Defamation suit to be dropped

Defamation suit to be dropped

MONTICELLO — A defamation lawsuit against two Monticello residents — including a city official — will apparently be dropped.

David K. Cox, the attorney for Brett Thompson of Monticello, filed a motion to dismiss in Piatt County Court on June 20. Thompson, a former city employee, had filed a four-count lawsuit claiming Monticello City Superintendent Floyd Allsop defamed him in a June 30, 2011 phone conversation with an official from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

He also accused Monticello resident Kevin Osborne of defamatory comments related to Facebook posts.

The motion to dismiss stated Thompson still had confidence in his case, but that "this case has become very public, and the plaintiff is under tremendous public pressure to drop the lawsuit and is under duress as a result of the publicity and pressure."

A judge will still have to formally approve the motion, and even then the case may not be over. In Osborne's legal response, he claimed the suit was meritless and asked the court to award him court and attorney's fees.

"At the moment, I'm not sure how that (motion to dismiss) affects my claim of being denied my rights under the Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) Act," Osborne said. "I am consulting with my attorneys and weighing all the options."

Allsop had no comment, but in court documents not only denied Thompson's claims, but also pointed out the one-year statute of limitations for filing a defamation suit had not been met.

Thompson served as a former Building and Zoning Administrator, and later Engineering Coordinator for the city before being terminated at the end of June in 2011.

The termination included an agreement of six months of severance pay for Thompson totaling $26,500.