They got a gang of lawyers, sued the police department, won a 2 million dollar settlement, which ten years later still hasn't been paid because of appeal's and continuences by the police. Her aunt's mother has since passed away and the lawyers say they're going to be buried in paperwork and appeals for another 2 years at least
This doesn't sound right. When you get a settlement a competent counsel sees that you get a check, or a series of checks beginning right away. Settlements aren't appealed. Settlements are when you agree to drop your suit in exchange for money.
What you seem to be describing sounds more like "winning" a lawsuit in court, which can be subject to appeal, after appeal, after appeal, after appeal. You get the point. Just because you win the first court case doesn't mean you've won anything.