Family sues Village of Justice, police and landlord over eviction

By Annie Cosby | Jun 6, 2014

A Cook County family is suing over claims they were wrongly evicted from their apartment and had their possessions stolen.

Amanda and Robert Wozniak Jr., as well as their four minor children, filed a lawsuit June 2 in the Cook County Circuit Court against Jan Zielinski, the Village of Justice, its police department and officers William R. Conrad, Barclay Murphy and Joseph Bonkowski.

According to the complaint, a dispute between the Wozniaks and Zielinski, their landlord,  ended in a Cook County court case that determined the family would vacate the property on South 82nd Avenue in Justice by May 27, 2013, but due to unforeseen circumstances, Zielinski allegedly agreed to let the family stay until June 15, 2013.

The Wozniaks claim that when they returned home from work on June 2, Zielinski had entered the home with Conrad and Bonkowski to carry out an eviction, including the removal of their pets, one of whom ran away.

The suit alleges the officers made false accusations to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and threatened the Wozniaks' driving privileges.

The Wozniaks claim they spent the evening searching for their lost dog, whom they found injured, and the spent the night elsewhere. When they returned the next day to gather their possessions, the suit alleges the locks had been changed.

And on June 4, 2013, they contend they discovered neighbors ransacking their apartment with the help of Zielinski's wife, and the Justice Police Department, including Officer Murphy, who supposedly refused to intervene.

The Wozniak family's possessions were never recovered, according to the suit.

The family accuses the defendants of unreasonable search and seizure of property, person and their dog, as well as negligence, trespass to land, conversion of personal property and breach of contract.

The Wozniaks are seeking property damages of $21,000 and more than $50,000 in emotional and compensatory damages. They are being represented in the case by attorney William M. Tasch of Illinois Advocates LLC.

Cook County Circuit Court Case No. 2014L005834.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in the Cook County Circuit Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it only represents one side of the story.

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Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

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