Illinois Harassment-Suicide Suit Dismissed By Agreement

A lawsuit filed by the husband of an Illinois firefighter who committed suicide has been dismissed by agreement of all parties. Daniel Zaboroski filed the suit in 2021 as the executor for the estate of his wife, Nicole Hladik, and on his own behalf, naming the Village of Hinsdale and a lieutenant.

The suit alleged that Hladik committed suicide on July 21, 2020, as her probationary period with the Hinsdale Fire Department was coming to an end, due to harassment. According to the complaint:

  • In her final words before her death, Hladik described her despair and torment from her work with the Hinsdale Fire Department where she wrote: “Work has destroyed me.”; “I cannot take one more single day. Almost everyone at work will only be relieved.”; and “P.S. You’re welcome Lieutenant, I’m gone. I’m no longer your problem. You win.”

The suit survived an initial motion to dismiss in 2022, as Judge Mary R. Rowland of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, concluded the allegations were sufficient at that point to proceed. That apparently changed as discovery progressed.

The Hinsdalean quoted a statement issued by the village as saying:

  • After discovery in the lawsuit, the village advised the Hladik family the village planned to seek sanctions against them for filing a frivolous lawsuit.
  • In return for the village’s agreement not to seek sanctions, the Hladik family agreed to dismiss their claims against the village and Lt. McCarthy with prejudice.
  • The Village of Hinsdale continues to extend its most sincere condolences to Ms. Hladik’s family, friends and coworkers.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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