State's motion to dismiss or transfer discrimination suit filed against DNR in court Friday

Amelia Flood Jul. 19, 2011, 8:44am


Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla is set to hear arguments from the State of Illinois seeking to dismiss or transfer a discrimination suit filed against the state's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by an African American man who claims the department denied him a promotion due to his race.

The state claims it has absolute immunity to the suit brought by Edwardsville resident Carl Gamble.

If Hylla does not dismiss the case, the state asks the judge to transfer it to Sangamon
County, alleging the plaintiff filed his case in the wrong venue.

The hearing is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. July 22.

Gamble filed the suit last year.

According to his complaint, Gamble applied for a promotion as a DNR police officer that eventually went to a Caucasian candidate whom the plaintiff claims was less qualified for the job.

Gamble claims the DNR failed to examine the two men's job applications and gave the job to someone else solely based upon oral interview questions.

The plaintiff goes on to cite the number of minority employees within the DNR's employment – 45 – as compared to the total of 1,292 the DNR employs. He also claims there is a small number of African Americans employed within the law enforcement division of the department.

The plaintiff is suing for alleged violations of the Illinois Human Rights Act.

Gamble's suit seeks a court order promoting him, unspecified monetary damages, and
other relief.

The state filed its motion to dismiss or transfer the case May 2.

In that motion, the defendants claim that Gamble's claims are barred by the state's sovereign immunity under the State Sovereignty Act which provides that outside of certain cases like those appearing before the Court of Claims, the state can't be named as a defendant in a lawsuit.

The defendants also allege that Madison County is an improper venue under the Human Rights Act because none of the actions the plaintiff alleges led to his damages took place there.

Joel D'Alba represents Gamble.

Assistant Illinois Attorney General Joanna Belle Gunderson represents the defense.

The case is Madison case number 10-L-1127.

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