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New lawsuit against Lincoln County judge says deputy clerk’s firing was politically motivated

New lawsuit against Lincoln County judge says deputy clerk’s firing was politically motivated

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LINCOLN COUNTY — A judge here has been sued again, this time by a deputy clerk who claims her firing was politically motivated.

The suit, filed in Lincoln County Circuit Court, says officials didn’t follow proper procedures when they fired Windy Harper from her position as deputy clerk Oct. 4. The suit says the firing was a result of her support for Presiding Circuit Judge Patrick Flynn’s opponent in the 2018 election, and for Circuit Clerk Karla Allsberry, who Flynn removed from office in May.

Flynn and Allsberry have been battling since she took office in January. Their feud got worse when Flynn and two other judges voted to strip Allsberry of the power to hire and fire clerk’s office employees and submit a budget.

Harper’s suit seeks millions in compensatory and punitive damages.

She is being represented by the same lawyer who represents Allsberry, who sued Flynn in federal court in August after a series of appeals of her removal failed in state court.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr. appeared to be leaning toward turning down a request by Allsberry to reverse Flynn’s move, saying in a court hearing that she should have first filed a lawsuit in Lincoln County. He has not yet ruled, and called it a “difficult” and “strange” case.

Flynn claimed in court filings that Allsberry had failed to perform certain duties and committed misfeasance and malfeasance. She has denied those claims and said that Flynn is trying to block an audit of the office’s finances.

Allsberry lawyer David Duree said that Flynn was trying to get back at Allsberry by reversing the results of the 2018 election, during which he supported her opponent. Allsberry’s husband, Gregory Allsberry, defeated Flynn in a judicial election in 2014, and Allsberry has supported past opponents of Flynn.

Flynn did not respond to an email seeking comment Thursday.

Allsberry’s federal suit, filed in August, largely repeats claims filed in a pending Cole County Circuit Court lawsuit. Separate filings in appeals courts, including the Missouri Supreme Court, have failed.

Related to this story

A federal lawsuit filed by the elected Lincoln County circuit clerk seeks to overturn her removal by the presiding judge.

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