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O’Fallon police lawsuit activity continues slowly

Capt. Jeffrey Gray and Maj. Kyle Kelley filed a 6-count employment discrimination lawsuit against the city of O’Fallon on Feb. 12, 2018, in St. Charles County Circuit Court. From the beginning, Gray and Kelley have insisted on a jury trial; however, a trial date still has not been set.

The case is assigned to Judge Jon A. Cunningham.

On July 19, 2019, Mayor Bill Hennessy was added to that lawsuit as a 7th count for alleged defamation.   

The case was delayed throughout 2018 and 2019 for several reasons, including delays in getting discovery material delivered and depositions scheduled. On Feb. 5, 2020, plaintiffs and defendants had agreed to a joint case management plan approved by 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.

From March until August, court activities were curtailed or canceled, depending on the urgency and priority of the activity as compared to the need for health safety measures during the pandemic.

On Aug. 17, Plaintiffs’ attorney John Lynch sought to add an eighth count, alleging defamation by current Police Chief Timothy Clothier. The motion was heard on Aug. 28. On Sept. 9, Cunningham issued a denial of that motion.

On Aug. 18, Lynch filed a second, separate lawsuit 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.”  That case was assigned to Judge Daniel G. Pelikan. On Aug. 19, a summons was served to and received by city clerk Melissa Hoffman for the city.  No other action has occurred in that case since that time.

On Aug. 19, for the initial case, the defendants deposed the two plaintiffs via Zoom. 

On Aug. 20, Lynch told Mid Rivers Newsmagazine that he planned to depose 12 people, also via Zoom, with those to be scheduled over the next several weeks. 

“We plan to have discovery closed by Oct,”  Lynch said. Three weeks later, on Sept. 15, he added, “We still are waiting for the defendants to provide us with dates for those depositions.”

On Sept. 3, Lynch filed a third lawsuit against Clothier on behalf of Capt. Jeffrey Gray, alleging defamation by the chief. The case was assigned to Judge Ted House. On Sept. 8, a summons was served in person to Clothier.  No other action has occurred in that case since then.

Regarding all three cases, on Sept. 15 Lynch said, “We plan to aggressively pursue justice on behalf of our two clients. Justice has been delayed too long already.”

As a matter of policy, the city of O’Fallon does not comment on active cases.

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