EDWARDSVILLE — State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons announced victory Thursday in a federal civil trial filed by a former employee of the States Attorney’s Office who was fired by Gibbons for performance issues related to her work.
The case arose out of claims by a former assistant state's attorney alleging employment discrimination. The case first gained public attention in October 2012 when it was originally filed. Theresa Hagans was employed in the Child Support Division from April 1997 to July 2011, when she was terminated for unsatisfactory job performance. At the time, Gibbons issued a statement strongly denying the claims in the lawsuit and expressing his opinion that the plaintiff’s lawyer, Lee Barron, was threatening to embarrass Gibbons right before the 2012 election if the State's Attorney's Office didn't pay his client a large sum to settle the case.
“As a public servant, I owe it to citizens to make sure that their State’s Attorney’s Office is the very best it can be,” Gibbons said in a press release. “That's what I did in this case, and it is reassuring to know that baseless attacks on the office will not prevail."
At the time of the filing, Gibbons said he wouldn’t bow to political pressure to settle the case.
“The employee was previously warned and corrected for, in our judgment, failing to perform the required duties of her position. Her termination was based solely on the fact that she failed to meet the performance standards of the office. Some people see the county as a cash cow, because of our sound financial circumstances, but you don’t stay in good fiscal health by paying settlements on cases that lack merit. I have to protect the taxpayers’ money.”
The jury trial began in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois, in East St. Louis on Monday, May 19, in front of Judge J. Phil Gilbert. After deliberating for 75 minutes, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Madison County on Wednesday, May 21.
Madison County was represented by attorneys John L. Gilbert and Raven J. Akram, both with Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard P.C.