Lake County Sheriff Sued For Overtime

Former marine patrol deputy says office shortchanged him

By Susan Kuczka
Tribune staff reporter
Published December 31, 2006

When former marine patrol deputy Jack Manley resigned from the Lake County sheriff’s office two years ago, officials cut him a check to cover overtime he said he was owed.

But now Manley has sued the sheriff’s office in U.S. District Court in Chicago, saying the sheriff’s office shortchanged him.

“Our lawsuit basically claims a failure to pay him overtime,” said Chicago attorney Ryan Stephan, who is representing Manley in the case before Judge Matthew F. Kennelly.

Newly elected Sheriff Mark Curran learned of the class-action lawsuit earlier this month, shortly after he defeated 10-year incumbent Gary Del Re in the November general election.

Curran said he is confident the sheriff’s office can successfully defend itself in the case.

Federal and state labor laws require full time-and-a-half be paid to non-exempt employees who work overtime.

“I’m not worried about it,” said Curran, a former criminal defense attorney, whose current office is represented in the lawsuit by the Lake County state’s attorney’s office.

The sheriff’s marine unit patrols Lake Michigan and the Chain o’ Lakes.

Manley’s lawsuit claims deputies from the roughly 50-officer marine unit routinely worked more than 40 hours a week without getting appropriate overtime pay.

But Meg Marcouiller, chief of the civil division of the state’s attorney’s office, said no one besides Manley has come forward to join the class-action lawsuit since its filing last September. A trial date has not been set, she said.

“We’re examining thousands of records, but we don’t really expect to see a class of marine unit deputies who are working more than 40 hours per week,” Marcouiller said.

During Del Re’s administration, many of the deputies assigned to the marine unit were full-time police officers from various suburban municipalities who worked part time for the sheriff during the summer, said Curran, adding that he is reviewing the practice.