LeChien dismisses civil suit against deceased police chief

By Christina Stueve Hodges | Aug 22, 2013

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien on July 30 granted Defendant J.D. Roth’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit against the estate of its former police chief who died in June of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Caseyville police officer Scott Miller sued police chief J.D. Roth and the Village on defamation claims. Miller alleges Roth accused him of being a “leak” of information to citizen activist Brad Van Hoose regarding the operations of the Caseyville Police Department.

At the time of his death, Roth had been facing official misconduct charges. Plaintiff’s attorney John Hopkins amended the suit July 2 to add Roth’s estate as defendant.

Belleville attorney Matthew Young filed a motion to dismiss June 25, stating that since defendant J.D. Roth died June 13, the plaintiff’s cause of action for slander does not survive the death of defendant Roth.

“Wherefore, defendant J.D. Roth respectfully requests this Honorable Court to enter an Order, dismissing plaintiff’s complaint with prejudice, and for other relief this Court deems just and proper,” was stated in the motion to dismiss.

LeChien granted the motion to dismiss. He also dismissed with prejudice counts one and two of the plaintiff’s complaint against Roth. Those counts accused the estate of J.D. Roth of slander in the third amended complaint, filed July 2.

The Village of Caseyville on Aug. 2 responded to the plaintiff’s third amended complaint.

The Village denied Miller’s allegations that the Village harassed and attempted to intimidate him in retaliation for complaining of corruption within the police department in the Village of Caseyville.

The Village denied Miller’s allegation of attempting to demote or threaten Miller in retaliation for his complaints of police corruption in the Village.

The Village also denied the elected agents of the Village of Caseyville knew of the actions taken by Roth yet took no action to stop the conduct.

St. Clair County case number 13-L-168.

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