On January 5th, the Illinois First District Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s decision against the City of Chicago’s Police Department for the 2015 wrongful death of Vanessa Taylor.

Steven Taylor, Vanessa’s son, acting as the administrator of Vanessa’s estate, brought a wrongful death and survival action against the City of Chicago back in 2018.  A jury found that Vanessa’s death was caused by Chicago Police Department’s breach of its duty to protect Vanessa under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 (Act) and awarded $3 million in damages in favor of the Estate. The City of Chicago appealed the decision.

Legal Aid Chicago, along with Ascend Justice, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Chicago Appleseed Center for Fair Courts, Chicago Council of Lawyers, Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, The Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services, Life Span, Mujeres Latinas En Accion, The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence, Resilience, Prairie State Legal Services, and Sarah’s Inn, filed an Amicus Brief on behalf of the appellee and in support of the Estate.

The court’s decision to affirm the verdict relied heavily on the Amicus Brief and reads in part:

“We agree with amici that the Act’s “primary focus is assisting and protecting victims of domestic violence from harm, and the danger posed by a perpetrator of domestic violence is in no way mitigated simply because the abuser is delusional or paranoid—the danger may, in fact, be starker in such cases.”

Legal Aid Chicago is committed to advocating on behalf of domestic violence survivors. Together, along with our partner organizations, we work to ensure survivors receive the legal help and resources they need to stay safe.

To read the full decision click here.

To read the amicus brief click here.

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