William Kraus, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Betsy Shuman-Moore, Co-Director of Litigation, Chicago Lawyers' Committee fpr Civil Rights
Mount Prospect Family Files Hate Crime Lawsuit Against Neighbor
For Immediate Release
March 10, 2014 , CHICAGO – The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. in partnership with Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP today filed a hate crime lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of Iris Howe and her family against their neighbor, Terry Calliari.
Iris Howe, who is African-American, alleges that Calliari, who is white, has perpetrated a continuing pattern of racially motivated intimidation and harassment against the Howe family for the more than four years that both parties have lived on the 800 block of West Partridge Lane in northwest suburban Mount Prospect.
According to the lawsuit, Calliari has harassed Howe, her daughter, Sidney Powell, and son, Samuel Mobley, since the day the Howe family moved into their home in April 2009. Specifically, the suit alleges that Calliari has repeatedly referred to Howe family members using the the N-word and other racial slurs; followed the Howe children around the neighborhood in her car, often coming within inches of them; attempted to instigate physical altercations with the Howe children; and on at least one occasion told the family to leave the neighborhood.
The lawsuit further alleges that Calliari’s malicious actions have caused the Howe family emotional distress, pain, and suffering and seeks a permanent injunction barring Calliari from contact with the family as well as punitive and compensatory damages for emotional distress and loss of civil rights.
The Howe family is represented in their lawsuit by Katten pro bono attorneys Jonathan K. Baum and William J. Kraus, as well as Betsy Shuman-Moore of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Inc.
“Our goal is to secure compensation for the denial of the Howe family's rights and for the extreme emotional distress they have been forced to endure,” said Baum, Director of Pro Bono Services at Katten. “We hope that by bringing this suit, justice will be served, and others will be deterred from engaging in this type of racist and abusive conduct.”
Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Fair Housing Project Director Betsy Shuman-Moore stated, "We are pleased to continue our partnership with Katten in the very important work of fighting hate crimes and housing discrimination."
One of the first law firms to employ a partner to lead pro bono services full-time, Katten encourages attorneys to 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 fair access to the justice system.
Katten’s pro bono program has been honored by numerous organizations and provides many services to the underprivileged, including litigation—on behalf of individuals and groups in housing and public accommodations discrimination, civil liberties, immigration, criminal defense, prisoners' rights and consumer matters—and transactional pro bono work—in corporate and tax assistance for nonprofit organizations, intellectual property law, employee benefits and international trade law concerns.
Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. protects and promotes civil rights by bringing the strength and prestige of the private bar to bear on the problems of poverty and discrimination. The Committee champions equal justice and community development for underrepresented people by partnering with volunteer lawyers to provide litigation and transactional representation. The Fair Housing Project works to eliminate housing discrimination and promote fair and equal housing in the Chicago metropolitan area through legal representation, education, and advocacy. For more information, visit www.clccrul.org .