Former cop's suit against New Athens settles

By Amelia Flood | Jan 27, 2010

A retaliatory discharge suit brought against the village of New Athens has settled.

According to a Dec. 18 order signed by St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael O'Malley, stipulations of the settlement between plaintiff Steve Blakeney and the defendants are to be filed and a status conference is set for Feb. 2 at 10 a.m.

No details of the settlement were available as yet in the case file.

Blakeney sued New Athens, Mayor Dennis Breithaupt and its former police chief, Larry Kirk, for allegedly firing him twice.

Blakeney claimed that his firings stemmed from reporting threats Kirk made against two women attempting to file a police report and for refusing to obey an order from the mayor to allow certain people to get away with traffic violations.

He also claimed that Kirk made false statements about him to the Belleville News-Democrat newspaper.

Blakeney's five count suit sought damages of $250,000 and other relief including punitive damages.

The defendants denied his charges and argued that, as a municipality, it was not subject to punitive damages.

Blakeney was represented by Michael Brunton and Mary Stewart.

New Athens and Breithaupt were represented by Charles Pierce.

Kirk was represented by Michael Wagner.

The case is St. Clair case number 09-L-077.

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