Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine


  Office phone numbers:  

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.


The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

  Cook County Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.

Sheriff's 'frivolous' appeal dismissed

Thursday, April 29, 2010
Crain's Chicago Business
by John Flynn Rooney

The Cook County sheriff pursued a frivolous appeal as a delaying tactic in a case where jurors found that jail officers subjected inmates to unreasonable strip searches over a two-year period, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Wednesday dismissed an interlocutory appeal of a trial court's ruling that Sheriff Thomas J. Dart is not immune from any liability under the 11th Amendment.

"This appeal is substantively frivolous," Chief Judge Frank H. Easterbrook wrote for the three-judge panel in Wednesday's decision. "It is nothing but a delaying tactic and deserves to be swiftly squelched."

The underlying class-action lawsuit challenged the manner in which prisoners were searched at intake. U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly presides over the class-action case.

In a ruling issued in September 2009, Kennelly declined to stay the proceedings in the lawsuit while Dart pursued the interlocutory appeal.

Dart asserted that a provision of the Illinois Administrative Code allegedly requiring that incoming prisoners be strip-searched transforms the county jailers who conduct those searches — as well as county officials who order them — into state actors.

As state actors, jailers and officials are protected from those claims that the manner in which the intake searches were conducted at the Cook County Jail from February 2007 to March 2009 violated the Constitution, Dart argued.

But Kennelly rejected that argument when Dart raised it at the end of trial.

The jury went on to return a verdict finding that the rights of the prisoners were violated by the manner in which the strip searches were performed.

In Kennelly's opinion issued last fall denying Dart's request for a stay, Kennelly described the sheriff's interlocutory appeal on the immunity issue frivolous.

The appeals court panel also rejected Dart's assertions about the state's Administrative Code.

"The sheriff is responsible for his own policies — and as a state actor (but not himself 'the state') for any unconstitutional policies that Illinois has directed him to implement," Easterbrook wrote for the panel. "This interlocutory appeal is dismissed because it is not from a 'final decision' and because it is frivolous. Any remaining arguments are open to review on appeal from this decision."

Judges William J. Bauer and Diane P. Wood joined in the 13-page opinion. Lee Mercado, et al. v. Thomas J. Dart, Sheriff of Cook County, No. 09-3092.

Michael Kanovitz of Loevy & Loevy in Chicago argued the case for the plaintiffs before the appeals court panel on April 5.

"It's a fantastic victory for the class, and it's exactly what we expected would happen," Kanovitz said of Wednesday's decision, adding that the class consists of between 500,000 and 600,000 members.

Christopher P. Keleher, a shareholder with Querrey & Harrow Ltd. in Chicago argued the case on Dart's behalf.

The lead attorney for Dart is Daniel F. Gallagher, another Querrey & Harrow shareholder. Gallagher could not be reached for comment early Thursday afternoon.

Recent Headlines

Cook County circuit clerk says city owes $13M in fees
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Chciago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County faces $177 million in deficits over next two budget years
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Preckwinkle: Cook County facing 'difficult and challenging' $82 million budget shortfall
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle: $82M Budget Hole Means ‘Difficult Choices’ For Cook County
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Editorial: A Chicago revival: The Lazarus of Harrison Street
Friday, June 15, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Growing food, community
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Help Squad: Consumers can file lawsuits and other legal documents online —some free via an online fee waiver
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Residents speak out as Wilmette Board introduces minimum wage and sick time ordinances
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

County's bid to avoid attorney fees for paraplegic detainee backfires
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Forest Preserves Show Off To Visitors At Daley Plaza
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
WBBW News Radio

Peek Inside the Old Cook County Hospital, Vacant for 16 Years
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
NBC Chicago

After 16 years, renovation underway at old Cook County Hospital
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
WGN Television

Officials break ground on $1 billion overhaul of long-vacant Cook County Hospital
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

George Leighton, legendary Chicago judge and courthouse namesake, dies at 105
Thursday, June 07, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

George Leighton, Chicago judge for whom criminal courthouse is named, dies at 105
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County allows video gambling in unincorporated areas
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Chicago Tribune lawsuit against Cook County sheriff dismissed
Saturday, June 02, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Dorothy Brown’s office to get federal monitor for hiring practices
Friday, June 01, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Coyote puppies tagged, health work-ups conducted in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Special to

EDITORIAL: Justice delayed 16 months — until a reporter starts nosing around
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.