ROVNER, Circuit Judge.
This appeal casts a harsh light on some of the darkest corners of life in Chicago. The plaintiff, at the time of the events giving rise to this suit, was a general in the El Rukn street gang, out on parole for a murder conviction, when he became embroiled in a second murder. Among the defendants are several disgraced police officers, including the infamous Jon Burge, a man whose name evokes shame and disgust in the City of Chicago.
In 1971, Darrell Cannon, the plaintiff here, was convicted of the murder of Emanuel Lazar and was sentenced to 100 to 200 years in prison. After serving twelve years of that sentence, Cannon was paroled in January 1983. Approximately ten months later, on October 26, 1983, Cannon found himself behind the wheel of a car, traveling down the Bishop Ford Freeway
A few days later, on November 2, 1983, Cannon was arrested for Ross's murder by three of the defendants in this case, Sergeant John Byrne and Detectives Peter Dignan and Charles Grunhard. These men worked for the Chicago Police Department's Area 2 Violent Crimes division under two other defendants in this case, then-Commander Leroy Martin and then-Lieutenant Jon Burge. Together with police detectives Michael Bosco and Daniel McWeeny, Byrne, Dignan and Grunhard threatened and tortured Cannon until he confessed that he knowingly
Almost immediately after leaving police custody, Cannon recanted his confession again and began to complain about the treatment he received at the hands of these officers. Five days after his arrest, his wife filed a complaint on his behalf with the Chicago Police Department's Office of Professional Standards ("OPS"). But Byrne, Dignan and Grunhard lied to OPS, and the complaint was dismissed as "not sustained." At his criminal trial in 1984, Cannon moved to suppress his confession on the grounds that it was obtained through torture and coercion. Again Byrne, Dignan and Grunhard as well as McWeeny lied, this time under oath, denying that Cannon had been tortured. The court denied the motion to suppress and Cannon's confession was used at trial. In 1984, Cannon was convicted of Darrin
In September 1986, two years after his conviction, Cannon filed a pro se federal complaint from prison, asserting for a third time that Byrne, Dignan and Grunhard had mistreated him. In particular, he alleged that Dignan beat him on the knee with a flashlight; that Dignan played "Russian Roulette" with him with an apparently loaded shotgun, repeatedly placing the barrel in Cannon's mouth and pulling the trigger when Cannon refused to answer questions; that Grunhard, Dignan and Byrne lifted him up from behind by his handcuffs, causing unbearable pain; and that Byrne pulled down Cannon's pants and shorts and applied an electric cattle prod to his testicles, penis and the inside of his mouth repeatedly over an hour-long period as the officers questioned Cannon about Ross's murder. Cannon sought from each officer "$15,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, plus physical injuries, pain, suffering, emotional and mental distress" as well as other relief the court deemed just and proper. R. 28-2, at 42-48. The court appointed attorney E. Paul Lanphier to represent Cannon. Lanphier deposed Byrne, Dignan, Grunhard and McWeeny and all four continued to lie under oath and deny that they had abused Cannon. Both Cannon and Lanphier suspected that Cannon was not the only arrestee who had been abused by these officers — indeed, there had been some news reports of other incidents — but they did not know that the abuse against African American men by Area 2 officers was pervasive and occurred with the complicity of Burge. They did not know that many of the same bizarre and sadistic techniques that these officers used against Cannon had also been used against many other African American men who had been arrested in Area 2. Despite their suspicions, Lanphier did not ask the City or the individual defendants about any other victims of the Area 2 officers.
In 1988, Lanphier assessed Cannon's case in light of the facts known to him at the time: Cannon was now a twice-convicted murderer, a long-time gang member, sentenced to life in prison, accusing his arresting officers of torture. Although Lanphier believed that the second murder conviction would be inadmissible at the civil trial, he advised Cannon that the first murder conviction would be considered relevant and admissible. There was no physical evidence to corroborate Cannon's claims and the officers had repeatedly denied the allegations, including under penalty of perjury. Lanphier assessed Cannon's chances of prevailing as slim and advised Cannon to settle for the $3000 nuisance value offered by the defendants. R. 391-7, at 2-4, 6. Cannon accepted his lawyer's advice and settled the suit in February 1988, signing a broadly worded release of his claims against the named defendants as well as the City of Chicago, which was joined for the purpose of settling the case:
. . .
R. 28-2, at 38-39 (hereafter, the "1988 Stipulation"). After costs and fees, Cannon netted $1247.70. The case against the officers was dismissed with prejudice, and final judgment was entered in favor of Cannon and against the City of Chicago. The 1988 Stipulation was incorporated by reference into the judgment order. R. 28-2, at 37-40; 50-51.
In the meantime, Cannon appealed his conviction. The Illinois appellate court affirmed the denial of his motion to suppress his confession but remanded the case to the trial court for a hearing on the prosecution's use of peremptory challenges to exclude African American jurors. After holding that hearing, the trial court ordered a new trial. People v. Cannon, 293 Ill.App.3d 634, 227 Ill.Dec. 1000, 688 N.E.2d 693, 693-94 (Ill.App. 1st Dist.1997) ("Cannon I"). At the subsequent retrial in 1994, the court declined to revisit the issue of the voluntariness of Cannon's confession and once again allowed the confession to be used as evidence. Cannon was again found guilty of the murder of Darrin Ross, and again sentenced to life in prison.
Cannon appealed again and, this time, the court vacated the conviction and the sentence, and remanded for a new hearing on the voluntariness of Cannon's confession. Cannon I, 227 Ill.Dec. 1000, 688 N.E.2d at 694. The court noted that Cannon had presented the trial court with new evidence in support of his motion to reconsider the ruling from the first trial. In particular, Cannon wished to present (1) a police log indicating that his arresting officers had checked out a shotgun on the day of his arrest, contrary to their testimony at his first suppression hearing that they were not in possession of a shotgun; (2) deposition testimony from Byrne and Dignan in a related civil action; (3) photos taken by OPS of the site where Cannon said he was tortured; (4) testimony of sixteen arrestees who filed charges with OPS that they had been tortured by some of the same officers at Area 2; and (5) evidence that cattle prods small enough to fit in a car's glove compartment existed in 1983. Cannon also supported his motion with an offer of proof stating that the defense, if allowed, would have presented the testimony of eleven other men who had been mistreated by some of the same officers who tortured Cannon. Cannon I, 227 Ill.Dec. 1000, 688 N.E.2d at 694-96.
The court concluded that ordinary principles of collateral estoppel should not bar re-litigation of Cannon's motion to suppress because this was no ordinary case. First, the judge who originally ruled on Cannon's motion to suppress in his first trial was Thomas Maloney, himself an ignominious figure in Chicago politics who was later convicted of accepting bribes to fix murder cases during the same time period as Cannon's original trial. See Bracy v. Gramley, 520 U.S. 899, 117 S.Ct. 1793, 138 L.Ed.2d 97 (1997). Second, Cannon was now prepared to present evidence that the officers who procured his confession regularly used torture to coerce confessions. And third, Cannon had new evidence of coercion that was not available at his 1984 trial. The court found that new evidence and "special circumstances" were well-recognized exceptions to the general rule barring re-litigation of a decided motion, and that both exceptions were relevant in Cannon's case. The court surveyed the evidence that warranted application of the exceptions:
Cannon I, 227 Ill.Dec. 1000, 688 N.E.2d at 697 (internal citation omitted). In December 1997, the appellate court therefore remanded the case for a new suppression hearing that included the new evidence Cannon wished to present.
In January 2001, after the trial court held a hearing on Cannon's renewed motion to suppress but before the court ruled on that motion, Cannon agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charges of armed violence and conspiracy to commit murder, in exchange for a total sentence of forty years' imprisonment. Cannon stipulated that the witnesses who were called to testify in the second trial would testify consistently at any future trial, and that assistant state's attorney Henry Simmons, who took handwritten notes of Cannon's confession in 1983, would testify in conformance with his prior testimony. Without admitting guilt, Cannon agreed that the evidence presented at the prior trial and the statement recorded by Simmons would be sufficient to constitute proof of guilt of the charges of armed violence and conspiracy to commit murder. See North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25, 37, 91 S.Ct. 160, 27 L.Ed.2d 162 (1970) ("An individual accused of crime may voluntarily, knowingly, and understandingly consent to the imposition of a prison sentence even if he is unwilling or unable to admit his participation in the acts constituting the crime. Nor can we perceive any material difference between a plea that refuses to admit commission of the criminal act and a plea containing a protestation of innocence when ... a defendant intelligently concludes that his interests require entry of a guilty plea and the record before the judge contains strong evidence of actual guilt."). With full credit for the time Cannon had already served, the parties agreed that he would be eligible for release in August 2003.
At some point, it became apparent to Cannon that, irrespective of his plea agreement with the State, the Illinois Prisoner Review Board (hereafter "IPRB" or the "Board") had concluded that Cannon was not eligible for release until July 2064, some sixty-one years beyond the date agreed to in his plea. As we noted above, at the time he was arrested for Ross's murder, Cannon was on parole for the 1971 murder of Emanuel Lazar, and had served only twelve years of his 100 to 200 year sentence for that crime. Following his conviction for Ross's murder, in August 1984 Cannon was retroactively declared in violation of his parole in the Lazar case, and his parole was revoked as of his November 2, 1983 arrest date. In February 2003, the IPRB held a hearing at which the Board was advised of the terms of Cannon's plea agreement with the State. The State did not oppose Cannon's parole at that hearing. The IPRB nonetheless refused to release Cannon on parole, and gave no assurances that he would be released prior to July 2064. The IPRB continued Cannon's case for another parole hearing in 2006.
Unsatisfied with that result, in October 2003, Cannon moved in post-conviction proceedings to vacate his plea, contending that he had received ineffective assistance of counsel because his lawyers had not investigated the effect of the plea on the 1984 retroactive revocation of his parole. He also contended that the State had failed to adhere to its side of the plea bargain, and that the plea could not be considered knowing, voluntary and intelligent
In June 2004, Cannon received a full parole revocation hearing before the IPRB. The Board again concluded that Cannon violated his parole in the 1971 case by committing the crime of murder in 1983. The Board stated that it analyzed the evidence without giving any consideration to Cannon's coerced statement to the Area 2 officers except for portions of the statement that Cannon admitted in motions and at trial. The Board first considered Cannon's accountability using the 1983 grand jury testimony of Tyrone McChristian, the brother of Andrew McChristian, as well as Cannon's own sworn testimony.
The Board then considered Cannon's accountability based solely on his own testimony, again excluding his coerced statement except to the extent it was admitted by Cannon's other testimony. According to Cannon's own account of Ross's murder, on October 26, 1983, Cannon met Tyrone at a pool hall. Tyrone told Cannon that McChristian wanted to meet him at his girlfriend's house. Tyrone drove Cannon to the house of McChristian's girlfriend, where McChristian and Ross were waiting. McChristian told Cannon that he was meeting some people and wanted Cannon to "watch his back." Cannon, McChristian and Ross then all took a ride in McChristian's car. With Cannon driving, McChristian and Ross argued about drugs and a robbery. McChristian then brandished a revolver and shot Ross twice in the head. A second round of gunfire ensued. Either Cannon or McChristian retrieved a towel from the trunk to contain the blood from the victim's head. Cannon and McChristian then drove to a prairie behind the Altgeld Gardens housing complex and dumped Ross's body in the prairie. Based on this account, the IPRB rejected Cannon's claims that he did not see the gun, that he did not know that McChristian, his friend of nineteen years, had a gun, and
Cannon then brought suit in state chancery court against the IPRB, asking for immediate release or for a reversal of the Board's revocation decision and a new hearing before the IPRB. The chancery court noted that, although Cannon had entered a guilty plea in 2001, he had not admitted guilt, stipulating only that the factual basis presented by the State was sufficient to support a conviction. The chancery court ordered a new hearing for Cannon before the IPRB, and directed the Board to reconsider its revocation of Cannon's parole without any reliance on Cannon's confession or on Tyrone's grand jury testimony, which Tyrone later asserted was also a product of police coercion. On reconsideration, the IPRB released Cannon on parole. By that point, Cannon had been in prison for twenty-three years following his arrest for Ross's murder.
In the meantime, in 2005, after the State agreed to dismiss the substantive case against him, Cannon filed this suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking damages from the City of Chicago, the officers involved in his torture, and other City employees involved in covering up the torture.
On appeal, Cannon contends that the defendants should not benefit from a settlement agreement that was secured by fraud. He argues that the 1988 Stipulation could not bar claims that did not yet exist and were not contemplated by the parties at the time of the settlement. Cannon also asserts that the defendants' conduct placed him in such a grossly unequal bargaining position that it would be unconscionable to hold him to the terms of the 1988 Stipulation. Finally, he maintains
We begin with the 1988 Stipulation itself. Cannon and the City Defendants agree that the 1988 Stipulation settling the original suit is a contract governed by Illinois law. Cushing v. Greyhound Lines, Inc., 371 Ill.Dec. 941, 991 N.E.2d 28, 92 (Ill.App. 1st Dist.2013) (a settlement agreement is considered a contract, and construction and enforcement of settlement agreements are governed by principles of contract law). See also Haisma v. Edgar, 218 Ill.App.3d 78, 161 Ill.Dec. 36, 578 N.E.2d 163, 168 (Ill. App. 1st Dist.1991) (same). A release within a settlement agreement also is governed by contract law. Farm Credit Bank of St. Louis v. Whitlock, 144 Ill.2d 440, 163 Ill.Dec. 510, 581 N.E.2d 664, 667 (1991); Rakowski v. Lucente, 104 Ill.2d 317, 84 Ill.Dec. 654, 472 N.E.2d 791, 794 (1984). The parties disagree about the scope of the release in the 1988 Stipulation, and whether we may consider extrinsic evidence in determining the scope. "Where a written agreement is clear and explicit, a court must enforce the agreement as written. Both the meaning of the instrument, and the intention of the parties must be gathered from the face of the document without the assistance of parol evidence or any other extrinsic aids." Rakowski, 84 Ill.Dec. 654, 472 N.E.2d at 794. See also Whitlock, 163 Ill.Dec. 510, 581 N.E.2d at 667 ("[t]he intention of the parties to contract must be determined from the instrument itself, and construction of the instrument where no ambiguity exists is a matter of law"); Hurd v. Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon, 303 Ill.App.3d 84, 236 Ill.Dec. 482, 707 N.E.2d 609, 613 (Ill.App. 1st Dist.1999) (where a written agreement is clear and explicit, a court must enforce the agreement as written without the assistance of parol evidence or any extrinsic aids); Haisma, 161 Ill.Dec. 36, 578 N.E.2d at 163 (where there is no ambiguity in the language of a settlement agreement, the determination of the intent of the parties is governed by the contract language alone). In contrast, when a contract is ambiguous, construction of the agreement is a question of fact, and the finder of fact may consider parol evidence in determining the intent of the parties. Whitlock, 163 Ill.Dec. 510, 581 N.E.2d at 667.
Cannon does not assert that any particular part of the Stipulation is "capable of being understood in more than one sense." Whitlock, 163 Ill.Dec. 510, 581 N.E.2d at 667. Instead, he points to a number of decisions in the appellate courts in Illinois that appear to allow the consideration of parol evidence in determining the intention of the parties, even when there is no ambiguity on the face of the contract. For example, in Carlile v. Snap-on Tools, 271 Ill.App.3d 833, 207 Ill.Dec. 861, 648 N.E.2d 317 (Ill.App. 4th Dist.1995), the court commented:
207 Ill.Dec. 861, 648 N.E.2d at 321 (quoting Carona v. Illinois Cent. Gulf R.R. Co., 203 Ill.App.3d 947, 148 Ill.Dec. 933, 561 N.E.2d 239, 242 (Ill.App. 5th Dist.1990) (emphasis supplied in Carlile)). See also Carona, 148 Ill.Dec. 933, 561 N.E.2d at 242 ("It is well established that the intention of the parties controls the scope and effect of the release, and that this intent is discerned from the language used and the circumstances of the transaction."); Chubb v. Amax Coal Co., 125 Ill.App.3d 682, 80 Ill.Dec. 917, 466 N.E.2d 369, 372 (Ill.App. 5th Dist.1984) (the intention of the parties controls the scope and effect of a release, and this intent is discerned from the language used and the circumstances of the transaction); Whitehead v. Fleet Towing Co., 110 Ill.App.3d 759, 66 Ill.Dec. 449, 442 N.E.2d 1362, 1365 (Ill.App. 5th Dist.1982) (the intention of the parties controls the scope and effect of the release and such intent is discerned from the language used and the circumstances of the transaction).
So there are two seemingly inconsistent lines of cases in Illinois regarding whether a court may consider parol evidence in interpreting an unambiguous settlement agreement. The inconsistency can be resolved, though, by following the "circumstances of the transaction" language back to its source. To do so, we must travel nearly 150 years, to a decision of the Illinois Supreme Court interpreting a release that was procured by fraud. See Parmelee v. Lawrence, 44 Ill. 405 (1867); 1867 WL 5174 (Ill.1867). Parmelee addressed (and rejected) a strict common law rule that "the full release of one of several joint tortfeasors released all, even if the release contained an express reservation of rights against the others." Porter v. Ford Motor Co., 96 Ill.2d 190, 70 Ill.Dec. 480, 449 N.E.2d 827, 829 (1983) (interpreting Parmelee). In Parmelee, Lawrence signed a release after he was first presented with two other draft releases. With each of the
Parmelee, 44 Ill. 405, 1867 WL 5174 at *3. The court considered the circumstances surrounding the signing of the release and pronounced it "a dishonest scheme." Parmelee, 44 Ill. 405, 1867 WL 5174, at *4. The court rejected older cases adhering to the strict common law rule and found that "the weight of the modern authorities is against these cases, and in favor of the more reasonable rule, that where the release of one of several obligors shows upon its face, and in connection with the surrounding circumstances, that it was the intention of the parties not to release the co-obligors, such intention, as in the case of other written contracts, shall be carried out[.]" Parmelee, 44 Ill. 405, 1867 WL 5174, at *5.
The Illinois Supreme Court had an opportunity to interpret Parmelee more than one hundred years later. In Porter, a bank representing the estate of the plaintiff's husband settled a negligence action against a driver who caused a crash that resulted in his death. The bank, as administrator of the estate, signed a settlement broadly releasing the driver, his insurer, and any person or company liable "in his stead" from all claims arising from the husband's death. The plaintiff then sought to sue Ford Motor Company, the manufacturer of the Ford Pinto that her husband was driving at the time of his death. Relying primarily on Parmelee, the plaintiff contended that the
Porter, 70 Ill.Dec. 480, 449 N.E.2d at 829. The Illinois Supreme Court disagreed with this broad reading of Parmelee and noted that:
Porter, 70 Ill.Dec. 480, 449 N.E.2d at 830. Because the release contained no express reservation of rights against other parties but instead was a "full or unqualified release as to one indivisible injury given to any of those concurring in its cause," the release served as a bar to the plaintiff's claims against Ford Motor. Porter, 70 Ill.Dec. 480, 449 N.E.2d at 830-31. This was so even though at the time the release was signed, the plaintiff had not yet contemplated
What does all of this mean for Cannon? Parmelee cannot reasonably be read to uniformly allow the consideration of parol evidence in interpreting an unambiguous release. In reality, Parmelee chronicled an instance of fraud in the inducement. See Jordan v. Knafel, 378 Ill.App.3d 219, 317 Ill.Dec. 69, 880 N.E.2d 1061, 1069 (Ill.App. 1st Dist.2007) (fraud in the inducement of a contract is a defense that renders the contract voidable at the election of the injured party).
The broad release that Cannon signed in 1988 included all of the claims "arising either directly or indirectly out of the incident which was the basis of this litigation[.]" R. 28-2, at 39. The incident that served as the basis for Cannon's 1983 pro se complaint also supplied the basis for Cannon's current claims. All of the claims arise from Cannon's torture by Byrne, Dignan and Grunhard on November 2, 1983. That torture led to Cannon's purportedly false confession, which twice led to his conviction for Ross's murder. Cannon also agreed to a "final and total settlement of all claims he has, or may have in the future," arising from the incident underlying the 1983 suit. That language unambiguously includes claims that Cannon asserts he did not contemplate until after the settlement, including claims that he alleges did not accrue until after the settlement. See Rakowski, 84 Ill.Dec. 654, 472 N.E.2d at 794-95 (giving effect to a settlement that released any and all claims "on account of all injuries, known and unknown,
Although Illinois courts construe more narrowly general releases that are unlimited in scope, the release here is limited to future claims that arise from the subject of the first law suit. See Rakowski, 84 Ill.Dec. 654, 472 N.E.2d at 794. In Rakowski, the Illinois Supreme Court held that a party was bound by a release "from any and all claims ... of any kind or nature whatsoever, and particularly on account of all injuries, known and unknown ... which have resulted or may in the future develop from" a particular accident. 84 Ill.Dec. 654, 472 N.E.2d at 794. The court rejected a party's position that he did not intend to release a claim for contribution that did not yet exist at the time of the settlement and was not specifically enumerated in the release. Instead, the court declined to consider parol evidence of that party's intent and applied the unambiguous language of the release. Any unilateral mistake about the effect of an unambiguous release was not a sufficient ground to set aside the release. Rakowski, 84 Ill.Dec. 654, 472 N.E.2d at 794. Cannon attempts to carve out his claims for wrongful conviction and malicious prosecution as separate and distinct incidents not covered by the settlement. But this ignores both the "arising from" language in the 1988 Stipulation and the reality that these claims did in fact exist at the time he executed the 1988 Stipulation. That is, he had already been wrongfully convicted as a result of what he asserts to be a malicious prosecution. That he could not bring these claims until his conviction was set aside is irrelevant to the clear language of the 1988 Stipulation, which releases the defendants from all claims "arising from" the initial incident. We therefore agree with the district court that the release covers all of the claims in Cannon's current suit against the City Defendants.
Our conclusion that the release covers all of the claims in Cannon's current complaint is not the end of the matter. Once a defendant establishes the existence of a release that is legal and binding on its face, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to prove it invalid by clear and convincing evidence. Hurd, 236 Ill.Dec. 482, 707 N.E.2d at 613. Cannon asserts that the City Defendants engaged in fraud and a cover-up of the true facts that caused him to settle on unfavorable terms. He relies largely on our opinion in Bell v. City of Milwaukee, 746 F.2d 1205 (7th Cir.1984), overruled on other grounds by Russ v. Watts, 414 F.3d 783 (7th Cir.2005), for the proposition that a settlement does not bar additional litigation when it is procured by fraud and a cover-up so massive that the plaintiff was deprived of meaningful access to the courts. Cannon asserts that the record contains evidence of fraud that is adequate to create a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether he should be held to the terms of the 1988 Stipulation. The City Defendants argue that Cannon has failed to make out a claim for fraudulent inducement or fraudulent concealment in the execution of the 1988 Stipulation, and that Bell is distinguishable. We will first address whether Cannon raises a genuine issue of material fact regarding fraud in the inducement, and then we will turn to Bell.
Fraud in the inducement of a contract is a defense that renders the contract voidable at the election of the injured party. Jordan, 317 Ill.Dec. 69, 880 N.E.2d at 1069. The elements of a claim for
Wilkinson v. Appleton, 28 Ill.2d 184, 190 N.E.2d 727, 729-30 (1963). See also Jordan, 317 Ill.Dec. 69, 880 N.E.2d at 1069. The problem for Cannon is immediately apparent. When he signed the 1988 Stipulation, he knew that Byrne, Dignan and Grunhard were lying. He was, after all, a witness to his own torture and he knew what had really happened. When he agreed to settle the case, he could not have reasonably believed their statements to be true, and could not have reasonably relied on the truth of their statements in signing the 1988 Stipulation. See Siegel Dev., LLC v. Peak Const. LLC, 373 Ill.Dec. 482, 993 N.E.2d 1041, 1060 (Ill.App. 1st Dist.2013) (as part of its fraud claim, a plaintiff must show that its reliance on the misrepresentation was justified; in other words, the reliance must be reasonable); D.S.A. Fin. Corp. v. County of Cook, 345 Ill.App.3d 554, 280 Ill.Dec. 130, 801 N.E.2d 1075, 1081 (Ill.App. 1st Dist.2003) (a person may not enter into a transaction with his eyes closed to available information and then charge that he has been deceived by another).
In determining whether Cannon reasonably relied on the defendants' lies, we must take into account all of the facts which Cannon knew, as well as those facts that Cannon could have learned through the exercise of ordinary prudence. Siegel Dev., 373 Ill.Dec. 482, 993 N.E.2d at 1060. Cannon knew the officers were lying when they denied torturing him but he asserts he did not know about the broader torture scandal that implicated these same officers. The record reveals that, at the time he was contemplating settlement, both Cannon and his lawyer suspected that the officers had tortured others and Cannon had directed his lawyer to further investigate both the officers and those other incidents. But his attorney never asked any of the defendants in the original suit or any of the extended list of defendants in the current suit any questions about the officers' torture of other suspects. Cannon contends that any failure to pursue additional discovery should not be held against him because the officers who lied about torturing him surely would have lied about torturing others. He is undoubtedly correct that those officers would have lied again but there were many other avenues for discovery that his lawyer could have employed and failed to do so. In support of his claim of a cover-up by City officials, Cannon cites, among other things, the Goldston Report
Cannon relies heavily on our decision in Bell to overcome the deficiencies in his fraud-in-the-inducement claim. The defendants contend that Bell is distinguishable and so we turn to the facts of Bell. On February 2, 1958, Milwaukee police officer Thomas Grady shot and killed Daniel Bell, a young African-American man the officer had pulled over for a broken tail-light. Grady and Louis Krause, another officer who had participated in chasing Bell, immediately fabricated a story to justify what they knew was an unwarranted shooting. When other officers arrived to investigate, Grady told them that he stopped Bell's car for a broken tail-light, and that Bell ran once the car was stopped. Grady said that he believed Bell fit the description given in a police bulletin of a man wanted for armed robbery. Together with Krause, he told the investigators that Bell yelled, "You won't catch me. I'm a holdup man," as he ran. Grady planted a knife in Bell's hand and told the investigators that he shot at Bell as Bell fled. Grady later changed the story, claiming that he fired at Bell after Bell lunged at him with the knife. Bell's family heard about the shooting on the evening news. They went to the police station and asked for an explanation. An officer repeated the story given by Grady and Krause and presented the knife as evidence. Bell's sister, who knew that Bell's knife was at home, disputed the claim and pointed out that Bell was left-handed and the knife was recovered from his right hand. At that point, the officer responded with racial epithets, and ejected the family from the station with threats of arrest.
The subsequent internal investigation revealed inconsistencies in the stories given by Grady and Krause. For example, the officers had given several different accounts of the distance between Grady and Bell when the shots were fired. And Grady changed the story to include the detail of Bell lunging with the knife. Rather than ascertain the truth, superior officers and the district attorney told Grady and Krause to make their stories consistent. An extensive cover-up followed. The officers repeated their lies to journalists, investigators, and at the coroner's inquest into the death of Daniel Bell. At the inquest, Grady amended the estimated distance from which he fired to match the findings of the autopsy. The district attorney and the deputy medical examiner facilitated a biased examination of the witnesses. With no opportunity for cross-examination, questions from Bell's family were ignored. As a result, the inquest jury returned a verdict that the killing was
Bell's family, nevertheless, did not believe the officers' story and his father, Dolphus Bell, brought an action in state court against Grady and the City of Milwaukee for wrongful death and indemnification, seeking damages in the amount of $18,125, at that time the statutory maximum. Throughout the litigation, the defendants continued to claim that Bell had announced that he was a "hold-up man," had lunged at Grady with a knife, and that Grady shot him in self-defense. After a mistrial, the case was reassigned to a second judge who urged the parties to settle. After initially agreeing orally to a settlement of $1800, Dolphus Bell refused to sign the agreement and refused to accept the City's check.
Nearly twenty years after the shooting, Krause approached the district attorney and admitted that he and Grady had lied about the shooting. He told the prosecutor that Bell had not lunged at Grady and that Grady had planted the knife in Bell's hand. The district attorney arranged a wiretap, and in conversations with Krause, Grady admitted on tape that he planted the knife and that the shooting was accidental. Eventually, Grady pled guilty to homicide by reckless conduct and perjury.
In 1979, Bell's siblings (on behalf of themselves and their now-deceased father) filed suit in federal court against Grady, the City of Milwaukee, the police chief, the detective who investigated the shooting, the county and the office of the District Attorney. In addition to civil rights claims for excessive force and deprivation of life without due process, the siblings also alleged that the defendants conspired to conceal the facts of the shooting, that the conspiracy interfered with their ability to bring their claims against Grady and the City of Milwaukee, that the conspiracy deprived them of due process and equal protection, and that these deprivations were compensable under sections 1981, 1983, 1985 and 1986. A jury found that Grady violated Bell's constitutional rights by shooting and killing him and also found that Grady, Krause and other City defendants conspired to cover up the facts of the shooting and killing of Daniel Bell. The jury concluded that Bell's race was an operative factor in the conspiracy.
On appeal, the Bell defendants raised a number of claims but only one is relevant to Cannon's appeal: the defendants' argument that the Bell family's claims were precluded by the earlier settlement agreement and by res judicata. Prior to the trial, the district court had rejected these defenses. The district court concluded that Dolphus Bell had entered into a binding settlement agreement with Grady and the City of Milwaukee but ruled that res judicata could not be applied when the record was replete with allegations of fraud, concealment, and a broad-based cover-up on the part of the defendants. The district court re-affirmed that ruling after the verdict:
Bell, 746 F.2d at 1227 (quoting Bell v. City of Milwaukee, 536 F.Supp. 462, 465-66 (D.C.Wis.1982) (hereafter Bell II)).
On appeal, we agreed that res judicata should not apply. Bell, 746 F.2d at 1227.
Bell, 746 F.2d at 1227-28.
We noted that in the original action brought by Dolphus Bell, the defendants continued to rely on Grady's false representations made at the time of the shooting. We rejected as irrelevant the defendants' contention that Dolphus Bell failed to seek discovery in the original action. We reasoned that, even if the elder Bell had sought discovery, the defendants had not established that he would have been able to obtain sufficient documentary and testimonial evidence to overcome the inquest finding of justifiable homicide, a finding that was facilitated with perjured testimony and a biased investigation. The cover-up implicated high-ranking members of the police department, as well as the district attorney's office and even the medical examiner. Not until Krause came forward twenty years later and revealed the truth could the Bell family fairly present their case:
Bell, 746 F.2d at 1228. Finally, we noted that even if the original settlement were given preclusive effect, Bell's siblings would still have a civil rights claim for damages arising from the defendants' acts of concealment continuing past the prior action. Bell, 746 F.2d at 1228.
We have not had many occasions to apply the reasoning of Bell in the thirty years since its issuance, and that is as it should be. Extraordinary circumstances called for an extraordinary resolution. The district court had two opportunities to consider whether Bell could relieve Cannon
On appeal, Cannon asserts that his knowledge of his torture does not meaningfully distinguish his case from that of Bell. The City Defendants engaged in a decades-long cover-up that deprived him of a fair opportunity to seek meaningful redress in the courts, he contends, and a straight-forward application of Bell bars the defendants from relying on the 1988 Stipulation. The City Defendants continue to assert that Cannon knew he had been tortured and thus was in full possession of the relevant facts giving rise to his civil rights claims, unlike the Bell family, who had "their beliefs alone" to aid them in uncovering the truth. The City Defendants dismiss as irrelevant Cannon's claim that he was in no position to prove his claims of abuse because he was in prison for murder as a result of the false confession he gave under the officers' torture. According to the defendants, Cannon had credibility problems far beyond his conviction in Ross's murder, and the officers' denial of their conduct could not constitute fraud in any case because Cannon knew the truth and was not relying on the officers' assertions when he signed the 1988 Stipulation. Nor could there have been any fraud by the City itself, the defendants argue, because Cannon did not assert a Monell claim in his initial lawsuit and never sought discovery or information from the City. Because Cannon did not ask the City for information about other instances of torture, he cannot complain now that the City concealed the information, according to the defendants.
We agree with the district court that Bell is distinguishable, and we look to the two cases in which we have had an opportunity to apply Bell to demonstrate the differences. We note, though, that neither of these cases involved a settlement followed by a second attempt at litigation. Rather, both addressed free-standing claims of denial of access to the courts. Nevertheless, these two cases aid our understanding of Bell. The "cornerstone of
Vasquez then sued both the off-duty officers who fired the shots and the original investigating officers from Cicero. She alleged that the Cicero officers conspired to cover up and impede the investigation, and she sought damages under section 1983 for deprivation of the constitutional right to seek judicial relief for her injuries, relying on Bell. We noted that "the right of individuals to pursue legal redress for claims which have a reasonable basis in law and fact is protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments." Vasquez, 60 F.3d at 328. A corollary of this right is that efforts by state actors to impede an individual's access to courts may provide the basis for a constitutional claim under section 1983. Citing Bell and Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 822, 97 S.Ct. 1491, 52 L.Ed.2d 72 (1977), we reasoned that judicial access must be adequate, effective, and meaningful, and "therefore, when police officers conceal or obscure important facts about a crime from its victims rendering hollow the right to seek redress, constitutional rights are undoubtedly abridged." Vasquez, 60 F.3d at 328.
We distinguished Bell, however, because the cover-up failed and there were no allegations that the plaintiffs were prevented from pursuing a tort action in state court or that the value of such an action had been reduced by the cover-up. Although the Vasquezes were delayed for approximately six months from learning the facts in support of their claims, ultimately they suffered no prejudice and in fact were able to use the information discovered during the multi-jurisdictional investigation into the circumstances of their injury and the ensuing cover-up by local police officers. In contrast, Bell's family was delayed from seeking justice for nearly twenty years and suffered prejudice that was "extraordinary and extreme." Vasquez, 60 F.3d at 329.
Similarly, in Thompson v. Boggs, 33 F.3d 847 (7th Cir.1994), we found Bell distinguishable from the case of a man who was injured by police officers during his arrest. Boggs was a police officer who attempted to pull Thompson over for driving his motorcycle with a suspended license. Thompson led Boggs on a high-speed chase that ended when Thompson collided with another squad car and was thrown to the pavement. Boggs then restrained Thompson on the ground by placing his leg across Thompson's back in order to handcuff him. Thompson later learned he had suffered a compression fracture of a vertebrae in his lower back. He sued Boggs, claiming, among other things, that the officer denied him his First Amendment right of access to the courts when he failed to reveal in his police report that he had used excessive force in arresting Thompson. 33 F.3d at 849-50.
We concluded that Thompson's case was distinguishable from Bell's in several important respects. Most significantly, Thompson was not deprived of meaningful access to the courts "because he was personally involved in the incident and thus had firsthand knowledge of all the facts and circumstances surrounding his arrest." 33 F.3d at 852. Thompson knew that an officer landed a blow to his back during the arrest, and was able to secure two independent witnesses to the events. "Finally, the facts known to Thompson concerning the arrest were sufficient to enable him to promptly file the instant lawsuit unlike Bell, where the true facts were concealed thereby denying [Bell's family] the opportunity to file a lawsuit until some twenty years after the fact." 33 F.3d at 852-53.
We note again that neither Vasquez nor Thompson addressed a settlement followed by a subsequent lawsuit involving the same facts. Both involved straight-forward claims of denial of meaningful access to the courts. In each case, we ultimately distinguished Bell because the plaintiffs were in fact able to file their claims in a timely manner, and knew the relevant facts of their claims at the time the claims arose (as was the case in Thompson) or soon thereafter (as occurred in Vasquez). Similarly, Cannon knew the facts that gave rise to his claims at the time the claims arose. Like Thompson, he knew first-hand that he had been abused by the officers, that he had falsely confessed and that his false confession had contributed to his conviction. Like Thompson, he knew that the officers were lying or omitting relevant facts from their later accounts of their actions. Like Thompson, the facts known to Cannon were sufficient to enable him to promptly file his lawsuit. Cannon's case, in other words, presented a typical he-said/they-said controversy; in Bell's case, only the officers' side of the story existed.
Moreover, in Bell's case, there was an immediate, top-down cover-up of the facts, with higher ranking officers and the district attorney directing the wrong-doers to synchronize their stories. When seeking information about the shooting, Bell's family was sent away from the police station with race-based threats to leave or face arrest. The inquest was conducted in a biased fashion and as a non-adversarial proceeding in which the questions of the Bell family were ignored. The inquest's conclusion that the shooting was justified presented a significant road-block to the Bell family's civil suit. In contrast, at the time that Cannon settled his case and signed the 1988 Stipulation, so far as the record reveals, there was not yet a cover-up of Cannon's case by higher ranking officials. Cannon has no evidence that the defendants actively discouraged him from seeking discovery or learning the truth, as happened to Bell's family when they approached the police for an explanation of Daniel's death. Indeed, Cannon suspected that others had been tortured and he was aware of public reports of some incidents prior to the settlement. Almost certainly, the officers directly involved in Cannon's torture lied in their depositions and to OPS investigators. But Cannon has presented no evidence that the City knew the officers were lying during the first OPS investigation or that the City thwarted Cannon's efforts to obtain discovery or learn the facts of his torture. In fact, Cannon's lawyer did not seek discovery from the City regarding other instances of torture prior to advising Cannon to settle
Others who were abused by Area 2 officers pursued their claims with more vigor than Cannon and eventually uncovered the broader police torture scandal involving Jon Burge, the officers who worked under him, and the police officials who looked the other way and sometimes actively concealed what they knew about the torture. But at the time Cannon signed the 1988 Stipulation releasing the City and all of its employees from all present and future claims arising from his torture, Cannon was not relying on any false information provided by the City Defendants on the broader torture scandal because he had not sought discovery from the City or the individual defendants on any other incidents involving any other arrestees. Although he now has evidence suggesting that the City behaved deplorably in other litigation after Cannon settled his case, that after-the-fact behavior cannot be said to have induced Cannon to settle his case.
Cannon essentially claims that he would not have settled his case if he had realized that better proof would be available in the future. If he had known that the officers were abusing others, he could have used that information to bolster his own credibility, which had been seriously damaged by his false confession and conviction for the murder of Darrin Ross. We pause for a moment to address the disingenuousness of this argument. First, Lanphier, Cannon's lawyer in the civil case, advised him to settle in 1988 not because of credibility problems created by his conviction for Ross's murder but because of credibility issues created by Cannon's first murder conviction, the one for which he was on parole when he became embroiled in Ross's murder. Lanphier believed that he could have evidence of the second murder conviction excluded at the civil trial. R. 391-7, at 2. Lanphier advised Cannon to settle because the case boiled down to a question of witness credibility and Cannon's first murder conviction made it highly unlikely that a jury would accept Cannon's version of the facts over that of the defendants. Cannon's complaint that he litigated under the burdensome weight of his false conviction for Ross's murder rings hollow in light of his lawyer's actual advice at the time of the settlement. Second, Cannon in fact believed that the officers had abused other suspects and had asked his lawyer to pursue discovery about other abuse at Area 2. He settled his case knowing that this evidence — this better proof — might exist, and knowing that his lawyer had failed to pursue it. R. 363-17, at 2 (letter from Cannon to Lanphier accepting the settlement). Cannon took his lawyer to task for not believing that Cannon had been tortured, and for being unwilling "to fight like hell to prove that they did do it." R. 363-17, at 2. The larger problem with Cannon's regret over settling the case is that, unlike the family of Daniel Bell, Cannon knew all of the relevant facts at the time he settled; to the extent he did not know the facts regarding the officers' torture of others, he was well aware that his lawyer opted not to pursue discovery of those facts. Actions taken to conceal the police torture scandal after the settlement, abhorrent though they were, could not and did not induce Cannon to settle.
Finally, we note that Bell is distinguishable in a few additional respects. We commented in Bell that, even if the settlement
The City Defendants have consistently argued that this litigation is precluded by the 1988 Stipulation, a settlement agreement that they have asked us to analyze using principles of Illinois contract law. By now, the reader may be wondering why we have been mired in Illinois contract law when the straight-forward principles of res judicata would seem to apply. "Under res judicata, a final judgment on the merits bars further claims by parties or their privies based on the same cause of action." Montana v. United States, 440 U.S. 147, 153, 99 S.Ct. 970, 59 L.Ed.2d 210 (1979). Here, the district court dismissed with prejudice the first suit against the three officers and entered judgment against the City of Chicago, incorporating by reference the 1988 Stipulation. That constitutes a final judgment on the merits. See Lawlor v. National Screen Serv. Corp., 349 U.S. 322, 327, 75 S.Ct. 865, 99 L.Ed. 1122 (1955); Golden v. Barenborg, 53 F.3d 866, 871 (7th Cir.1995). A party asserting res judicata or claim preclusion must establish: "(1) identity of the claim, (2) identity of parties, which includes those in `privity' with the original parties, and (3) a final judgment on the merits." Ross ex rel. Ross v. Board of Educ. of Twp. High Sch. Dist. 211, 486 F.3d 279, 283 (7th Cir.2007). Because the earlier judgment was rendered by a federal court, the federal law of claim preclusion applies here. Ross, 486 F.3d at 283. "In order to decide whether the two cases involve the same claim, we ask whether they arise out of the same transaction. If they did, whether or not they were actually raised in the earlier lawsuit, they may not be asserted in the second or subsequent proceeding." Ross, 486 F.3d at 283.
The elements required for claim preclusion would appear to be present here. After all, Cannon filed his 1986 suit in federal court, asserting claims arising from his torture by three police officers. The settlement (which included the City and all of its employees) that ensued was enshrined in a final judgment by the district court, a judgment that incorporated the 1988 Stipulation by reference. Arguably, the claims in both suits arose from the same operative facts, the parties were identical, and there was a final judgment on the merits. Bell itself provided an exception to the normal operation of res judicata. Yet the City has not argued the preclusive effect of res judicata, instead confining its argument to Illinois contract principles and the 1988 Stipulation. Because res judicata is a defense that can be forfeited if not pled, we see no reason to further address the issue. Arrow Gear Co. v. Downers Grove Sanitary Dist., 629 F.3d 633, 638 (7th Cir.2010). We mention it only because it seems odd to ignore an issue that is otherwise so obviously implicated by the procedural stance of the case. The City Defendants have confined their defense of the case to principles of Illinois contract law and we have therefore limited our analysis to that defense.
Cannon next contends that it would be unconscionable to hold him to the terms of the 1988 Stipulation because it is the product of unequal bargaining positions secured by the defendants' fraud. Cannon asserts that he "negotiated under the impossible burden of a conviction for murder," namely his conviction for the murder of Darrin Ross. The defendants, on the other hand, bargained for the settlement from the false position of blameless public servants. According to Cannon, without this handicap, he would have obtained a settlement comparable to those obtained by other plaintiffs who suffered at the hands of Burge and his officers.
The determination of whether a contract or a portion of a contract is unconscionable is a question of law, which we review de novo. Kinkel v. Cingular Wireless LLC, 223 Ill.2d 1, 306 Ill.Dec. 157, 857 N.E.2d 250, 264 (2006). Cannon claims both procedural and substantive unconscionability in the 1988 Stipulation. Procedural unconscionability consists of some impropriety during the process of forming the contract depriving a party of meaningful choice. Phoenix Ins. Co. v. Rosen, 242 Ill.2d 48, 350 Ill.Dec. 847, 949 N.E.2d 639, 647 (2011); Kinkel, 306 Ill.Dec. 157, 857 N.E.2d at 264. Substantive unconscionability concerns the actual terms of the contract and examines the relative fairness of the obligations assumed, asking whether the terms are so one-sided as to oppress or unfairly surprise an innocent party. Phoenix 350 Ill.Dec. 847, 949 N.E.2d at 647; Kinkel, 306 Ill.Dec. 157, 857 N.E.2d at 267.
The facts underlying Cannon's claims of procedural unconscionability are identical to those supporting his claims of fraud in the inducement. That is, he relies on the fact that the officers lied repeatedly, to the OPS, to the trial court, and in their depositions, and in doing so secured his wrongful conviction for murder. That conviction, he argues, placed him in a severely disadvantaged bargaining position. The settlement, he contends, was secured by "years of perjury, obstruction, suppression of evidence, and deceit." At the same time, it is substantively unconscionable, Cannon asserts, because the terms are oppressively one-sided.
We cannot say that Cannon was deprived by the City Defendants of a meaningful choice at the time he settled the case. The factors that we consider in assessing procedural unconscionability "include the manner in which the contract was entered into, whether each party had a reasonable opportunity to understand the terms of the contract, and whether important terms were hidden in a maze of fine print." Frank's Maint. & Eng'g, Inc. v. C.A. Roberts Co., 86 Ill.App.3d 980, 42 Ill.Dec. 25, 408 N.E.2d 403, 410 (Ill.App. 1st Dist.1980). See also Phoenix, 350 Ill.Dec. 847, 949 N.E.2d at 647; Kinkel, 306 Ill.Dec. 157, 857 N.E.2d at 264. First, to the extent that Cannon was operating under the burden of a conviction for murder, he brought that burden on himself with his 1971 conviction in the Lazar murder. Lanphier advised Cannon that he would seek to exclude from the civil trial Cannon's conviction for Ross's murder but Lanphier also advised Cannon that the earlier conviction would be admissible. The first murder conviction would seriously damage Cannon's credibility, as would Cannon's then-membership in the El Rukn street gang. Whether Lanphier was correct about the admissibility (or inadmissibility) of Cannon's murder convictions is irrelevant; at the time Cannon decided to settle, he had only the advice of his lawyer to guide his decision, and that advice excluded the burden of the second conviction. Moreover, Illinois courts have been reluctant to hold that inequality in bargaining
Cannon was, of course, represented by counsel when he entered into the 1988 Stipulation, another factor that weighs against a finding of procedural unconscionability. Fagala v. Sanders, 140 Ill.App.3d 429, 94 Ill.Dec. 846, 488 N.E.2d 1093, 1096 (Ill.App. 5th Dist. 1986). Cannon's letter to his lawyer accepting the settlement reveals that Cannon was deeply dissatisfied with his lawyer but also that he understood what was at stake in settling his case. R. 363-17, at 2. At his deposition, Cannon confirmed that he knew the settlement would end his lawsuit, that no one forced him or threatened him to settle, and that he knew he could take the case to trial. R. 363-11, at 550:5-8; 552:9-553:5.
Moreover, the "years of perjury, obstruction, suppression of evidence, and deceit" occurred largely after Cannon settled his case. True, the officers most directly involved in the torture lied for many years prior to the 1988 settlement, throughout Cannon's criminal and civil proceedings. That would have led to a typical credibility contest in court, and that is not a reason for vacating a settlement agreement. As for the actions of City employees other than the abusive officers, Cannon's lawyer did not question the City Defendants about the torture of persons other than Cannon himself. Having never asked for the information about the torture of others, Cannon may not now claim that the settlement process was marred by a lack of information about the torture of others. What the officers did to Cannon was unconscionable; the formation of the settlement agreement was not.
As for substantive unconscionability, the whole of Cannon's argument appears to be that plaintiffs who settled with the City after the Burge scandal came to light received far more generous settlements (in some cases, millions of dollars), and it would be unconscionable to hold Cannon to the original $3000 settlement. The City Defendants point out that Cannon's original complaint sought $45,000, and that $3000 is not unconscionable in light of Cannon's "own valuation of his claim at the time of the prior settlement, his self-induced credibility problems, his admitted complicity in Ross's murder, and the public policy of finality."
Illinois law does not support Cannon's claim for substantive unconscionability. Although the unconscionability determination is not restricted to the facts and circumstances in existence at the time the contract was entered into, Cannon was fully aware of the extent of his injury at the time he settled. See Razor v. Hyundai Motor America, 222 Ill.2d 75, 305 Ill.Dec. 15, 854 N.E.2d 607, 621 (2006) (courts may consider matters which become known only subsequent to the drafting of the contract — i.e., the type of injuries suffered as a result of breach — in assessing the unconscionability calculus). He did not know that the officers had assaulted others, information that certainly would have bolstered his credibility and probably his recovery, but his lawyer did not seek that information. In Fagala, the court rejected a claim that a plaintiff could avoid a prior settlement by asserting that others in similar circumstances were paid more. Fagala, 94 Ill.Dec. 846, 488 N.E.2d at 1095-96. The court noted that the disparity between the settlements may have been warranted by the difference in the claims against those parties. Fagala, 94 Ill.Dec. 846, 488 N.E.2d at 1096. Other than asserting that the other plaintiffs were also tortured by some of the same officers and received larger settlements, Cannon makes no attempt to demonstrate similarities between the settlement circumstances of other
This case casts a pall of shame over the City of Chicago: on the police officers who abused the position of power entrusted to them, on the initial trial judge who was later imprisoned for accepting bribes to fix murder cases, on City officials who turned a blind eye to (and in some instances actively concealed) the claims of scores of African-American men that they were being bizarrely and horrifically abused at Area 2, and last but not least on Cannon himself, who was a convicted murderer out on parole when, by his own admission, he drove a car for his fellow El Rukn general as a murder was committed in the back seat, and then helped dispose of the body and conceal the crime. It is difficult to conceive of a just outcome given the appalling actions by almost everyone associated with these events but the law regarding the finality of settlements governs the result: Cannon brought his suit against those who abused him and settled it knowing full well that those defendants were lying. He has no evidence that, at the time he decided to settle, the City knew about and purposefully concealed a broader scandal in order to induce him to settle. He signed a broad release precluding him from bringing further claims arising from the same set of facts against any of the City Defendants. Final judgments are final for a reason. Cannon failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact on any theory that would relieve him of the preclusive effect of the first judgment. The judgment of the district court is therefore