As previously reported here, the civil rights lawyers of Samster, Konkel & Safran represent 14 victims of illegal strip searches and body cavity searches conducted by numerous Milwaukee Police Department (“MPD”) officers. We joined a lawsuit filed by several other victims of the illegal searches against the City of Milwaukee and the MPD officers, because we believed that combining our efforts in seeking justice for all victims would be an efficient use of the parties’ and the Court’s resources. After we joined the lawsuit, more illegal search victims also joined in, and additional lawsuits were filed, bringing the total number of illegal search victims in our case to approximately 70.
Pursuing justice for the illegal search victims has been a long process involving substantial work. SKS attorneys and our co-counsel for the Plaintiffs spent between 7,000 and 8,000 combined hours on the case, reviewing over 100,000 pages of documents, questioning over 50 MPD employees at depositions and responding to various court filings. In addition to the considerable amount of work, the lawyers incurred over $200,000 in out-of-pocket costs in prosecuting the cases.
All this hard work has finally paid off, because the City of Milwaukee City Attorney’s Office has agreed to settle 74 of the illegal search victims’ cases, which includes all of our clients, for a total of $5 million, one of the largest civil rights settlements in the history of Wisconsin. The illegal search victims will receive over $2.7 million as compensation for their injuries and damages. At the City’s insistence, the victims must also pay approximately $900,000 of the settlement amount to satisfy claims of some creditors. The remaining amount of the settlement, approximately $2.3 million, will go towards attorneys’ fees and reimbursement for the attorneys’ out-of-pocket costs. The settlement must still be approved by the Common Council and the Mayor, which is expected by late January, 2016. Please read more about the settlement here.
We are pleased to obtain justice for our clients who were the victims of the illegal searches conducted by MPD officers. Many of our clients were subjected to public strip searches in front of witnesses, while others suffered body cavity searches conducted by MPD officers, when the law requires that such searches by conducted by medical personnel. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a civil rights violation, contact us for a free case evaluation.