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Timm v. Illinois Dep't of Corrections

October 11, 2007

ALAN TIMM, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael M. Mihm United States District Judge

ORDER

This matter is now before the Court on Defendant 's Motion for Summary Judgment. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [#13] is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

Kimberly Davis-Bills ("Davis") was an inmate at the Dwight Correctional Center and was housed in the C12 Cottage for inmates in disciplinary segregation. The C12 Cottage has four wings in ths shape of a letter "K" which are referred to as the A, B, C, and D wings. A centrally located control panel allows corrections officers to see onto the various wings in the building, and a corrections officer stationed in the control panel controls the door into the building. On November 4, 2003, Officer Larry Ford ("Ford") was assigned to the control panel in C12 Cottage from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Officer Jeremy Stevens was assigned to the A and B wings from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Officer Barbara Hoffmeyer ("Hoffmeyer") was assigned to the C and D wings from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Plaintiff, Sergeant Alan Timm ("Timm"), was a correctional sergeant who supervised the C12 Cottage during the 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. shift and was usually positioned in the control panel.

At approximately 10:00 to 10:30 a.m., Davis appeared before a hearing officer on a disciplinary ticket that she had received. After returning her to her cell, Officer Hoffmeyer advised Sergeant Timm that Davis complained of feeling dizzy. Sergeant Timm recalls being told that Davis wanted to see the nurse and instructed Officer Hoffmeyer to call the nurse and follow her directions. Officer Hoffmeyer called Nurse Janice Miller ("Miller"), who told Officer Hoffmeyer to instruct Davis to lie down and elevate her feet. Officer Hoffmeyer relayed these instructions to Davis.

Shortly thereafter, Officer Hoffmeyer told Sergeant Timm that Davis was lying on the floor. Sergeant Timm went to her cell and looked through the window. He observed Davis lying on her side on the floor "like she had a seizure" and assumed that she had had a seizure. Sergeant Timm asked her if she was OK and told her that she needed to get up off the floor; Davis responded "Yeah" and waived her arm. He then asked Davis' cellmate if everything was OK, and her cellmate answered "Yes" and indicated that they were just talking.

By 12:45 p.m., Sergeant Timm had left the cottage and gone to the administration building to speak with the assistant warden. After about 20-30 minutes, Sergeant Timm received a call from the shift commander's secretary regarding the Christmas party. He spoke to her about the Christmas party for 10-15 minutes before receiving a call from Officer Mark Sila, who advised him that Davis was lying on the floor. Officer Sila was in the cottage to take inmates, including Davis, to the health care unit. Davis was not dressed, so Sergeant Timm instructed him to take someone else.

Sergeant Timm then returned to the cottage and went down to Davis' cell. He nudged her on the hip with his foot, but she was not responsive. He then felt for a pulse on her neck but could not find one. Sergeant Timm went to the panel to call the nurse and observed nurses already coming in the door of the unit. Davis was then transported to the hospital via ambulance.

At 5:45 p.m. on November 5, 2003, Davis was pronounced dead at the University of Illinois -- Chicago Hospital. Her cause of death was determined to have been intra-cerebral hemorrhage due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease.

The Department of Corrections conducted an investigation into the incident. The investigative report indicated that Christine Kazmirzak ("Kazmirzak"), Davis' cellmate, observed a 35-year old, tall, white male look into the cell during the morning and tell Davis, "Get up, or are you going to lay there all fucking day until the next shift comes." Kazmirzak observed the same male officer return to the cell later, open the door, place his foot on Davis' buttocks, shake her and say"Come on, you can get up." Another inmate, Michelle Vancil, observed Sergeant Timm open the door and nudge Davis with his foot. The investigation concluded that Sergeant Timm, Officer Hoffmeyer, and Officer Ford had violated the Department Rules of Conduct regarding negligence.

On January 15, 2004, employee review hearings were held regarding the incident. Ted Conkling ("Conkling"), the Assistant Warden of Programs was the Employee Review Officer. Following the hearings, Conkling recommended that Sergeant Timm be discharged due to the "severity of the incident and the overall failure of Sgt. Alan Timm to complete his supervisory responsibilities." In making his recommendation, Conkling noted that Sergeant Timm failed to accurately report the incident, in that he neglected to report any involvement by him prior to 2:00 p.m. that day. Conkling also recommended the discharge of Officer Hoffmeyer due to the "severity of the incident" and her failure to seek out another supervisor after Sergeant Timm failed to take action; Officer Hoffmeyer had likewise failed to report any of her involvement prior to 2:00 p.m. that day. Conkling further recommended that Officer Ford receive a 10-day suspension for failing to record any entries in the panel logbook from 10:20 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. on November 4, 2003. Warden Alyssa Williams concurred with Conkling's recommendations. The Department of Corrections subsequently approved a 15-day suspension for Officer Hoffmeyer in lieu of the recommended discharge.

In October 2004, the Union, Officer Hoffmeyer, Officer Ford, and the State entered into an agreed resolution prior to arbitration. By agreement, Officer Ford's suspension was reduced to one day, and Officer Hoffmeyer's suspension was reduced to 10 days. Sergeant Timm proceeded to arbitration, and his discharge was ultimately upheld by Arbitrator Herman Torosian on August 12, 2004.

On September 21, 2005, Sergeant Timm filed this action alleging that the Department of Corrections discriminated against him on the basis of his gender. The Department of Corrections has now moved for summary ...


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