MORRIS – After setting a new court date last month, a Will County judge again had to push back the court date for the case involving Elton Monson, Grundy County and the Veteran’s Assistance Commission.
“This case is having a hard time getting some traction and getting going,” Judge Thomas Carney told the courtroom Friday.
The case in question was filed by Monson, who served as superintendent of the VAC from 1999 to 2011. The veteran’s commission, later supported by the Grundy County Board, terminated Monson and two other employees – Kathleen Doran and Phyllis Doran.
On Dec. 12, Monson and Doran filed a lawsuit against the county and multiple other parties for wrongful termination. Kathleen Doran also filed on behalf of Phyllis Doran, who has since died.
Monson and Doran are representing themselves and are asking for lost wages, benefits and reimbursements of $247,884.49. In addition, they are asking for $100 million in punitive damages.
The other named parties in the suit are the Morris American Legion, Grundy County Marine Corps League, Disabled American Veterans, Morris VFW, Coal City American Legion, Minooka American Legion, current VAC Superintendent Ken Buck, the VAC, VAC Chairman Harion Enervold, the Kendall County VAC , the Illinois Association of VACs and Judges Robert Marsaglia, Sheldon Sobol and Lance Peterson.
Because all three Grundy County judges are named, Carney from Will County was chosen to preside over the case, but Monson and Doran could seek his removal due to his past history with the law firm representing the defense.
A representative from the Attorney General’s office is representing the Grundy judges; Rathbun, Cservenyak & Kozol firm is representing all the other parties except the county; and local attorney Michael Mattingly was appointed as a special assistant state’s attorney to represent Grundy County due to a conflict of interest between the Grundy State’s Attorney’s Office and Monson.
During Friday’s hearing, Carney disclosed that he previously worked with those at Rathbun, Cservenyak & Kozol before he became a judge, and has since received case referral fees from the firm.
Carney added that as a judge, he has presided in numerous cases where Rathbun, Cservenyak & Kozol was involved, ruling both in favor and against the firm.
“I just want all parties to be aware,” Carney said.
Monson and Doran have the right to request a new judge and asked for additional weeks to make their decision.
A new court date was set for 9:30 a.m. June 13 where the plaintiffs will make their decision known to the court.
If they decide to continue with Carney, the case will proceed that day with Carney addressing the plaintiff’s motion for a default judgment and motion to appoint a special administrator.
“Be prepared to argue those motions,” Carney said Friday.