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posted: 10/22/2013 6:10 PM

Slander lawsuit against Kane drug court employee dismissed

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A Kane County judge has dismissed a slander lawsuit filed by former Burlington School Board President Laurel Kling against a county probation department supervisor who Kling accused of labeling Kling an "alcoholic."

In his ruling, Judge James Murphy sided with the defendant, Kane County Drug Court Supervisor Carrie Thomas, who argued the lawsuit was deficient because Kling could not specify when the alleged statement was made.

Murphy left open the possibility the lawsuit could be refiled with new information. That could be difficult since the suit was dismissed because Kling could not pinpoint when the purported statement was made.

"We're going to do whatever we can to try and identify the meeting when it must have been said," said Robert Smith, Kling's attorney.

Kling, who served on Central District 301 School Board from 1999 to 2011, sued Thomas earlier this year. Kling argued in the lawsuit she took a psychological test in May 2012 in order to carry a firearm in her duties as a probation officer.

The lawsuit accused Thomas of telling a psychologist who administered the test and another supervisor that Kling was "fired" from the school board because "she was an alcoholic."

Kling and Smith don't know when Thomas made the statement. Kling's lawsuit said Thomas admitted in a March 15, 2013, meeting with other employees of the court services department she made a "false statement" about Kling in the past.

Assistant Illinois Attorney General Brian Cummings, who is representing Thomas because she is an employee in the judicial branch, disputed Thomas ever made the statement.

Even if she did, "plaintiff does not explain whether the alleged statement was made at work or a social setting, in a closed office or to a large group of people or what occasion motivated the disclosure in the first place," Cummings argued in court papers.

Murphy gave Smith until Dec. 4 to refile the lawsuit and Smith plans to do so.

"There might have been meetings after the test was administered. I'll see what I can piece together," Smith said.

The two sides are due in court Dec. 11.

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