Chicago Civil Rights Lawyer

The Law Office of Douglas B. Harper represents plaintiffs in civil rights litigation, meaning, a civil lawsuit brought by a person against police, prisons, jails, or government officials. These lawsuits complain about serious misconduct which violated rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution or federal statutes, and which occurred in or near Chicago. These cases usually involve major physical injury or lengthy and wrongful restraint of freedom.

This practice area includes the following types of cases:

  • Excessive force
  • Police shooting
  • False arrest
  • Coerced police confession
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Denial of prison medical care
  • Lawsuits under 42 U.S.C. §1983

In addition, the law office also represents plaintiffs who suffer employment discrimination based on race or religion or disability, or related to the Family Medical Leave Act.

The law office handles civil rights litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois primarily to address violations that occurred in Cook County, Illinois, and sometimes in the Illinois counties of Lake, DuPage, Will, Kane, Kendall, Grundy, and LaSalle. In special cases, the law office also handles lawsuits for violations that occurred in the Illinois counties of McHenry, Boone, DeKalb, Winnebago, and Lee.

Additionally, the law office handles civil rights litigation on appeal.

Examples of Civil Rights Litigation We Won

The cases described below are examples of civil rights litigation we have handled.

$1.8 Million Settlement in Wrongful Conviction, Civil Rights Lawsuit

After we won David Fauntleroy's release from prison, Mr. Harper represented him in a Section 1983 civil rights lawsuit against the City of Chicago, former Chicago Police Lieutenant Commander Jon Burge, and Chicago Police Detectives Raymond Madigan and Daniel McWeeny. In 2012, Mr. Fauntleroy settled the lawsuit for $1.8 million. Various news agencies reported the settlement.In the years that followed, Mr. Fauntleroy has remained gainfully employed and happily married.

Jury Verdict for Plaintiff and Judicial Award in Jail-Beating, Civil Rights Lawsuit

Clynell Mickey was an inmate at the Cook County Jail. Guards led by Sgt. Liutauras Dargis entered his cell to move him to a different cell. When Mr. Mickey asked them to let him pack his belongings, the guards attacked him — punching, kicking, and hitting his head against the concrete jail cell floor.

Years later, Mr. Harper represented Mr. Mickey in a civil rights lawsuit (under 42 U.S.C. § 1983) and won a jury verdict against the guards. The case settled after trial for $90,000.00. For his handling of the case, Mr. Harper received a judicial award for Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service, awarded by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. The court issued a news release for the award ceremony that contained this description:

Douglas B. Harper, a sole practitioner, represented the plaintiff in Mickey v. Cook County, (99 C 7281). As a Cook County Jail inmate, Mickey claimed that prison guards used excessive force against him. After extended discovery, Mickey declined a settlement offer and instead went to trial, where Harper's representation prevailed. The judge in the case noted Harper's dedication, diligence, outstanding performance and reasonableness.

Awards Presented For Pro Bono, Public Interest Work. News Release, June 1, 2005. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

For one year following the award ceremony, Mr. Harper received the additional honor of having his photograph and a copy of the brochure kept on display at the United States Courthouse in Chicago.

Internet Resources for Civil Rights Violations

If you came to this website looking for information about a civil rights violation and you did not find what you were expecting, these resources may be helpful.

Use this link to the Illinois Department of Human Resources to file a complaint about civil rights violations in the areas of employment, housing, financial credit, and public accommodations; and also sexual harassment in education.

This link to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will take you to the EEOC's website where you can file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.


Contact Information

The Law Office of Douglas B. Harper 70 West Madison Street, Suite 1400 Chicago, Illinois 60602-4267 Consultation: (312) 214-7040 Direct: (312) 214-2454 Fax: (312) 212-4102


If you use email to request a free consultation, tell us only: (1) your name, (2) the practice area for your case, and (3) the names of any other people, businesses, and government officials involved. Please do not send documents or mention facts about your case until asked to do so.