Cahokia water workers say trustees fired them for supporting their ousters

Kelly Holleran Feb. 22, 2010, 9:00am

Four people claim trustees of the Commonfields of Cahokia Public Water District fired them after they supported the trustees' opponents in an election.

Peggy Pierce, Isaac Turner, Marcus Luster and Dennis Traiteur Jr. filed a lawsuit Feb. 11 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Commonfields of Cahokia Public Water District and district trustees Marilyn Stringfellow, Carolyn Touchette, Mike Millatti and Erma Millard.

The plaintiffs claim they worked against the trustees and supported their opponents in an election. However, after their support, the plaintiffs lost their jobs for the Commonfields of Cahokia Public Water District, causing them to experience an impaired reputation; to suffer anxiety, humiliation, mental anguish and emotional distress; and to lose wages, benefits and professional advancement, according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs' terminations violated them of rights and immunities they should have under the United States Constitution, the suit states.

"That in September of 2009 the Defendant terminated Plaintiff for no just cause," the complaint says. "The plaintiff has been ready and willing at all times to perform the employment contract but performance was prevented by the breach of contract on the part of Defendant by terminating Plaintiff without just cause."

In their 11-count suit, the plaintiffs seek compensatory damages, a judgment of more than $150,000, reimbursement for their costs and fees, equitable relief reinstating them to their former positions and other relief the court deems just.

Robert J. Sprague of Sprague and Urban in Belleville will be representing them.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-61.

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