Lambda Legal announced Monday it has reached a settlement agreement with a man charged with the anti-gay attack of a University of Wisconsin student.
Making the case for Brett Timmerman, an openly gay former college student, Lambda Legal invoked the civil recovery provision in Wisconsin’s hate crime law, which provides special damages for victims of violence on the basis of sexual orientation. The parties have agreed upon payment of an undisclosed amount.
“We are relieved that Brett will be compensated for the emotional and physical injuries he suffered,” said James P. Madigan, staff attorney in Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Office in Chicago.
“This is the first time the civil provision in the hate crime law has resulted in a settlement of an antigay violence case- it sends a strong message that you can’t assault someone and get away with it.”
The settlement comes after Lambda Legal filed a complaint with the Circuit Court of Grant County, WI in September 2006 on Timmerman’s behalf. According to the complaint, Timmerman, then a student at UW-Platteville, was about to walk into a local sandwich shop when his would-be attackers called him a ‘faggot’ and told him to take his ‘faggot-ass back to Madison.’ Timmerman was slapped and spat upon before being tackled to the ground by the neck. His eardrum ruptured as a result.
“This settlement comes after a long and emotional process for me,” said Timmerman, “but I hope that the visibility of my case will help others understand their rights.”