Land of Lawsuits

Your guide to all current COD legal cases

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Land of Lawsuits

Kelly Wynne, News Editor

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Over the past few months, former College of DuPage employees and students have filed numerous lawsuits against the college and select employees. The Courier has put together a cheat-sheet of all of the current lawsuits. Not listed are those filed against the college before former President Robert Breuder’s termination, such as those filed by the Chicago Tribune and Edgar County Watchdogs for public release of information.

Former president

Plaintiff: Former COD President Robert Breuder

Defendants: Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton, Board Secretary Frank  Napolitano, Board Vice Chairman Deanne Mazzochi and Trustee Charles Bernstein, also known as the “Clean Slate.”

Filed: Oct. 21

Reasoning: Wrongful termination

Additional information: Breuder filed his lawsuit just one day after being officially fired by the board of trustees. The lawsuit accuses Hamilton of using the vote to further her own political agenda among other accusations of personal vendettas behind the vote. Many trustees had expected a lawsuit to follow the vote. The board released a document of over 700 pages justifying their vote to fire Breuder. The former president has requested a jury trial. The defendants issued this statement hours after the filing: “The College of DuPage Board of Trustees stands by its action to terminate the employment of Dr. Breuder. It denies the baseless allegations in his lawsuit. The Board will vigorously defend this case in court.”

Former student

Plaintiff: Former COD student Jaclyn Pazera

Defendants: COD officers Raul Valladares and James Tamburrino

Filed: Nov. 6

Reasoning: Forceful Arrest

Additional information: Pazera was confronted for smoking on Dec. 7, 2014 and refused to show proper identification. This led to her arrest for trespassing. Since the arrest, videos have surfaced, which show Pazera being taken to the floor in order to be handcuffed. The college issued this statement on Nov. 6: “The College of DuPage just learned of, but has not yet reviewed, the lawsuit that was filed today. Student safety is of utmost importance to us. Of course, we will investigate to determine the facts and take appropriate action.”

Former Foundation employee

Plaintiff: Former COD Foundation Employee Thomas Simandl

Defendants: College of DuPage, Former Foundation Executive Director Catherine Brod and Foundation Associate Executive Director Karen Kuhn.

Filed: Nov. 25

Reasoning: Gender Discrimination

Additional Information: The lawsuit describes  Simandl as the only male employee of the foundation, detailing unpleasant interactions between Brod and her male co-worker. Simandl mentions an exchange between Brod and himself, with Brod quoted as saying “ You talk in circles. I purposely avoid you.” Simandl claims to have been the top fundraiser in the foundation, a fact ignored by Brod, as he was continuously passed over for pay raises and promotions. The college declined to comment on the accusations.

Former finance officials

Plaintiffs: Thomas Glaser, former College of DuPage treasurer and Lynn Sapyta, former COD controller

Defendants: College of DuPage, COD board of trustees and Acting Interim President Joseph Collins

Filed: Dec. 1

Reasoning: Wrongful Termination

Additional Information: Both former employees were fired last September on the grounds of alleged financial mismanagement. The suit explains that after being fired, both Glaser and Sapyta became victim to physical ailments. They point out Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton specifically, explaining they felt firing came after they refused to back her in board elections. According to the suit, this is the second case of wrongful termination after that of Robert Breuder, former president. A spokesperson of the college issued this statement on Dec. 1: “Mr. Glaser and Ms. Sapyta’s complaint makes false allegations that the College of DuPage will vigorously defend in court. In fact, they declined due process protections in signed waivers, and now they wish to expend scarce judicial resources adjudicating their specious claim of infringed rights. Even so, the COD scrupulously afforded them every consideration and element of due process prior to making its final decision regarding their status. Their assertions otherwise are clearly contradicted by well-established facts.”

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