Judge to hear all Steiner motions July 9

Amelia Flood Jul. 1, 2010, 1:32am



Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth will take up pending motions on July 9 in a series of suits filed against Saline Township and a former official over alleged sexual misconduct.

He will hear motions to dismiss, as well as discovery matters.

Ruth had previously signed an order that indicated all discovery issues in the suits would be taken up on that date, although it was unclear whether that order applied to the other matters pending.

Six women have filed suit this year against the township and former Supervisor Alvin Steiner.

All of the plaintiffs in the suits – Elizabeth Watkins, Jamie Miener, Melanie Hedlund, Laura Barry, Ailie Ritchie and Tara Reding – assert that Steiner groped them and behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner when they came seeking public aid.

The suits seek at least $50,000 in damages per count, punitive damages and other relief.

Steiner and the township deny the claims.

The defendants have moved to have the suits dismissed for various reasons including, in the case of Saline Township, immunity as a government body.

The township's insurer has also filed moves for a declaratory judgment in the cases that would allow it not to cover Steiner is case of judgments rendered against him.

The lawsuits were consolidated earlier this year for hearing purposes.

Steiner stepped down from his role as township supervisor last year.

The suits, beginning with Watkins', were filed beginning in January.

The July 9 hearing will begin at 10 a.m.

The plaintiffs are all represented by Thomas and Peter Maag.

Steiner is represented by Mark Weinheimer.

Saline Township is represented by William Knapp, Jeff O'Kelley,
Christopher Swenson and Lori Vanderlaan.

The cases are Madison case numbers 10-L-145, 10-L-178, 10-L-219, 10-L309, 10-L-310 and 10-L-555.

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