Defendant moves for summary judgment in Belleville business owners' defamation case

Amelia Flood Nov. 1, 2010, 2:00am


A summary judgment motion is pending and the path to trial is set for a defamation case filed by two Belleville business owners against the head of a citizen's group aimed at protecting Belleville's heritage.

Defendant Maureen Morris, the head of Citizens Reviving Historic Belleville Inc., has asked for summary judgment in the suit filed by plaintiffs Elizabeth Yarber and Michael Lieb.

That motion will be heard Nov. 21 at 9:30 a.m. by St. Clair County Circuit Judge Patrick Young.

Meanwhile, a case management order was entered in the case Oct. 19 that sets the end of discovery in July 2011.

Yarber and Lieb filed suit against Morris claiming that she spread
rumors alleging the two were involved in criminal and drug activities.

The rumors, the plaintiffs claim, led them to be denied various required building permits.

Lieb claims the rumors stopped him from opening an internet cafe as well.

The plaintiffs seek damages in excess of $300,000 and costs.

Morris filed a counterclaim in the suit in February.

The one page summary judgment motion filed by Morris argues that the plaintiffs have no admissible evidence.

The motion asks Young to dismiss the case.

The plaintiffs' response is not yet available in the case file.

Thomas Maag represents Morris.

Ted Dennis represents the citizens group.

Jarrod Beasley represents the plaintiffs.

The case is St. Clair case number 08-L-490.

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