Justice Scale

Villa Ridge residents Art LeBeau and Eric Reichert are appealing a recent court ruling and will continue their legal battles against Franklin County.

On Nov. 14, Circuit Judge Ana Brehe-Krueger dismissed a lawsuit filed by LeBeau and Reichert against County Counselor Mark Vincent in October 2015.

At that time she also ordered $1,560 in reimbursement costs be paid to the county for a deposition the two missed last summer.

Before the hearing, LeBeau filed a motion that a change of judge be granted by Presiding Judge Gael Wood.

Instead, Judge Brehe-Krueger denied the motion herself.

Because of this, LeBeau argued she had not jurisdiction in the case.

In statements to The Missourian, both plaintiffs said they feel they were treated unfairly and will move forward with further legal action.

“A motion for the court to remedy its incorrect decision will be filed so the judge can correct her most biased ruling,” LeBeau said. “An application for a writ of mandamus will be filed in the Missouri supreme court with the judge as respondent. A complaint is also being filed against the judge in the disciplinary commission.”

LeBeau adds nine court cases were presented (to the judge at the hearing) and each emphatically stated the judge had to pass on the motion for change of judge to the presiding judge, and that the judge no longer had jurisdiction in the matter.

Since the midway point in the lawsuit, the plaintiffs had argued Attorney Steven Kuenzel, who was hired by Franklin County to represent Mark Vincent, did not have any standing in the case.

They argued language in the commission order hiring counsel to defend Vincent was vague and he was technically only representing the county commission and not Vincent specifically even though he is a county employee.

“Kuenzel did not represent Vincent at the time a member of the Law Firm of Eckelkamp & Kuenzel filed for depositions,” LeBeau said. “Nor, at the time Kuenzel filed a notice of appearance.”

During a hearing in July, Judge Brehe-Krueger ruled against the plaintiffs on several motions regarding the commission orders and Kuenzel’s standing in the lawsuit.

In turn, Kuenzel filed a motion for sanctions against the plaintiffs for reimbursement of fees from the missed deposition.

“When Kuenzel filed for sanctions he did not have authority as he did not represent Vincent,” LeBeau said. “A most egregious ruling by the judge.”

Although absent from the recent hearing, Eric Reichert has been a co-plaintiff on this and several other cases against Franklin County.

He is currently court-ordered to pay half of the $1,560 reimbursements.

“Even The Missourian, long the mouthpiece of the commission, realized that the judge was not allowing Mr. LeBeau to fully elaborate his position,” Reichert said. “Demonstrating that the judge was biased, angry, and was not going to allow the plaintiffs due process and was very vindictive, totally ignoring the glaring facts of this case.”

Reichert added Mr. Vincent had no representation in this case when Mr. Kuenzel represented the commission only and the commission was not a party to this action. “Simply put, this “judge” committed judicial tyranny for whatever reason,” Reichert said. “By dismissing this action with prejudice when she should have recused herself and, under the rules of court, allowed a new judge to hear the whole case,” he said. “You ask if we will move forward? Yes.”