arrive to search Plaintiff's female friend, the officers let Plaintiff's friends leave. The officers then handcuffed Plaintiff, put him in their car, and drove him to a nearby alley. The officers took him out of the car, still handcuffed. Officer Scott Korhonen retrieved a screwdriver from his glove compartment, pulled down Plaintiff's pants, and inserted the screwdriver into Plaintiff's rectum. Officer Gerald Lodwich stood next to Officer Korhonen during this act. The officers arrested Plaintiff on drug charges, and Plaintiff spent a night at Cook County Jail. Upon release, his mother took him to an emergency room, where a doctor found a tear in his rectum, Chicago police investigators were summoned to the hospital, where they took Plaintiff's statement. Chicago police investigators then searched the Defendant Officers' car -- without first notifying the Defendants -- and found three screwdrivers in their glove compartment. One of those screwdrivers matched Plaintiff's description of the assault weapon. Later testing on swabs taken of the glovebox came out presumptively positive for fecal material.
The Defendant Officers throughout discovery and trial denied having pulled over Plaintiff's friend on the date of the incident. They denied assaulting Plaintiff with a screwdriver. In addition, they denied ever having screwdrivers in their glove compartment.
Outcome: Finding of liability. Gross Amount: Jury verdict for Plaintiff on liability, followed by entry of judgment for $4 million plus $675,000 fees and costs, pursuant to a high/low settlement.
Christopher Bommarito, Forensic Science Consultants, Williamston, Michigan Ann Gordon, Forensic Science Consultants, Williamston, Michigan
Dr. David Canal, Dept. of Surgery, Indiana University Medical Ctr., Indianapolis, Indiana
Dr. Stephen Dinwiddie, Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Chicago, Iillinois
Keith Inman, Forensic Analytical Sciences, Hayward, California
Kenneth Pfoser, Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Laboratory, Vernon Hills, Illinois
Dr. Gary Merlotti, St. James Hospital, Olympia Fields, Illinois
Dr. Peter Fink, Psychiatry, Cavanaugh & Assoc., Chicago, Illinois
Comments: Reported by Loevy & Loevy