O’Fallon Justice Center

In January 2021, the city of O’Fallon settled discrimination and defamation lawsuits filed by O’Fallon police Capt. Jeffery Gray and Maj. Kyle Kelley for a total payment of $580,000, not including payments for their attorney fees and other court costs.

In March 2021, three additional O’Fallon police department employees alleged discrimination, retaliation and a hostile work environment. Each had filed complaints at the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR). MCHR complaints automatically become federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaints.  

Since their filings, all three have left their positions in the O’Fallon Police Department for varying reasons and none are currently employed by the city. 

Brian Hilke had been a police lieutenant. Edward Smith, spouse of council member Deanna Smith (Ward 1), had been a police sergeant. Lisa Salisbury had been the police department’s budget and procurement officer.

After waiting 180 days to give MCHR time to work with the city, the three requested and each received from MCHR a Notice of Right to Sue. They had 90 days after receiving that notice to file any lawsuits.

Smith filed his lawsuit on Oct. 18 in St. Charles Circuit Court. Judge Jon A. Cunningham was assigned to the case (No. 2111-CC00939).  

Smith’s lawsuit states it was filed for “purposes of seeking redress for unlawful employment practices related to whistleblowing and retaliation.” It includes seven counts (allegations):

• Count 1 is for unlawful discriminatory practice (retaliation) in violation of the Missouri Commission On Human Rights (MHRA) regulations; defendant is the city of O'Fallon. 

• Count 2 is for unlawful discriminatory practice (hostile work environment) in violation of MHRA; defendant is the city of O'Fallon.  

• Counts 3, 4, 5, and 6 are for defamation; defendants are the city of O'Fallon, city administrator Michael Snowden, former police chief Timothy Clothier and former police chief Philip Dupuis.  

• Count 7 is for constructive discharge; defendant is the city of O'Fallon. Under Missouri law, “constructive discharge” occurs when an employer deliberately renders an employee's working conditions so intolerable that the employee is forced to quit his or her job.

Per case.net, summonses have been issued to all defendants.

Smith has demanded a jury trial.

Hilke filed his lawsuit on Oct. 18 in St. Charles Circuit Court. Judge Michael James Fagras originally was assigned to Hilke’s case (No. 2111-CC00938), but on Oct. 25 Fagras recused himself. On Oct. 26, the case was reassigned to Judge Daniel G. Pelikan.  

Per case.net, summonses have been issued to all defendants, and the judge has scheduled a case management conference for 9 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 9.

Hilke’s lawsuit states it was filed for “purposes of seeking redress for unlawful employment practices related to whistleblowing and retaliation.” It also includes seven counts (allegations):

• Count 1 is for unlawful discriminatory practice (retaliation) in violation of Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MHRA) regulations; defendant is the city of O’Fallon.  

• Count 2 is for unlawful discriminatory practice (hostile work environment) in violation of MHRA; the defendant is the City of O’Fallon.  

• Counts 3, 4, and 5 are for defamation; the defendants are the city of O'Fallon, former police chief Timothy Clothier and former police chief Philip Dupuis.

• Count 6 is for wrongful termination; the defendant is the city of O'Fallon.  

• Count 7 is for intentional infliction of emotional distress; the defendant is the city of O'Fallon.

Hilke has demanded a jury trial.

Salisbury filed her lawsuit on Nov. 18 in St. Charles Circuit Court. Judge Rebeca Navarro-McKelvey was assigned to the case (No. 2111-CC1037), and a summons has been issued to the defendant.

On Nov. 18, Salisbury’s attorney John Lynch explained that her employment discrimination lawsuit includes four counts (allegations), including age discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge, with the defendant on all counts being the city of O’Fallon.

Salisbury has demanded a jury trial.

“Statutory language requires a dollar amount, so Hilke, Smith and Salisbury are seeking ‘in excess of’ $25,000 for each count,” Lynch said. Additionally, each is seeking punitive damages sufficient to deter future similar behavior, plus attorney fees, plus post-judgement interest on all funds awarded, plus any other relief as the court judges to be proper.  

If they are successful, the total minimum judgement for all three lawsuits would be at least $450,000 (18 total counts times $25,000) for damages, plus punitive damages, plus all of the other financial reliefs.

As a matter of policy, the city of O’Fallon does not comment on personnel matters or active litigation.