Pretzel & Stouffer

Investigators Defended Against Claims after Exoneration of Criminal Defendants

Suzanne Crowley, Partner at Pretzel & Stouffer, defended five investigators against claims of civil rights violations, malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The investigators were appointed to assist two special prosecutors concerning alleged wrongdoing by a State’s Attorney and his staff. Plaintiffs alleged that the special prosecutors and the investigators fabricated evidence and withheld exculpatory evidence resulting in several improper criminal indictments. The plaintiffs’ (defendants in the underlying criminal prosecutions) motions for directed verdict were granted in the criminal court.

Thereafter, the plaintiffs filed civil actions in the federal and state courts. Ms. Crowley was successful in twice defeating plaintiffs' civil rights claims against the investigators in federal court, with the dismissal affirmed on appeal to the Seventh Circuit. Plaintiffs then pursued tort claims of malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress in state court. Ms. Crowley was again successful in obtaining dismissals for her clients. However, on appeal, the Illinois Appellate Court reversed after the litigation had been pending for more than five years. The case was then resolved in a confidential mediation conference.

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