Houlihan v. City of Chicago, No. 16-2949 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs were white and Hispanic members of Chicago Mayor Daley’s protective services detail, Unit 542. Each held the rank of patrol officer but was assigned to the security-specialist position, and received a sergeant’s pay. Daley announced that he would not seek reelection. Rahm Emanuel began his mayoral campaign. Several police officers volunteered to provide campaign security. Emanuel was elected Mayor. Six of the volunteers were appointed to Emanuel’s transition detail. Emanuel told Interim Police Superintendent Hillard that his permanent detail should reflect the city's diversity and be “bare bones.” Hillard reduced the detail from 21 officers and two commanders to 16 officers and one commander and began his search with officers serving Daley. Hillard claimed that he relied on his command team’s recommendations. He selected five officers working on Emanuel’s transition detail. The final detail contained seven white, five Hispanic, and five black officers. The department reassigned Plaintiffs as patrol officers. Plaintiffs alleged patronage hiring in violation of the First Amendment, 42 U.S.C. 1983; violation of the “Shakman” consent decrees; race discrimination, 42 U.S.C. 1981, the Equal Protection Clause (42 U.S.C. 1983) and Title VII, 42 U.S.C. 2000e. All of the claims were either dismissed or rejected at trial. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Sufficient evidence supported a finding that city officials did not consider political factors when appointing Emanuel’s detail and the court did not err in excluding evidence of historic discrimination.