Carpentersville: Paramedics did not break law

Published: 10/18/2007 12:13 AM

Carpentersville and two paramedics accused of denying medical treatment to a baby because he was Hispanic on Tuesday denied all the claims filed in a $30 million lawsuit.

James DeAno, representing fire department paramedics James Gruber and Diane Graham and the village, said his clients did not violate any law or the constitutional rights of the plaintiff.

Tuesday's filing asks the court to "enter judgment in their favor."

The complaint was filed last month by former Carpentersville resident Gloria Lopez in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

In his filing, DeAno denies allegations his clients acted with gross negligence and violated the civil rights of Osbiel Lopez, who was 4 months old when he became sick in September 2006.

In addition, DeAno said both defendants are protected under the Illinois Tort Immunity Act.

"Defendants Diane Graham and Martin Gruber, public employees serving in a position involving the exercise of discretion, are not liable for any injury to plaintiffs as a result of exercising such discretion."

Therefore, DeAno asserts, the village is not liable for an injury resulting from an act or omission of its employee where the employee is not liable.

Last month, Gloria Lopez, 28, who has since moved to Elgin, filed a lawsuit alleging her son suffered brain damage as a result of the paramedics' refusal to take him to hospital after a 911 call in September 2006.

The lawsuit claims Osbiel Lopez was vomiting and in distress, but was not immediately taken to hospital.

A second set of emergency medical technicians took Osbiel Lopez to Sherman Hospital in Elgin after the fire department received another 911 call from the baby sitter about three hours after the initial call was placed.

The lawsuit, which seeks $30 million plus the cost of litigation from the defendants, said the village "had a practice and/or policy to limit emergency medical services to persons of Hispanic ancestry."

Prosecutors pointed to the proposed Illegal Alien Immigration Relief Act, a strict crackdown introduced by Trustees Paul Humpfer and Judy Sigwalt that would penalize those who rent to or hire illegal immigrants. The measure is currently tabled.

Although village trustees had not yet introduced the controversial proposal the day the boy got sick, a statement from the boy's lawyers said "anti-immigrant trustees and organizations" had been "part of a years-long campaign" advocating reduced services for Hispanics.

A future court date has not been set.