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Local

Kane County, corrections officer and security company ask judge to dismiss Delnor hostage suit

Kane County Sheriffs Office spokesperson Lt. Pat Gengler addresses the media after a suspect was fatally wounded following a hostage situation at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva on May 13. Kane County, a Kane County jail corrections officer and a hospital security company have asked a federal judge to dismiss a case filed against them.
Kane County Sheriffs Office spokesperson Lt. Pat Gengler addresses the media after a suspect was fatally wounded following a hostage situation at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva on May 13. Kane County, a Kane County jail corrections officer and a hospital security company have asked a federal judge to dismiss a case filed against them.

GENEVA – Kane County, a Kane County jail corrections officer and a hospital security company have asked a federal judge to dismiss the case filed against them involving Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital nurses held hostage and abused while on duty May 13.

Two nurses and their husbands filed a civil litigation lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the county, Kane County jail corrections officer Shawn Loomis and Delnor Hospital’s security company, Apex3 Security LLC, on May 25. Two more nurses filed lawsuits May 30. The group is seeking unstated compensation for medical care and other costs associated with the May 13 incident at the hospital.

Tywon M. Salters, 21, of Chicago, a Kane County jail inmate, stole Loomis’ 9mm handgun and proceeded to take one nurse hostage, followed by another, according to court documents. Loomis had been charged with keeping guard over Salters while he recovered from surgery in the hospital. Salters allegedly beat and raped a nurse while holding the gun to her head. He later was killed in a SWAT standoff.

The three defendants face six counts each alleging that the entities failed to protect the nurses and their husbands from damages Salters inflicted.

Kane County, through its attorneys – Michael J. Atkus and William W. Kurnik – filed a motion to dismiss the case to Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan on Sept. 5 on the grounds that those suing it failed to make a claim against Loomis, its employee. Court documents state that the plaintiffs did not provide factual evidence that Loomis’ failure to protect directly caused them harm, and that examples from similar lawsuits indicate law enforcement officers cannot be held responsible for random acts of violence.

In defense of Loomis, attorneys Michael Bersani, Michael Condon and David Mathues filed a motion to dismiss the next day, the final opportunity to file such a motion, and outlined a similar argument.

“No amount of apathy, sloth or incompetence in response to a known threat of private violence violates the federal constitution,” the motion states. “As harsh as this rule may appear when juxtaposed against any individual tragedy, the rule promotes the welfare of society as a whole and respects the autonomy of individual communities.”

Both the county and Loomis’ arguments repeatedly state that the attacks could have happened to anyone – the nurses just happened to be in close proximity to Salters.

“The federal Constitution is not a vehicle for the recompense for all injuries. And federal courts should not be deciding, through liability rules, how much local law enforcement is enough,” they argue in court documents.

Apex3, represented by Segal McCambridge Singer and Mahoney Ltd., also filed a motion to dismiss the case and passed much of the blame to the Kane County Sheriff’s Office. In a memorandum written to support its motion, the security company said it is not legally obligated to guard an inmate in the sheriff’s office’s custody. The document goes on to say the company also was not given a choice to refuse the inmate’s treatment.

“Just because an inmate like Salters is admitted to a hospital for emergency medical treatment, as required by federal and state law, does not mean that the hospital and its security staff voluntarily accepted or undertook any duty,” the memorandum states.

After Delnor declined to provide information for the case at the beginning of August, citing concerns about ownership of its material, Der-Yeghiayan set a timeline for future court dates.

The plaintiffs will have until
Nov. 6 to file responses to the motions to dismiss, and the defendants will have until Nov. 27 to reply to those.

The case’s next status hearing is set for April 5.

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