Governmental & Civil Rights

Crisis events may involve high risk, high exposure, and media attention. Our team has developed a seven-step critical response program that we employ if one of these events occur. Additionally, through counseling on a variety of issues related to public entities, we pursue the goals of reducing lawsuits and minimizing costs of defense and ultimate liability. If litigation occurs, our experienced legal team will work to provide a swift and effective resolution to the matter.


Our attorneys will train your staff and work with you to develop written policies and plans that you can implement before, during, and after a critical incident. If an incident does occur, we will work side by side with you to develop a strategy for press releases, media responses, investigations, potential discipline, and future litigation.

Section 1983 Civil Rights Defense

Civil rights defense is a unique area of law requiring extensive knowledge of 42 USC §1983. This statute provides a civil cause of action for violations of an individual’s constitutional rights by a state actor. Our attorneys have in-depth experience defending police officers, police departments, and local governments in these complex claims, with all of their unique characteristics and pitfalls. Defending such claims requires knowledge and understanding of the duties of law enforcement and the legal system, as well as a sense of fairness and confidentiality.

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HeplerBroom’s Governmental and Civil Rights Practice Group has defended claims involving:

  • excessive force
  • false arrest
  • coerced confessions
  • officer-involved shootings
  • unlawful detention and arrest
  • illegal/unreasonable search and seizure
  • police misconduct
  • malicious prosecution
  • failure to train
  • Monell claims
  • in-custody deaths
  • due process violations
  • unlawful policy and practice
  • wrongful convictions
  • improper procedure
  • denial of healthcare
  • wrongful death actions
  • cruel and unusual punishment
  • deliberate indifference
  • First Amendment violations
  • sexual abuse

Legal Counseling Services

Our attorneys are experienced in representing a variety of local governmental entities and special districts—including municipalities, counties, townships, park districts, school districts, and fire protection districts—in a variety of capacities, from general counsel to special counsel.

We are knowledgeable in the laws governing the critical day-to-day matters encountered by local governments, which enables us to effectively counsel our clients in the following areas:

  • legislative and procedural matters
  • state and federal compliance issues
  • ethics and conflicts of interest
  • public bidding
  • purchasing and contracting
  • open meeting and open records
  • labor and personnel issues
  • FOIA responses
  • council, committee, and board meetings
  • government functions and practices
  • finance
  • vendor contracts
  • land use matters
  • prosecutions
  • labor negotiations
  • drafting and reviewing policies, procedures, and general orders
  • internal investigations (employment, racial profiling, elected officials)
  • crisis response programs

Litigation Services

Our Governmental and Civil Rights attorneys have extensive experience in state and federal courts in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri, defending §1983 actions and lawsuits alleging personal injury, property damage, and breach of contract. Further, we defend employment-related claims.

Tort Litigation

Our attorneys defend police officers, police departments, prosecutors, and local governmental entities in tort claims brought in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri state courts. This requires an understanding of the unique laws applicable to such claims, including immunities and other defenses. We have successfully defended claims involving:

  • wrongful death
  • personal injury
  • property damage
  • negligence
  • breach of contract

Employment Litigation

We also regularly represent a variety of local governmental entities in employment litigation matters. We have extensive experience in matters involving:

  • discrimination
  • retaliation
  • wrongful discharge
  • breach of employment contracts
  • whistleblowers
  • disability

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