Michael Strandell was arrested, strip searched, and imprisoned in Jackson County, Illinois (defendant). Strandell subsequently committed suicide. Strandell’s parents (plaintiff) filed suit against Jackson County, alleging violations of their son’s civil rights. Although the Strandells were requesting $500,000, the County refused to discuss settlement. At a pretrial conference, the court suggested the parties agree to a nonbinding summary jury trial to promote settlement. The Strandells’ attorney, Thomas Tobin, declined to participate, noting that a summary trial would require him to disclose privileged documents. The court ordered the parties to participate in the summary trial, and again Tobin refused. The court held Tobin in criminal contempt and fined him $500. Tobin appealed.