Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Cook County, Illinois, Settles Wrongful Death Claim for $550,000

On September 5, 2003, Cook County, Illinois, agreed to pay $550,000 to the estate of a man who was apparently beaten to death by three jailers at theCook County Jail.

Louis Schmude, 40, was arrested in May 2000 for violating a restraining order by throwing rocks at his estranged wife's house. On May 5, 2000, while being escorted from a holding cell in the Cook County Jail to a bond hearing, Schmude allegedly swore at a female guard. In response, Schmude was beaten in an elevator and a holding cell by Sergeant Patricia Pultz and Sheriff Deputies William Spatz and Lawrence Koscianski, according to Schmude's wife, who claims she heard Schmude's account before he died two days later. The guards were charged with murder but acquitted in March 2002.

On behalf of Schmude's estate, his wife, Joan Schmude, sued the Sheriff, Pultz, Spatz, and Koscianski under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating her husband's civil rights and for negligence. The County chose to settle - on behalf of all defendants - prior to trial for $550,000.

Schmude's estate was represented by Robert A. Clifford of the Clifford Law Offices in Chicago. (See: Schmude v. Sheehan, USDC ND IL, Case No. 00-C-4580.)

Source: VerdictSearch Illinois Reporter

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Schmude v. Sheehan