Civil lawsuit against ex-coroner dismissed
By Matt Hanley email@example.com September 10, 2012 5:14PM
Kane County Coroner Chuck West.
Updated: September 10, 2012 9:36PM
GENEVA — The civil suit filed by an employee against former Kane County Coroner Chuck West has been dismissed.
Even after West died in July, the attorney representing the coroner’s office employee said the suit could go on against his estate.
Kane County Deputy Coroner Loren Carrera originally sued in 2011 on claims that West retaliated against her for tipping off a criminal investigation into the theft of a TV from a dead man’s home by coroner’s employees. The lawsuit claimed West harassed Carrera, even urinating on her chair at work.
Portions of the lawsuit, as well as two codefendants — West’s son and a woman described as his girlfriend, both of whom worked for the coroner’s office — had been dismissed months earlier, but claims West violated the Whistleblower Act remained.
West died from complications after a liver transplant with both criminal misconduct charges and the civil suit pending. The criminal charges ended with his death. But in July, attorney Nils Von Keudell said he planned to pursue the civil case, even though West’s illness had prevented him from being deposed.
Last week, the suit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning it cannot be re-filed.
Neither Von Keudell nor Patrick Kinnally, West’s attorney, were available for comment on why the case was dismissed, or whether there was a settlement.
A judge did approve having the county pay Kinnally $18,613 for legal fees and $307 for expenses. The fees were for 76 hours Kinnally had spent working on the case, according to court records. The expenses were for mileage, postage and copying. A private attorney was appointed to represent West after the Kane County state’s attorney’s office cited conflicts tied to the criminal case and its working relationship with the coroner’s office.
Carrera has been running the coroner’s office since February. Former Sugar Grove Police Chief Brad Sauer was appointed to serve as Kane County coroner until the November election.