County Settles Retaliatory Discharge Suit against State’s Attorney for $75,000

The retaliatory discharge case of Kirk Chrzanowski against the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office was settled today for $75,000.

The guts of the case claims that Assistant State’s Attorney Kirk Chrzanowski was fired by McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi because Chrzanowski testified in the criminal case against Bianchi brought by Special Prosecutor Skip Tonigan.

Chrzanowski, represented by attorney Rebecca Lee, sought compensatory damages of $50,000 and punitive damages to be determined at trial.

He also asked for reinstatement with the same seniority status, plus back pay.

The case was filed early in 2012.  He left the office in December of 2011.

In his last year, he was paid $62,543.

Four years of back pay would have amounted to at least $250,143.

This morning the County and Chrzanowski settled prior to the trial that was scheduled to start today.

The steelement is subject to County Board approval,

Should Chrzanowski have won the case, the State’s Attorney would have had to have re-hired him, paid him damages in excess of $50,000, plus four and one-half years of salary, plus attorney fees, which in total would have been in excess of $350,000

The Judge was Philip Reinart.

Here’s the entry in the U.S. Circuit Court Clerk’s records:

MINUTE entry before the Honorable Philip G. Reinhard: Jury trial previously scheduled to begin on 8/1/16. Jury trial stricken. Settlement conference held 8/1/2016.

Parties report cause settled subject to County Board approval as stated in open court.

The parties are directed to file a stipulation to dismiss with the court. Mailed notice (kms) (Entered: 08/01/2016)


County Settles Retaliatory Discharge Suit against State’s Attorney for $75,000 — 4 Comments

  1. What the heck?

    It is just tax dollars!

    More where they came from!

    At least for a little while.

    I wonder if any of those tax dollars will end up in the Miller campaign fund?

  2. The Miller in this case is a lawyer not running for public office.

    She could donate to any campaign she wishes, subject to campaign finance law.

  3. Lee has several partners and for four years of litigation they came up way short.

    It is likely that Ms Lee’s firm will receive 1:3 or $25,000. $25,000/4years = $6,250 per year.

    This seams like chicken feed when it comes to that long of a case and it was enough for them to stop.

    Likewise the county although paying avoided the risk of paying five times the settlement amount.

    It’s a lose lose, not a win win.

    Nevertheless it makes sense why the parties settled

  4. Settlements like this are always interesting.

    The fact that Chrzanowski was willing to settle for 21 cents on the dollar implies that he believed he had less than a 21% chance of winning a full demand judgment at trial.

    The fact that the county was willing to settle for this amount also implies that they believed they would have a 79% chance of total victory at trial.

    I wish our elected decision makers had the stones to take a case you’ll win 4 times out of 5 to trial to send the message that if you bring a weak case against our taxpayers, we will crush you.

    The effect of deterring future nuisance litigants would have been well worth it.

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