Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian is set to hear motions Friday in a defamation of character suit brought by a former employee of Metro Sports Inc. in Alton.

Plaintiff James Ehlers amended his suit last year after Matoesian granted a defense motion to dismiss his first complaint in November 2010.

Ehlers' amended complaint filed Jan. 10 seeks damages in excess of $300,000.

According to his complaint, Ehlers was employed by Metro Sports when he was hurt at work on March 12, 2009.

He claims that after advising his employer that he was going to file a workers' compensation claim, the defendants acting through their insurance company falsely accused him of committing "an indictable criminal offense which involved moral turpitude."

Ehlers claims that he was alleged to have threatened to kill someone and that the false accusation defamed him.

The plaintiff also contends that the defendant started a criminal case against him over the alleged threat.

Ehlers was found not guilty in the matter.

He is also suing the defendants on claims of retaliatory discharge

The defendant denies the claims in a Feb. 14 answer to the amended complaint.

Metro Sports is also moving to dismiss the complaint.

In that motion, the defendant alleges that statements made by its insurance company to the police are absolutely privileged and therefore not actionable.

The defendant also claims the plaintiff fails to allege that its employees committed the alleged misdeeds within the scope of their employment with Metro Sports.

Matoesian is set to hear motions in the case at 9 a.m.

Bob Perica represents Ehlers.

James DeFranco represents Metro Sports.

The case is Madison case number 10-L-634.

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