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Judge rules on amending O’Fallon police officers lawsuit and additional subpoenas

St. Charles County Circuit Court Building [Photo by John Tremmel]

St. Charles County Circuit Court Judge Jon A. Cunningham has granted a motion by two police officers for filing an amended, expanded lawsuit, but denied their motion for issuing additional subpoenas.

In a motion filed on June 24 to amend their lawsuit, O’Fallon police officers Capt. Jeffrey Gray and Maj. Kyle Kelly accused the city of O’Fallon of additional Unlawful Employment Practice [gender discrimination], additional Unlawful Discriminatory Practice [retaliation], and additional Unlawful Discriminatory Practice [hostile work environment].  They also sought to amend the lawsuit by adding Count VII – Defamation by Mayor Bill Hennessy.  The plaintiffs continued to demand a jury trial, same as in the original lawsuit.

The plaintiffs had filed an additional motion that same day to issue new subpoenas upon John Griesenhauer, O’Fallon’s administrative services director, Paul Huff, the city’s information technology director, Tanya Davies, director of human resources, Tim Clothier, chief of police, plus the city of O’Fallon and the O’Fallon Police Department.

At 9 a.m. on July 19, Cunningham conducted a motion hearing. The defendant did not object, so the judge granted the motion for the plaintiffs to file an amended lawsuit.  Then the amended lawsuit with additional accusations, count VII and a request for additional damages was filed and accepted by the court.

That same day, the city of O’Fallon [defendants] filed a motion to quash the new subpoenas and to issue a protection order, to prevent specific individuals from being named as defendants [restrict the named defendant to be just the city of O’Fallon]. They also asked for reimbursement of attorneys’ fees.

On Aug. 16, Cunningham granted the motion by the defendant to quash additional subpoenas, but denied their request for attorneys’ fees and protective order.

The next step in the case is for the judge to rule on competing proposals for case management, including the content and pace of providing discovery materials requested by the two police officers. The defendant filed a proposed case management order on July 31; the plaintiffs filed their proposed case management order on Aug. 6. The judge has those under consideration at this time.

When asked for a comment on Aug. 19, O’Fallon Communications Director Tom Drabelle said, “As a matter of policy, the city does not comment on active litigation.”

On Aug. 21, the plaintiffs’ attorney, John Lynch, said he “is disappointed in the continuing delays in completing discovery and getting to trial.”

“We plan on pursuing the same course of action as it relates to discovery delays,” he said. “I’m filing the same request for discovery again this week.”

The original lawsuit had requested compensatory damages of $25,000 per each of six counts, plus punitive damages per each of six counts in an amount deemed just, proper, and sufficient to punish the defendants and deter future like conduct. In the now amended lawsuit, a new Count VII also includes compensatory damages of $25,000 plus punitive damages.

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