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Covid-19 pandemic delays police officers lawsuit against O’Fallon

Capt. Jeffrey Gray and Maj. Kyle Kelley filed their six-count employment discrimination lawsuit against the city of O’Fallon on Feb. 12, 2018, in St. Charles County Circuit Court. On July 19, 2019, Mayor Bill Hennessy was added to the lawsuit with a seventh count for alleged defamation. But the case has yet to have its day in court.

The case was delayed throughout 2018 and 2019 for several reasons, including COVID-19.

As of Feb. 5, the plaintiffs still had not received all requested discovery materials or completed requested depositions. On that day, the plaintiffs and defendants had agreed to a joint case management plan approved by Circuit Judge Jon A. Cunningham, setting a discovery deadline of April 24.  Additionally, the defendants were to provide to the plaintiffs and the court a schedule for all depositions by Feb. 17. On Feb. 14, Lynch had anticipated knowing a trial date by no later than April 24.  All of that was upended by city delays and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because of the pandemic, beginning in mid-March and continuing through May of this year, government and court activities in St. Charles County and its municipalities were curtailed or canceled, depending on the urgency and priority of the activity as compared to the need for health safety measures.

On April 14, Gray’s and Kelley’s attorney John Lynch told Mid Rivers Newsmagazine, “We were supposed to have commenced depositions, but the city canceled. Hopefully, we’ll get those done soon.”

In subsequent weeks, Lynch said that the St. Charles County Circuit Court had reduced activities to emergencies only [due to the pandemic], so the lawsuit, depositions and related matters still were on hold.

On June 12, with the announced reopening of most things in the State of Missouri as of Tuesday, June 16, Lynch said he was hopeful that case resumption “should be soon.”

Mid Rivers Newsmagazine published detailed stories about this lawsuit on April 28, July 3, Aug. 23, Sept. 19, and Oct. 31, 2019, and Feb. 18, 2020.

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