The Settlement of the Vodak class action lawsuit over the mass arrests at the March 20, 2003 demonstration to protest the Iraq war was approved by the Chicago City Council Finance Committee on June 4, 2012. The settlement will now go before the full City Council on June 6 and is expected to be approved. The settlement has already received preliminary approval from the judge overseeing the litigation, United States District Court Judge Virginia Kendall. The Plaintiff class is represented by attorneys from People’s Law Office, as well as Jim Fennerty and Melinda Power. Under the settlement, a total of up to $6.2 million will be paid to class members, while the attorneys who have worked on the case for over 9 years will share attorneys’ fees and cost in the amount of $4.8 million.
Approval by the City Council means that settlement administration will now move into high gear. In July, potential Class members will be mailed information about how a class member can claim her or his award from the Claims Administrator, Class Action Administration, Inc.. Potential class members will receive, via regular mail or e-mail or both, a description of the settlement, the claims process, the forms they will need to fill out and instructions on where to mail them once they have filled them out.
It is important that all persons who are class members timely complete the forms and mail them in, because if you do not you will not receive an award.
The District Court will also schedule a fairness hearing, probably in November, 2012, to consider any objections to the settlement. The exact date of this hearing will be contained in the notice describing the claims process.
The class is broken into three subclasses which will each receive different levels of compensation based on the nature and length of their detention. We expect the breakdown of payments to class members to be as follows:
A-3 subclass: those who were arrested, charged, went to court and had the charges dismissed, will receive up to $15,000.
A-2 subclass: those arrested and taken to a police station but released without being charged, will receive up to $8,750.
A-1 subclass: those who were held on the street for over 90 minutes, will receive up to $500.
People who were charged and pled guilty, or who previously opted out of the class action, are not considered class members and cannot receive any of the proceeds from the settlement.
If have moved over the last few years and you think we may not have your current mailing address please email us at VodakClassAction@gmail.com or call (773) 235-0070.
For more information regarding the terms of the settlement, check out
• The District Court’s order of granting Preliminary Approval
• The Plaintiffs’ Memo in Support of the Proposed Settlement
• The Stipulation and Agreement of Settlement (the settlement agreement)