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A federal jury awarded damages in the amount of $333,000 to a Chicago area family due to a police raid that resulted in the shooting of their family dog.

In February 2009, Chicago police officers were executing a search warrant at the home of teenage brothers Thomas and Darren Russell. The search warrant applied to both units on the property – the one belonging to the Russells and another unit. When Thomas Russell answered the door to officers with guns drawn, he requested permission to lock up his dog, Lady, prior to the officers’ entry into the apartment. The request was denied. Moments later, when the dog came around a corner wagging her tail, one of the officers involved in the search shot and killed her.

Subsequently, “Thomas Russell was arrested and charged with obstructing police but was
later found not guilty. No drugs were found in the Russell family’s
apartment, though police recovered drugs in the building’s other unit,
the family’s lawyers said,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Russell family filed a lawsuit alleging excessive force, false arrest and illegal seizure. According to the family’s Chicago personal injury attorneys, the brothers did nothing wrong the evening of the raid and fully cooperated with police. It would appear that the jury deciding this case agreed, awarding Thomas and Darren Russell $175,000 and $85,000 respectively and their parents each $35,000. Additionally, the family was awarded $2,000 in punitive damages, levied against the officer who shot the dog and $1,000 against the supervisor who decided to arrest Thomas Russell.

A spokeswoman for the city’s Law Department has expressed dissatisfaction with the result, indicating that the damages awarded are “excessive.”

In situations where an individual feels that they have been subjected to pain and suffering due to the action of another, Chicago personal injury attorneys may be able to help. While nothing can right a a wrong like the loss of a family pet, holding a group or individual accountable can help ease pain and suffering.


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Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the American Institute of Legal Counsel. A description of the selection methodology can be found at

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys. A description of the selection methodology can be found at

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list for 2018-2019.

  • Only the top 100 trial lawyers from each state or highly-populated regions of certain states who are actively practicing in civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law are eligible for invitation. Invitees must demonstrate superior qualifications, leadership skills, and trial results as a legal professional. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process based upon objective and uniformly applied criteria which includes peer nominations combined with third party research.

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  • The American Institute of Trial Lawyers is an invitation only professional organization composed of premier trial attorneys from each state. These attorneys exemplify the very best qualities and qualifications of an attorney. Each attorney must meet stringent qualifications as a civil or criminal trial attorney. These attorneys practice in a variety of fields to help and promote the ethical and elite practice of law. Selection is based on a thorough multi phase process which includes peer nominations and third party research. Each member must be in good standing with their local compliance organization. Membership is extended to only a select few in each state and/or region.

  • As the founder of Steven J. Malman and Associates, P.C., Attorney Steven Malman has 21 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, premises liability, construction and workers’ compensation cases. Mr. Malman is one of Chicago’s leading authorities on personal injury law and has taken a special interest in defending the elderly from neglect and abuse. He has personally handled over 10,000 cases successfully, and collected hundreds of millions dollars for his clients.

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