JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – Missouri will pay $500,000 to settle a wrongful termination suit filed by a former staffer for Gov. Matt Blunt. Scott Eckersley sued Blunt and several staff members in January 2008, claiming they defamed him and violated state open records law.
The suit will cost the state more than a million dollars because the defendants used the state’s legal defense fund to pay attorneys fees.
“The lawsuit in this case was filed following the termination of Scott Eckersley’s employment by the Office of the Governor, State of Missouri,” Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said in a statement. “Based on the claims and defenses asserted by both plaintiff and defendants, all of the parties strongly believe in the merits of their positions. However, for various reasons, including the cost of continuing to litigate this matter through trial, all of the undersigned parties to the Release agree that settling the case for the amount of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00) on behalf of the defendants and the State Legal Expense Fund, in exchange for full and complete release of all claims asserted, is in the best interests of the taxpayers of the State of Missouri.”