Case Proceeds Against V.A. Officer for Road Rage Incident

In 2018, The Blake Horwitz Law Firm won a victory in federal court when a federal judge determined that a case could move forward against a U.S. Veterans Affair police officer for violating Angel Marquez’s constitutional rights.

As described by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, the lawsuit stemmed from a road rage incident where the V.A. officer hit Mr. Marquez’s vehicle multiple times before driving away. Mr. Marquez eventually caught up to the officer at a red light and confronted the officer about the hit-and-run. The incident culminated with the officer holding a gun to Mr. Marquez’s head after flashing his badge and announcing himself as a police officer despite having no legal authority to do so.

A key issue in the lawsuit was whether the officer “acted under color of federal law” since he was off-duty and not in uniform at the time. The federal judge determined that there were sufficient facts to indicate that the officer had misused his power as a government agent and leveraged his position as a police officer to violate Mr. Marquez’s rights. The judge’s decision ultimately extended the “color of law” legal standard to federal agents, which will impact the ability of future plaintiffs to sue the government for violating their constitutional rights.

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