Madison - St. Clair Record

Friday, December 13, 2019

Trial opens Monday in whistleblower retaliatory discharge case

By Amelia Flood | Jan 6, 2010


Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder is scheduled to open a trial of a retaliatory discharge case stemming from a man who alleges oil was spilled into the Mississippi River.

The trial is scheduled to open Monday at 9 a.m.

Plaintiff Steven Howland of Glen Carbon is suing American River Transportation Company and its parent, Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, for two counts of retaliatory discharge and two counts of violation of the Illinois Whistleblower Act.

Recently, American River Transportation filed motions in limine to bar testimony related to criminal proceedings as well as the plaintiff's employment choices following his termination and other areas.

According to the complaint, Howland worked for the defendants on vessels moored on the Mississippi between East St. Louis and St. Louis.

On June, 16, 2007, while working in St. Louis at the defendant's site, he claims he saw oil flowing into the river from sewers. He claims he became aware that the defendants pumped waste oil from their holding tanks into the sewers that flowed into the river.

After talking with a co-worker, he alleges he was told that supervisors were directing the action in violation of federal and state law.

Later, Howland contends, he was questioned by the site's manager about what he would say if he were interviewed by the United States Coast Guard or Environmental Protection Agency.

Howland claims he was called at home and fired six days later. He was later called by an attorney the following April who sought his statement for an investigation into oil dumping into the sewers and river.

Howland is seeking damages for lost wages and benefits, compensatory damages of at least $50,000, punitive damages and orders enjoining the defendants from retaliating against employees who report illegal conduct.

He also seeks reinstatement to his job.

Howland is represented by Lee Barron.

The defendants are represented by Timothy Wolfe.

The case is Madison case number 08-L-500.

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Organizations in this Story

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)Archer Daniels Midland Company