Select an Area of Practice
Our civil rights practice team has extensive experience defending governmental entities and their officials with respect to alleged violations of local, state, and federal civil rights laws, as well as litigating claims brought under state and federal constitutions and other civil rights statutes such as 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, Title VII Civil Rights Act 1965, Age Discrimination Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Heyl Royster represents correctional healthcare professionals and county jail correctional officers in lawsuits brought by prisoners and other detainees. We defend civil rights and state law claims arising from matters filed by incarcerated or arrested persons relating to conditions of confinement, first amendment claims, as well as other alleged constitutional violations and violations of federal laws. Our experience includes defending physicians, nurses, mental health professionals, and other correctional healthcare professionals from claims filed by inmates within the Illinois Department of Corrections system and the State of Illinois sex offender treatment facility.
Law Enforcement Defense
Heyl Royster represents local governmental entities and police officers in cases alleging civil rights violations in the context of allegations of excessive force, improper search and seizure, and false arrest. We also represent state, county and other local governmental entities and individuals in cases that charge the actors with willful and wanton conduct, such as claims for damages related to accidents that occur as a result of high speed pursuits.
Our attorneys have represented numerous townships, counties, and other local governmental entities and individuals in these actions. Our commitment is to defend the integrity of the individual and the local governmental entity, and this is where our team’s trial experience is invaluable.
Admiral Insurance Company
AIG Claim Services
Arch Insurance Group
Chubb Group of Insurance
Cincinnati Insurance Group
City of Pekin
City of Springfield
Illinois Municipal League
State of Illinois
University of Illinois
Wexford Health Sources
Woodland Heights Estates
Numerous townships, counties, and local governmental entities.
- Jane Doe v. The Board of Education of Hall High School District 502, Daniel Oest, Patricia Lunn, Gary Vicini, The City of Spring Valley, Illinois and Douglas Bernabei 05-1348 Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois in 2005. This civil rights lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court, Central District of Illinois. Jane Doe, a high school teacher, was accused of engaging in sexual relations with a male student. Chief Bernabei conducted an investigation which resulted in Doe being charged with various criminal offenses. The school terminated Doe's employment and she incurred approximately $300,000 in expenses defending against the criminal charges. Doe was found not guilty in the criminal trial. Thereafter, Doe filed a civil rights suit against our clients, Chief Bernabei and The City of Spring Valley. The civil rights Complaint requested $40,000 in compensatory damages and $10,000,000 in punitive damages. During discovery, plaintiff made a settlement demand of $9,500,000. We obtained summary judgment in 6 of the 7 counts but the trial court denied the entry of summary judgment with respect to a count alleging false arrest. We filed an appeal to the Seventh Circuit Appellate Court which reversed the trial court thereby disposing of all claims directed against Chief Bernabei and The City of Spring Valley. The U.S. Supreme Court denied a writ of certiorari in 2011.
- Estate of Beavers v. Champaign County v. Evercom Systems - Estate of former inmate that committed suicide brought Section 1983 civil rights lawsuit in federal court alleging that County defendants and private telephone company were deliberately indifferent to the inmate's safety. After thorough discovery and mediation, the parties reached a favorable, settlement agreement.
- City of East St. Louis v. Circuit Court for the 20th Judicial Circuit, St. Clair County, IL 986 F.2d 1142 (7th Cir. 1998) The federal district court properly entered Rule 11 sanctions against plaintiff's counsel for bringing suit against a judicial circuit.
- Tomic v. Catholic Diocese of Peoria 442 F.3d 1036 (7th Cir. 2006) Former music director and organist of religious diocese and church brought action against diocese alleging he was terminated in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The Court of Appeals held that director's position fell within ministerial exception to the ADEA.
- Johnson v. Doughty 433 F.3d 1001 (7th Cir. 2006) Denials of prisoner's requested hernia surgery did not constitute deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition.
- Copeland v. County of Macon, Ill. 403 F.3d 929 (7th Cir. 2005) Corrections officer was not acting within scope of his employment within meaning of tort immunity statute when he recruited and encouraged inmates to commit beating of pretrial detainee accused of child abuse.
- Merriweather v. Snyder, et al. Jury verdict for defendants on claims of deliberate indifference to serious medical and mental health needs.
- Collins Bey v. Snyder, et al. Jury verdict for defendants on claims of violation of equal protection rights.
- Fields v. Maue, et al. Jury verdict for defendants on claims of excessive force.
- Fillmore v. Page, et al. Court verdict for defendants on claims of excessive force.
- Washington and Jenkins v. City of Springfield, et al, No. 07-3075, USDC-CDIL December 7, 2010 Defense verdict in a highly publicized federal jury trial in Springfield, Illinois. The Plaintiffs alleged that Springfield Police Detectives conspired and falsely arrested them. Plaintiffs' home was searched after Springfield Detectives searched their trash and found evidence of drug activity. Over half a pound of cocaine was found in the home during the search. Plaintiffs alleged the Defendants planted the cocaine and falsified documents used to obtain the search warrant. Following a two week trial, the jury returned verdicts in favor of all defendants. The Plaintiffs' final settlement demand before trial was $1,600,000.
- Hunter v. Amin No. 07-00296, USDC-SDIL (Oct. 30, 2009) Summary judgment for defendant physician on claims of deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.
- Escobedo v. Miller, et al. USDC-CD.Il. 08-2017, May 27, 2010 Plaintiff, an inmate in the Illinois Department of Corrections, alleged that Dr. Ameji violated his constitutional rights by not providing medical treatment when he allegedly suffered a stroke. Through the introduction of the medical history of the plaintiff it was revealed plaintiff had suffered a massive stroke decades prior and was merely suffering from residual side effects. Plaintiff's pre-trial settlement demand was $500,000. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Dr. Ameji. Additionally, the Court awarded the defense their costs incurred in defending the suit.
- Frizzell v. Szabo No. 08-3147, 2010 WL 3239453 (C.D.Ill. Aug 16, 2010) Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Sangamon County Deputy's use of a TASER constituted an unreasonable amount of force in his efforts to arrest him. Plaintiff claimed that as a result of this arrest, he suffered damages. In the course of attempting to arrest plaintiff, plaintiff purposely made efforts to avoid him by running away and then entering a shopping center and as a result defendant deployed his TASER. Plaintiff's last settlement demand before trial was $75,000. Jury returned a verdict in the amount of $1 in favor of the plaintiff.
- "Officers Sued for False Arrest After Arresting Company President," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2016) - Download Article
- "Botched Investigation or Cover-Up? Either Way, It May Not Be a Constitutional Violation," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2015) - Download Article
- “Animal Abuse Case Provides Reminder as to the Low Federal Pleading Standard,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2016) - Download Article
- "Recent Civil Rights Decisions," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2015) - Download Article
- "Fourth Amendment Protections Applied to Medical Care Provided to Pre-Gerstein Arrestees," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2014) - Download Article
- "Accrual of Deliberate Indifference Claims Premised on Medical Treatment Errors," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2013) - Download Article
- "Failure to Discover Razorblade in Detainee's Wallet Insufficient to Establish a Fourteenth Amendment Claim in Rosario v. Brawn," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2013) - Download Article
- "Prosecutor's Office Not Subject to Section 1983 'Failure to Train' Liability in the Absence of a Demonstrated Pattern of Similar Brady Violations," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2012) - Download Article
- "Mental Illness, Extreme Danger Creation, and the Denial of Qualified Immunity," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2012) - Download Article
- "To Be or Not To Be: A State Entity Intergovernmental Police Task Force Is Entitled to Eleventh Amendment Immunity," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2012) - Download Article
- "No Further Duty to Investigate After Establishing Probable Cause," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2011) - Download Article
- "No Matter How Egregious, Bad Acts Do Not Spawn Section 1983 Liability Unless Performed Under Color of State Law," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2011) - Download Article
- "Your Qualified Immunity Defense Was Denied at Summary Judgment. Will the Court of Appeals Have Jurisdiction Over Your Interlocutory Appeal?" Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2010) - Download Article
- "Pretrial Detainee Suicide and Section 1983 Claims," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2010) - Download Article
- "The Fourth Amendment's Shortcomings for Police During School Shootings," 44 Val. U.L. Rev. 1095 (2010)
- "The Supreme Court Abandons an Inflexible Application of the Saucier Two-Step," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2009) - Download Article
- "Reaffirmation That Officers Have No Duty to Complete a Full Investigation Before Arrest," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2009) - Download Article
- "Defending Governmental Entities in Section 1983 Claims," IDC Fall Conference (2009) - Download Article
- "Rule 41(a) Voluntary Dismissal in Federal Court Takes Effect Immediately Upon Filing, Not When Docketed," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2008) - Download Article
- "Qualified Immunity Bars Claim Despite Lack of Probable Cause for Arrest," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2008) - Download Article
- "Do Not Forget About the Law Enforcement Investigatory Privilege," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2008) - Download Article
- "U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Police PIT Stops in 8-1 Decision," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2007) - Download Article
- "Supreme Court Adds Absence of Probable Cause to Prima Facie Case for Bivens Retaliatory-Prosecution Action in Hartman v. Moore," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2006) - Download Article
- "Seventh Circuit Rejects Claim for Loss of Society and Companionship for Adult Child," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2005) - Download Article
- "Qualified Immunity for Violating a 'Class of One' Equal Protection Rights," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2005) - Download Article
- "John Doe v. City of Lafayette: The Seventh Circuit Weighs-in on a Municipality's Right to Protect Children from Pedophiles," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2005) - Download Article