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Missouri court temporarily blocks judge firings

Monday, June 29, 2009 | 10:22 a.m. CDT; updated 12:36 p.m. CDT, Monday, June 29, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — A Missouri court has temporarily blocked the firing of three administrative law judges who decide workers' compensation cases.

The judges were to be laid off by Wednesday's start of the new fiscal year.

But Jon Beetem, Cole County Circuit judge, issued a temporary restraining order Monday. He scheduled a hearing July 6 on whether to issue a preliminary injunction against the layoffs.

Gov. Jay Nixon's administration said the layoffs are necessary under the budget cuts passed by the legislature.

The lawsuit claims that cost savings are not a legal reason to dismiss the judges. It says the judges can be removed before their terms end only upon the recommendation of a performance evaluation panel.

One of those suing is Henry Herschel, a former chief counsel under Gov. Matt Blunt.

 


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