2 removed but civil suit against Kane coroner proceeds
A judge has removed the son of Kane County Coroner Chuck West and the son's girlfriend in a lawsuit filed by West's second in command.
But the most substantial parts of the suit -- allegations the coroner violated the Illinois Whistle-blower's Act and inflicted emotional distress -- are still in the civil case filed by Deputy Coroner Loren Carrera, her attorney said Wednesday.
"This case is really about the retaliation," attorney Nils von Keudell said. "The Whistle-blower's Act is the main count and the emotional distress it's caused Loren."
West, 68, of Elgin, faces criminal misconduct charges that he stole a television from the home of a dead Carpentersville man in 2007.
If convicted of the felony charges, he could face up to five years in prison. Probation also is an option. West is due in court Dec. 7 and a trial date could be set.
Earlier this year, Carrera sued Chuck West and Eric West and his girlfriend Lisa Gilbert. Carrera argued that Chuck West had retaliated against her and showed blatant favoritism to the other two. Eric West and Gilbert are both deputy coroners.
Some of Carrera's claims were that Chuck West threatened her during a staff meeting, harassed her, and later urinated on her office chair.
Judge Robert Morrow ruled earlier this month that Eric West and Gilbert should be removed from the lawsuit, which seeks more than $50,000 in damages.
Morrow also ruled that a criminal court, not civil court, should deal with allegations that Chuck West violated the Illinois Coroner's Act.
Attorney Patrick Kinnally, who the county appointed to defend the trio, said Gilbert and Eric West were pleased with the ruling.
"From that standpoint, this case is a lot smaller that it was before. We've got two counts left," Kinnally said.
Von Keudell also dropped Carrera's claim of retaliatory discharge because she is still employed at the coroner's office.
Both sides are due in court again Jan. 17, when Chief Judge F. Keith Brown is expected to be appointed to the case instead of Morrow, who is moving courtrooms.
"The case will go forward slowly but surely toward trial," von Keudell said.
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