Christina Stueve Hodges Jan. 23, 2013, 8:55am


Former Madison County Recorder of Deeds Matt Rice filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against him by a former employee who claims she was fired for allegedly supporting his political rival.

Casey Hutson claims she was fired by Rice, a Republican, in January 2012, allegedly for supporting Amy Meyer, a Democrat, in the Nov. 6 general election.

Meyer was elected.

Rice’s motion to dismiss, filed Jan. 16, states, “Upon information and belief, plaintiff has been rehired by Recorder Meyer in the Madison County Recorder’s Office.”

Hutson is listed in the updated Madison County phone directory as an employee in the Madison County Recorder’s Office.

In Rice’s motion to dismiss, he states he already filed a motion to dismiss raising a variety of legal grounds. On Oct. 26, the court entered an order allowing Hutson to file a first amended complaint with a deadline of Nov. 26.

No amended complaint was filed by Nov. 26, according to Rice’s motion to dismiss.

Rice was elected in November 2010 to fill the unexpired term of Dan Donohoo who resigned in early 2010. He defeated Kyle Anderson who served by appointment after Donohoo left office.

Hutson first filed her lawsuit on Aug. 20, 2012.

“She was terminated by Defendant Rice in retaliation for being a Democrat and supporting Rice’s opponent in the upcoming election,” her suit stated.

Rice told the Record in a written statement that he cut the size of his office staff by two employees, "due to necessary budget cuts to help make the county and our office more fiscally responsible."

According to the lawsuit, Hutson started working in the Recorder’s office in 2009. She also is a member of the Democratic Party and has been involved with Democratic fundraising and campaign efforts, according to the suit.

She claims her firing was prompted by her posting in January 2012 a flyer for a fundraiser for Meyer on her personal Facebook page. In less than a week, Hutson says she was informed by Rice that she was being laid off due to budget reductions.

Hutson is represented by Michael Gras of the Law Office of Christopher Cueto in Belleville. Her suit seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

The case is assigned to Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge.

Philip J. Lading and Thomas E. Berry of Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard represent Rice.

Madison County Case number: 12-L-1319.

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