Prosecutor Michael Anderson, left, during a court appearance. (File photo)

A bitter legal battle involving Texas County’s prosecutor was settled last week as jurors prepared to hear the case in U.S. District Court in Springfield.

A former employee of Texas County Prosecutor Michael Anderson – Monica Daniel-Hutchison – sued him in federal court in January 2009, alleging that she earlier had been targeted by the county’s top law enforcement for malicious prosecution that involving obtaining a subpoena to obtain recorded messages left by him on her answering machine as he called from a cell phone while outside her Licking home in the middle of the night in December 2005.

Anderson filed a May 2006 lawsuit alleging that Daniel-Hutchison and another woman, Mildred Williams, had conspired to operate a sexual swingers group within county government. About five weeks later it was dropped. Daniel-Hutchison also alleged emotional distress and a hostile work environment. Anderson denied all of the charges.

After attorneys carried in dozens of boxes in the third floor courtroom of the federal court last Wednesday morning, a judge announced at about 1:45 p.m. that the matter had been settled and the results would be sealed from the public’s eyes.

The announcement came after three separate negotiation meetings throughout the day in a conference room in the courthouse in downtown Springfield. The first session lasted about 20 minutes. About two hours later, the judge and counsel met again for about 15 minutes. A third session occurred in about two hours and also lasted about 15 minutes. Shortly, thereafter it was announced that a settlement was reached.

A dismissal filing is expected within 30 days. If not, U.S. District Richard E. Dorr will start the process again in a case that by late last week contained 341 docket entries and thousands of pages of filings.

“The matter has been settled,” said attorney David Steelman, whose Rolla firm represented Daniel-Hutchison. “It’s sealed, and I won’t be able to comment further.” Springfield attorneys Warren E. Harris and Lance Roskens represented Anderson.

The matters allegedly occurred about five years ago. Daniel-Hutchison is no longer a county employee. Texas County had earlier been named as a defendant in the federal lawsuit, but after spending $139,960 in legal fees, claims against it were dropped.

The trial promised testimony by a big cross-section of county residents, who had been ordered to court and were expected to cause embarrassment for some.

Unless a settlement is reached, Anderson faces another trial in Webster County. That lawsuit was filed in July 2009 by Williams, the other woman named in Anderson’s 2006 suit. That matter is set for a jury from Sept. 13-16 in Marshfield. Also on the books at the Texas County Justice Center are three lien filings against Anderson by the Missouri Department of Revenue from November 2010 to March 2011. With penalties, they total about $1,525. On Wednesday afternoon, Anderson released copies of notices faxed today from the Missouri Department of Revenue’s showing the liens had been withdrawn. “The director of revenue has determined that the certificate of lien filed under the above referenced case number was erroneously or improvidently filed,” wrote Kathy Mantle, collections and tax assistant administrator.

[An earlier version did not include the withdrawal of liens April 6 by the Missouri Department of Revenue].


PDF: Court’s entry on settlement

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