In October and November, three former O’Fallon Police Department employees filed lawsuits in St. Charles County Circuit Court against the city of O’Fallon and certain current and former city officials.
The cases each were assigned to different judges.
Attorney John M. Lynch is representing the plaintiffs in all three cases. In addition, attorney Bond W. Wilkison is co-counsel for the Smith case.
Defendants in all three cases are represented by attorneys Thomas E. Berry Jr. and Andrew Kinghorn.
All three cases are making their way through the legal process of document filings, motion filings, case management hearings and motion hearings. Each is proceeding with its own pace and timing.
Former police sergeant Edward Smith filed his suit on Oct. 18. Smith is the spouse of council member Deanna Smith (Ward 1).
Smith’s lawsuit was assigned to Judge Jon A. Cunningham (case no. 2111-CC00939). It originally included eight counts (allegations). The Mid Rivers Newsmagazine story on Nov. 19 erroneously reported only the first seven of the eight counts:
Count 1 is for retaliation; the defendant is the city of O'Fallon. Count 2 is for hostile work environment; the defendant is the city of O'Fallon.
Counts 3, 4, 5 and 6 are for defamation; the 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; the 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.
Count 8 is for intentional infliction of emotional distress; the defendant is the city of O’Fallon.
Summonses were issued to all defendants in October
On Nov. 9, attorneys for the defendants filed a motion for sanctions against the plaintiff along with a motion to dismiss. Smith then filed responses to those motions. Judge Cunningham conducted a motion hearing on Dec. 17 and took the motions under advisement. On Dec. 22, Cunningham denied the motion for sanctions and motion to dismiss.
On Dec. 17, Lynch filed a motion to amend Smith’s lawsuit; that motion was granted the same day. Lynch filed an amended lawsuit, which appeared in Missouri Courts case.net system on Dec, 21.
The amended lawsuit drops counts 7 and 8, while retaining counts 1-6.
Former police lieutenant Brian Hilke filed his lawsuit on Oct. 18.
Hilke lawsuit originally was assigned to Judge Michael James Fagras, case no. 2111-CC00938. On Oct. 25, Fagras recused himself.
On Oct. 26, the case was reassigned to Judge Daniel G. Pelikan.
Hilke’s lawsuit includes seven counts (allegations):
Count 1 is for retaliation; the defendant is the city of O’Fallon. Count 2 is for hostile work environment; 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.
Summonses were issued to all defendants in October.
On Nov. 22, attorneys for the defendants filed a motion to dismiss. On Dec. 9, Judge Pelikan conducted a case management conference. The court had no announcements (no decisions) that day.
Judge Pelikan scheduled a motion hearing for Jan. 6, 2022, but that was rescheduled for Jan. 20.
Former police dept. budget and procurement officer Lisa Salisbury filed her lawsuit on Nov. 18.
Salisbury’s lawsuit originally was assigned to Judge Rebeca Navarro-McKelvey, case no. 2111-CC1037.
On Nov. 19, Lynch filed a motion for change of judge. On Nov. 23 that motion was granted, and on Nov. 29 the case was assigned to Judge Deborah Jean Alessi.
Salisbury’s 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.
A summons was issued to the defendant in Nov.
On Dec. 2, Judge Alessi scheduled a case review Dec. 27.
On Dec. 9, attorneys for the city of O’Fallon filed a motion to dismiss.
On Dec. 22, Lynch filed a motion for continuance on behalf of Salisbury.
Lynch previously had explained to Mid Rivers Newsmagazine “Statutory language requires a dollar amount, so Smith, Hilke and Salisbury are seeking ‘in excess of’ $25,000 for each count,” plus 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 could be at least $425,000 (17 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.