Four of the so-called "Dixmoor Five" demanded justice Wednesday at a press conference with their attorneys.
Last year, prosecutors withdrew charges against them in the 1991 rape and murder of 14-year-old Cateresa Matthews.
DNA evidence cleared the five men after two served 10 years in prison and the other three served more than 19 years.
"This one incident destroyed so many lives it's pathetic," said Robert Taylor, one of the so-called Dixmoor Five. "We ain't the first and we ain't the last ones this is going to actually happen to until somebody actually does something about it."
The lawsuit says DNA evidence links a convicted sex offender to the crime, though there have not been any new charges against that suspect.