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O’Fallon police lawsuit resumed, second suit filed

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. From the beginning, Gray and Kelley have insisted on a jury trial. The trial has not yet been scheduled. In Missouri case.net, the case number is 1811-CC00150.

The case was delayed throughout 2018, 2019 and early 2020 for several reasons. On Feb. 5, 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. Then, the city of O’Fallon canceled all depositions in early March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Until the past few weeks, court activities have been curtailed or canceled, depending on the urgency and priority of the activity as compared to the need for health safety measures.

On Aug. 19, the defendants deposed the plaintiffs via Zoom. 

Plaintiffs’ attorney John Lynch spoke with Mid Rivers Newsmagazine and said he “plans to depose 12 people, also via Zoom, with those to be scheduled over the next several weeks.” While the case management plan in February had anticipated a trial date in October, he clarified, “We now plan to have Discovery closed by October.  The trial date currently is unknown.”

Lynch added that on Aug. 17 he had “filed a motion for leave to file a third amended petition, and that motion will be heard next week at 9 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 28. If it is accepted, it will add an eighth count to the lawsuit, alleging defamation by current police chief Timothy Clothier.”

Lynch said that, in addition, he had filed a second, separate lawsuit on Aug. 18 against the city of O’Fallon, alleging four counts of “unlawful employment discrimination and retaliation, including a failure to promote and/or denial of promotion opportunity.”

For each of the four new counts, plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages to exceed $25,000; punitive damages in an amount sufficient to punish the defendant and deter future like conduct; payment of attorneys’ fees, expenses and costs; and post-judgment interest and further relief the court deems just and proper. The second case number is 2011-CC00764.

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, June 24, July 15 and July 20, 2020.

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