Saline Township's motion to dismiss sexual harassment cases in court Sept. 23

By Ann Knef | Sep 8, 2011

Saline Township's motion for dismissal with prejudice and final and appealable order from six sexual harassment and battery suits will be heard by Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 23.

A re-notice of hearing was filed in the case on Sept. 6.

The suits brought by six women - Elizabeth Watkins, Jamie Miener, Melanie Hedlund, Laura Barry, Tara Reding, and Ailie Ritchie - settled in a day-long mediation session with Madison County Associate Judge Thomas Chapman in July.

The settlement order is designated confidential in the order and is not available in the case file.

The women sued former Township Supervisor Alvin Steiner and the township last year alleging that Steiner sexually harassed, groped, and threatened them when they sought public aid from Saline Township.

The defendants denied the claims.

Steiner resigned from his position as township supervisor in 2009.

The suits sought damages in excess of $50,000 per count, punitive damages and other relief.

Saline Township won the dismissal of the counts against it twice.

It argued that because Steiner was an elected official, the township was not obligated to remove him from his position overseeing the public aid funds.

It also successfully had claims filed by the plaintiffs under the Illinois Gender Violence Act and civil rights violations thrown out.

The township won the most recent dismissal of the claims against it in January.

However, the township filed a motion asking for the final dismissal of all counts against it and an appealable order.

The plaintiffs had opposed the move, citing attempts to mediate the case with Steiner and the previous January dismissal of counts against Saline Township.

Thomas and Peter Maag represent the plaintiffs.

Mark Weinheimer represents Steiner.

Lori Vanderlaan and others represent Saline Township.

The Saline Township cases are Madison case numbers 10-L-31, 10-L-145, 10-L-178, 10-L-219, 10-L-309, and 10-L-555.

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