Defense motion to dismiss suit against city, alderwoman set for hearing

Amelia Flood Apr. 13, 2010, 11:37am

The City of Centreville and one of its aldermen are asking that a suit alleging a woman was wrongfully evicted be thrown out.

According to a notice of hearing filed March 29, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Patrick Young will hear arguments to dismiss plaintiff Tamika Morris' amended complaint at 9:30 a.m. on May 5.

Morris sued the city and Donna Myers on her own behalf and on that of her three children.

Her suit seeks $2 million in damages and costs.

According to her amended complaint, Morris and her minor children, Tiera, Charles and Charneice Morris, lived in a leased apartment in Centreville beginning in January 2008.

Acccording to the complaint, the lease was subject to the terms and conditions of the East St. Louis Housing Authority and federal government as the Morris family received benefits from the Rental Assistance Payments Program.

The lease was set to expire in February 2009.

Myers, a Centreville alderwoman, was the landlord.

Morris alleges that the property was not up to code and that its furnace did not work. She alleges that Myers then demanded additional money from Morris in violation of the lease.

Morris contends she reported the requests for additional payments to the East St. Louis Housing Authority and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

According to the amended complaint, Morris was served with a 30 day notice of termination of her tenancy and claims it was without cause in June 2008.

A month later, Morris alleges that Myers filed a Forcible Entry and Detainer Action in St. Clair County Circuit court against Morris.

That action was then dismissed in August due to Myers' failure to appear.

Myers did not appeal the eviction's dismissal.

Meanwhile, in July 2008 while the eviction was pending, Myers allegedly filed a report claiming that Morris damaged property and the Centreville Police arrested Morris July 14. The amended complaint alleges that Morris was arrested on the same day that she appeared in St. Clair Circuit Court to dispute the eviction.

After she was released from custody, the amended complaint claims Morris found all of her personal property and those of her children removed from the home as well as changed locks.

Morris alleges that later, when she appeared to challenge the criminal complaint, court personnel informed her that there was no record that she was being prosecuted.

Morris contends that Myers conspired with Centreville to have her and her children evicted and to deprive them of their constitutional rights.

She is suing on the claims of conversion, wrongful eviction, malicious prosecution and abuse of process, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other claims.

In their motion to dismiss filed in December 2009, Centreville argues that although Myers is an alderman, she is not an employee of the city. Therefore, Centreville is not liable for her actions.

In the same motion, Myers argues that the plaintiff's amended complaint does not state sufficient facts and does not plead a claim.
The motion asks Young to strike 15 paragraphs from the amended complaint including those referencing many of Myers alleged actions.

The amended complaint was filed in September 2009.

Morris and her children are represented by Stephen McGlynn of Belleville.

The city and Myers are represented by Carmen Durso of Belleville.

The case is St. Clair case number 09-L-132.

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