The Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on remaining issues Tuesday, March 29, 2011. The arguments were held at the federal courthouse at 219 S. Dearborn St. in Chicago, in the Main Courtroom, 27th floor, Rm. 2721 at 2 p.m. The judges will not issue a ruling immediately and we cannot expect that we will get a decision for at least several months.
CLC welcomes Paul Strauss, the new Director of the Employment Opportunities Project. Paul has had twenty-five years of experience working with employment discrimination and other civil rights cases, which are primarily based on race, sex and age, at Miner, Barhill & Galland, a leading civil rights firm. Paul also worked as General Counsel to Affordable Housing Centers of America, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting homeowners restructure their loans to avoid foreclosure.
The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee and Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, filed a hate crime lawsuit on behalf of the family of Antwana Muhammad against three men who allegedly perpetrated a racially motivated campaign of harassment against them. The Muhammad family, which is African-American, filed the suit in Cook County Circuit Court against David Belardo, Daniel Hilbert, and Steven Schultz
CHICAGO – The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Inc. and Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, today filed a hate crime lawsuit on behalf of the family of Antwana Muhammad against three men who allegedly perpetrated a racially motivated campaign of harassment against them from September 2006 through October 2010. The Muhammad family, which is African-American, filed the suit in Cook County Circuit Court against David Belardo,Daniel Hilbert, and Steven Schultz.
According to the complaint, four years of harassment against the family culminated on March 26, 2010 when Belardo, Hilbert, and Schultz spray-painted racial epithets, including “NIGGER” and “KKK” on the Muhammads’ garage in a successful effort to intimidate and terrorize them, causing them to suffer great emotional stress and damages. The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages for violation of civil rights and emotional distress, as well as punitive damages.
Belardo, Hilbert, and Schultz were criminally charged for this act. Belardo pled guilty to a hate crime, while Hilbert and Schultz each pled guilty to criminal defacement of the Muhammads’ and other neighbors’ property.
The Muhammad family is represented in their lawsuit by Katten attorneys Alexander Vesselinovitch, David Benson, Blake Mills and Kara Ervin, and Betsy Shuman-Moore of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee.
“Through this lawsuit, we seek to vindicate the rights of the Muhammad family and to make the defendants pay for the emotional distress they have caused the family to endure,” said Ms. Shuman-Moore. “We are also asking the court to order the defendants to pay punitive damages to demonstrate that Chicagoans reject racist conduct like this and to deter others from committing it.”
For 41 years, the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee, through its 40-plus member law firms, staff and legal team, has provided free legal services to challenge discrimination and other civil rightsviolations in both the public and private sectors. For further information about the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee, contact Jay Readey at 312-630-9744, or visit www.clccrul.org.
Katten has a long-term commitment to helping the poor, the powerless and the disenfranchised obtain first-rate representation without charge. Attorneys and other legal professionals give their time, resources and talent to serve Individuals and organizations in need, to engage in important national litigation, and to partner with local legal service providers to ensure access to the justice
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is a full-service law firm with more than 600 attorneys in locations across the United States and an affiliate in London. The firm’s business-savvy professionals provide clients in numerous industries with sophisticated, high-value legal services, with a focus on corporate, financial services, litigation, real estate, commercial finance, intellectual property and trusts and estates. Among our clients are a wide range of public and private companies, including a third of the Fortune 100, as well as a number of government and nonprofit organizations and individuals. For additional information, visit www.kattenlaw.com.
Molly Brooks is the new Outreach Coordinator for The Law Project’s Nonprofit Legal Assessment Program. In this capacity, she will help connect nonprofits with pro bono attorneys willing to provide a comprehensive overview of the legal issues facing charitable organizations. Most recently, Molly worked as an attorney at Sidley Austin LLP. Prior to her work at Sidley, Molly was Operations and Programs Manager at Executive Service Corps of Cincinnati. At Executive Service Corps, Molly matched business professionals with consulting and coaching projects at nonprofits. She also managed nonprofit capacity-building programs and worked on strategic planning projects. Molly is a graduate of Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, received her law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law, and completed the Nonprofit Leadership Development Institute in Cincinnati.