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   A metro-east man is accusing a former Catholic priest of sexual abusing him when he was a child, and he wants to hold church officials accountable.  

   The Breese man filed a lawsuit against the Belleville Catholic diocese alleging Robert J. Vonnahmen sexually abused him at a church camp in the Ozarks in the early 1970s.  

   In the 1990s, Vonnahmen was one of more than a dozen priests in the Belleville Diocese removed for alleged sexual abuse of children.  Vonnahmen was formally defrocked by Rome in 2007.  

   The lawsuit claims the diocese failed to investigate complaints about Vonnahmen from other children.

Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - A judge has dismissed civil action by a Chicago law firm and scolded attorneys for what she describes as an improper filing on behalf of a relative of a passenger on missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
 
In a step toward a full-fledged lawsuit, Ribbeck Law Chartered asked a Cook County court last week to order Malaysia Airlines and Chicago-based Boeing Co. to turn over documents related to the plane's disappearance.
 
Judge Kathy Flanagan dismissed the request in a ruling Friday, saying it didn't conform to Illinois law.
 
She has tossed similar filings by Ribbeck in two other airplane crashes and warned the firm it could face "sanctions" if it happens again.
 
Ribbeck spokesman Mervin Mateo says the firm still planned a full lawsuit if and when plane wreckage is found.
Published in Local News

   The Hazelwood School District will pay tuition for an expelled middle school student to receive an education through a contract with an alternative learning center.  That after a settlement was reached between the district and Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.  

   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the 13 year old had been expelled last year for selling pills to another student.  The paper reports the student couldn't afford private school, or even a computer.  He also couldn't access alternative education programs through the juvenile courts, because he hadn't been charged with a crime.  So he sued claiming his right to a free, public education was being infringed.

   Legal Services executive director Dan Glazier tells the paper the case is one of the first of its kind filed in Missouri. Glazier says the problem is fairly rare, since so few students are actually expelled in the state, fewer than 60 all of last year. 

   The Hazelwood settlement stops short of obligating school district to always serve students who are expelled.  But as part of the settlement, Hazelwood has agreed to consider similar arrangements on a case-by-case basis.

Published in Local News
   EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - Two more former inmates of a southern Illinois jail are suing over strip searches they claim were unconstitutional.
   The Belleville News-Democrat reports Teresa Hale and Leticia Jackson of Belleville filed the federal lawsuit against St. Clair County and jail officials. Seeking more than $350,000 in damages, the lawsuit alleges the women were strip searched while jailed in 2012 for suspected drunken driving.
   In December, 29 inmates filed a similar lawsuit, seeking $10 million in damages.
   Sheriff Rick Watson told The Associated Press the cases have no merit, and that his department follows state and federal statutes.
   A lawsuit echoing similar allegations against the jail was dismissed in December after a federal judge ruled strip searching prisoners as a group isn't unconstitutional if the searches weren't intended to humiliate.
 
Published in Local News
   COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A newspaper report says the attorney for a man whose conviction in a Missouri sports editor's slaying was overturned has filed a civil rights lawsuit seeking $100 million.
   The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that Kathleen Zellner alleges fabricated evidence in Ryan Ferguson's case and a lack of a complete police investigation into the 2001 killing of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt, among other things.
   The lawsuit is filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. The newspaper reports that the suit asks for actual damages of $75 million and compensatory damages of $25 million.
   The Tribune reports that Zellner also demands a jury trial and names a total of 13 defendants, including the City of Columbia, the Columbia Police Department and Boone County.
 
Published in Local News
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 06:50

Clark-Pujols feud appears to be over

 

   Those who wanted to see two former Cardinals sluggers duke it out in court may be disappointed.  Albert Pujols had sued Jack Clark over allegations of performance-enhancing drug use.  
   Monday evening, Clark publicly retracted his comments and apologized.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Pujols followed shortly by accepting Clark's apology and plans to drop the lawsuit.
   “I would like to address Albert Pujols’ pending defamation lawsuit and reconfirm that I have no knowledge whatsoever that Mr. Pujols has ever used illegal or banned PEDs,” Clark said in a statement he released and that was provided to the Post-Dispatch.  “I publicly retract my statements that Albert Pujols used such substances. During a heated discussion on air, I misspoke, and for that I sincerely apologize.”
   The Post-Dispatch published the following statement by Pujols in response to Clark’s apology: “I have accepted Jack Clark’s retraction and apology to resolve my lawsuit against him and clear my name.”
    Both Jack Clark and radio co-host Kevin Slaten were fired by station WGNU after Clark called Pujols "a juicer" on-air and claimed that a former Pujols trainer had told him the trainer had injected Pujols with PEDs.
Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - New filings in a class action lawsuit challenging Missouri's treatment of convicted sex offenders seek the release from custody of more than 200 men in the program.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the legal challenge to the Missouri Department of Mental Health claims its Sex Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Services program is mismanaged, overcrowded and essentially a prison disguised as a mental hospital.
 
The program was created to treat sex offenders who complete prison sentences but are deemed unsafe to be released. They are held indefinitely as mental health patients at secure facilities in Farmington and Fulton
 
Since the program was started 14 years ago, no one has successfully completed treatment. The suit was first filed in 2009. Missouri is among 20 states with similar treatment programs.
Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois labor unions have filed a lawsuit seeking a new plan to reduce the state's $100 billion pension shortfall declared unconstitutional.
 
The We Are One Illinois Coalition of public employee unions filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Sangamon County Circuit court.
 
The long-anticipated legal challenge comes weeks after Gov. Pat Quinn signed the measure into law and ahead of his annual State of the State address.
 
The bill approved by the Legislature in early December saves an estimated $160 billion, largely by cutting benefits for employees and retirees.
 
Unions say it violates the state constitution, which says benefits may not be diminished. Several other lawsuits have been filed on behalf of retirees.
 
Supporters of the plan believe the Court will uphold it because it's necessary to repair the state's finances.
Published in Local News
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois judge is taking up an activist's lawsuit that seeks the ouster of East St. Louis' mayor and four council members for alleged misconduct.
 
The Belleville News-Democrat reports the lawsuit by Matt Hawkins of Civic Alliance of East St. Louis was to be the subject of a St. Clair County Circuit Court hearing Friday afternoon.
 
Hawkins wants the judge to fine the city $435,000. City officials have requested that the lawsuit be dismissed, claiming it was improperly filed.
 
Hawkins alleges that city officials violated state law related to the Freedom of Information Act and related to the administration of tax increment financing districts.
Published in Local News
Tuesday, 14 January 2014 04:25

Clark asks judge to dismiss Pujols' lawsuit

   Former Cardinals slugger Jack Clark want's Albert Pujols's defamation lawsuit against him dismissed...or at the very least, he wants some things clarified.  

   Clark filed a motion in St. Louis County Circuit Court Monday.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Clark is claiming the suit filed against him in October didn't properly identify Pujols or the elements of defamation.

   Pujols sued Clark over comments Clark made in August on his sports talk show on WGNU radio.  Clark had said he knew for a fact that Pujols "was a juicer."  He also claimed Pujols' former trainer told him about injecting Pujols with performance-enhancing drugs.  

   The trainer has denied the conversation.   

Published in Local News
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