In an order dated Feb. 16, Madison County Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian has recused himself from a lawsuit brought last month by attorney Gary Peel relating to an article appearing in The Record newspaper.
Judge Matoesian had not been requested to withdraw from the case and provided no explanation for his action.
Peel, an attorney from the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River, filed a four-count civil complaint Jan. 20 against his former wife Deborah J. Peel, his son David Peel, The Madison/St. Clair Record and one of its reporters, alleging the newspaper published private facts.
Peel's lawsuit concerns The Record's publication of an article, "Mermaid sculptures, $40k diamond--conveyances of love for bankrupt lawyer," on Nov. 21, 2005.
On Feb. 15, Deborah J. Peel filed her answer to the lawsuit denying the allegations of her suit. She is representing herself.
The Record, Steve Korris and David Peel have yet to file a response to Peel's suit.
The case is currently waiting reassignment from Chief Judge Edward Ferguson.
Peel's lawsuit claims his ex-wife directly or through their son David, gave Record reporter Steve Korris an "uncorrected" transcript of an examination of Peel conducted in his bankruptcy case on Nov. 16, 2005.
Peel claims that on Sept. 29, 2005, he submitted himself to an examination which was part of his bankruptcy case pending in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Illinois.
Peel claims that the transcript of the examination was private and intended for the limited and non-public use of creditors in his bankruptcy proceeding.
"Said transcript was not filed as part of the public record of the bankruptcy proceeding to which it applied," the complaint alleges.
He states the transcript contained personal and private facts and information that were not publicly listed in the bankruptcy schedules, including facts relating to his personal finances, purchases of gifts for his spouse and miscellaneous credit card purchases.
Peel claims by submitting to the examination, he had a reasonable expectation of privacy and a reasonable expectation that the transcript of the examination would be utilized for the bankruptcy proceedings and would not otherwise be distributed for public consumption.
He claims the publication of portions of his examination would be highly offensive to a reasonable person and further asserts that the facts published were not of legitimate public concern.
Peel, representing himself, is seeking damages from each defendant individually for an amount "greatly in excess" of $50,000 in compensatory damages, and for a sum also "greatly in excess" of $50,000 in punitive damages plus all costs of the suit.
Deborah J. Peel recently sought an order of protection from her ex-husband in Madison County Circuit Court, but was denied by Associate Judge Nelson Metz on Feb. 6.
During that hearing, she testified that Gary Peel stuck sexually explicit photos in her mailbox to prove he carried on with her 16-year-old sister 32 years ago.
She testified that Gary Peel offered to surrender the original photos if she would drop her demand for a deposition of his current wife, Deborah Pontious-Peel.
Deborah J. Peel told Metz her attorney called the U.S. Attorney and put her in touch with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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