Hearing set again on attorneys' move to bow out of Cahokia water suit

Amelia Flood Jul. 7, 2011, 7:54am

A new hearing date has been set on a withdrawal move filed by the attorneys for several former employees of the Commonfields of Cahokia Public Water District who are suing the district and its trustees over their firings.

Plaintiffs' attorneys Robert Sprague and Donald Urban moved to withdraw from representing Peggy Pierce, Dennis Traiteur Jr., Marcus Luster, and Isaac Turner earlier this year.

The hearing on the motion had been set in late June.

It is now set, according to a July 5 notice of hearing, for July 27 at 3 p.m.

The plaintiffs are suing the water district and trustees Marilyn Stringfellow, Carolyn Touchette, Mike Millatti, and Erma Millard.

The plaintiffs originally filed the suit in St. Clair County alleging they were wrongfully fired for supporting the trustees' opponents in a local election.

The St. Clair County suit sought the plaintiffs' reinstatement to their former jobs, damages in excess of $50,000 a count and other relief.

The defendants deny the claims and cite the Illinois Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act in their defense.

The case was removed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois in March 2010.

However, the St. Clair County circuit court did not receive notice of the removal until over a year later.

The confusion was such that St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien, who presided over the original suit, set the case for a status or dismissal hearing in April without realizing the case had left his docket.

The notice of the March 2010 removal was received shortly after, clearing up matters.

In the motion to withdraw filed by Urban and Sprague, the attorneys argue that their clients have distinct causes of action that warrant each plaintiff retaining his or her own attorney.

U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Williams presides.

Julie Bruch represents the defendants.

The case is federal case number 10-cv-00182-MJR-PMF.

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