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West Virginia's Legal Journal

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    MADISON — A Madison woman seeks jury award in excess of jurisdictional limits because she struck her head on a pipe while looking at rugs at Ashley Furniture Home Store in South Charleston.

    The defendant named is Providence Enterprises, LLC, dba as Ashley Furniture in the Southridge Shopping Center.

    Sandra Cook, represented by Attorney Otis R. Mann Jr., charges the company “was negligent, careless and reckless in its upkeep, service, inspection, design, construction, and/or maintenance of the area where the rugs were displayed …” causing her injury in October 2008. She says she bent down to turn the corner of one of the rugs on the floor, and then hit her head on a black pipe when she stood up.

    The pipe “was obscured because of its color and the dim lighting,” Cook complains. She got treatment at Ashton Urgent Care in Charleston and was sent to the CAMC Women’s and Children’s Hospital for further treatment.

    In addition to a Boone Circuit Court jury award relative to injuries and medical expenses, Cook asks for pre-judgment interest and litigation costs. Judge William S. Thompson will hear her case.

    Boone Circuit Court case number: 10-C-228

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  • 10/22/10--00:05: CIVIL FILINGS: Boone County
  • Sept. 21
    Seth Bunting, a minor child by his parent, guardian and next friend, Michael
    PA- Matthew M. Hatfield; J- William S. Thompson
    * Petitions for permission to settle a personal injury claim. Petition says the 12-year-old was at the Danville home of his grandfather when the man’s dog bit the boy on the left side of his face. Michael Bunting seeks Court approval of a $25,000 settlement with the Municipal Mutual Insurance Co. Judge Thompson scheduled an Oct. 25 hearing on the matter.
    Case number: 10-C-219

    Sept. 22
    JV Services & Groups Health Care Plan vs. Cecil R. Cook
    PA- Robert J. Hannen; J- Thompson
    * Complaint says Cook breached his health care plan contract with the Danville corporation following medical payments in excess of $65,000 after he suffered personal injuries in July 2006. Cook pursued an injury claim against a third party, according to the complaint, and it’s believed he received a monetary recovery. Plaintiff says it is entitled to be reimbursed “for medical payments made on behalf of Cecil R. Cook for which he obtained a recovery against the third party.” JV Services also seeks its court costs and attorney fees.
    Case number: 10-C-220

    Phillip D. & Angela Morgan vs. Frasure Creek Mining, LLC, dba Trinity Coal Co.
    PA- J. Ryan Stewart; J- Thompson
    * Morgan was employed by Frasure Creek as a diesel mechanic at Surface Mine No. 7 near Van. His job required fueling a diesel truck described as having a ladder attached in the back which led up to the fuel tank. Morgan says he and co-workers reported that the fuel servicing ladder on the subject truck “was bent, unsafe and needed repaired and/or replaced.” According to the complaint, Defendant directed Morgan in January 2009 “to climb the unsafe ladder to fuel the subject truck,” and when descending, because of the condition of the ladder, he fell several feet injuring his shoulder, rotator cuff and lower back. The coal company is accused of exposing Morgan to unsafe working conditions and he demands jury judgment for compensatory damages, litigation costs, and pre- and post-judgment interest.
    Case number: 10-C-221

    Sept. 24
    Citibank South Dakota, N.A. vs. Matthew D. Plantz
    PA- Steven B. Mulrooney; J- Thompson
    * Citibank wants to collect a contracted debt for more than $28,000, plus accruing interest.
    Case number: 10-C-222

    Oct. 1
    BB&T Financial FSB vs. Kristle Green & Nicholas S. Green
    PA- Christopher R. Moore; J- Thompson
    * Bank says there is a deficiency balance of almost $12,000 owed on an April 2007 contract and security agreement for a 2007 Chrysler Town & Country vehicle. The Greens defaulted and the vehicle, as security for the contract, was repossessed and sold. Along with the deficiency balance, BB&T says it is owed “contractual interest at the rate of 7 per centum per annum from the date of 4/8/10.”
    Case number: 10-C-229

    Bobbi A. Adkins vs. Edith & Clifford Robinson
    PA- pro se; J- Thompson
    * Plaintiffs notarized statement asks Court to have her 2006 Jeep Cherokee returned from Mason County. Adkins says she has title to the vehicle valued at $13,000 and the Putnam County Defendants unlawfully had a towing company remove it from Danville.
    Case number: 10-C-230

    Oct. 5
    Jane Barker, Karen Reeves & Larry Reeves v. Appalachian Power Co., dba American Electric Power & AEP Appalachian Power; AEP Transmission Co. LLC, and AEP West Virginia Transmission Co., Inc., a subsidiary of AEP Transmission Co. LLC
    PA- Jamie F. Little; J- Thompson
    * The Reeves were tenants in a manufactured home situated in Madison owned by Barker in September 2009 when power lines fell onto the dwelling and also struck the couple’s vehicle. A tree some 60 feet tall, according to the complaint, fell on the power lines causing them to fall. Saying the “Defendants had not maintained the rights of way in the vicinity of Plaintiffs’ residence for at least a five-year period…” they were liable through negligence for damages to the dwelling and vehicle. Plaintiffs seek jury awards for past and future economic damages, annoyance and inconvenience, litigation costs, pre- and post-judgment interest, plus any other relief to which they are entitled.
    Case number: 10-C-231

    Oct. 8
    Kathy L. & Donald J. Slone vs. Jodi Shamblin, Jessie L. Shamblin & Sandra G. Shamblin
    PA- Robert P. Lorea; J- Thompson
    * Slone’s personal injury suit stems from a head-on vehicle collision last April on W.Va. Route 94 in Boone County. Complaint says Jodi Shamblin was driving her parents’ Jeep Liberty north on two-lane W.Va. 94, veered off the right side of the road, attempted to correct her course and went into the southbound lane causing the collision with Slone’s Ford Taurus. Kathy Sloan was air-lifted to a Charleston hospital, where she required multiple surgeries and an extensive admission, then ongoing home care and physical therapy. The suit says Jodie Shamblin had a history of drug/alcohol abuse. Slones say Judi Shamblin’s negligence and her parents’ “neglect entrustment” are grounds for jury awards for actual, consequential, incidental and all other compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages and litigation costs.
    Case number: 10-C-235

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    MADISON — A female truck driver claims her former employer and supervisor for creating a hostile work environment.

    In a six-count complaint filed in Boone Circuit Court, Kimberly K. Campbell-Johnson says sexual discrimination is in violation of the State Human Rights Act.

    The defendants are Elite Coal Services Inc., Spartan Mining Co. dba Black Castle, Trace Transport Co., Massey Coal Services Inc. and Larry Higgins.

    Campbell-Johnson worked at the Black Castle surface mine beginning in November 2008. She was terminated in early February 2009. During her tenure, Campbell-Johnson says she was subjected to an abusive, stressful and hostile working environment.

    According to the complaint, for an extended period she “was subjected to severe and pervasive sexual harassment by the defendant, which included unwanted, unwelcome and unsolicited verbal and physical conduct by agents of defendants.”

    Singling out Higgins, for a time her supervisor, the woman says he attempted to physically force himself on her.

    “Defendant Higgins and agents of the corporate defendants repeatedly made grotesque and vile, graphic and sexual comments to plaintiff, including … statements about her breasts over the CB and directly to her, … assertions by a Spartan supervisor that he was having a wet t-shirt contest and a request for her to compete, and … after showing plaintiff a picture of a man with an erection, defendants’ agent asked plaintiff, ‘is that big enough for you?’ to which plaintiff responded, ‘I don’t want to see that.’”

    Campbell-Johnson says she was injured in a truck accident in December 2008 and filed for workers’ compensation; after which her physician requested she do modified duty and not perform pushing, pulling, carrying or lifting. Subsequently, she says her doctor took her off work in late January 2009, then on Feb. 2 she was terminated. She claims she was fired because she attempted to file for workers’ comp, temporary disability, and/or complained of sexual harassment.

    Plaintiff has recovered physically and is able to work, but has not been recalled. Her complaint includes various companies, aside from Higgins, because, she says, “…Defendants continued to put Plaintiff back in close working conditions with the harassers and refused to accommodate Plaintiffs concerns.”

    Charleston attorneys Lonnie C. Simmons and Robert M. Bastress III want jury awards of lost wages, front and back pay; attorney costs, compensatory damages for “humiliation, annoyance and inconvenience, invasion of privacy, affront to personal dignity, damage to reputation, emotional pain and suffering, and any other amount sufficient to compensate her for the damages proximately caused by Defendants.”

    In addition, Campbell-Johnson seeks punitive damages in an amount to discourage actions described in her complaint, plus such other relief deemed just.

    The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge William S. Thompson.

    Boone Circuit Court case number: 10-C-242

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  • 11/11/10--23:00: CIVIL FILINGS: Boone County
  • Oct. 8
    Kathy L. & David J. Slone vs. Jodi Shamblin, Jessie L. Shamblin & Sandra G. Shamblin
    PA- Athanasios Basdekis; J- William S. Thompson
    * Personal injury complaint is directed at Jodi Shamblin, driver of her parents’ Jeep Liberty involved in an April 2010 head-on collision on W.Va. 94 with the Shamblin’s Ford Taurus. Driver Kathy Slone was air-evacuated to a Charleston hospital, the complaint says, with injuries requiring multiple surgeries, extensive hospital stay and follow-up home care and physical therapy. The Slone vehicle was a total loss, with Shamblin accused of leaving her northbound lane to cause the collision. Citing several past charges against the Racine defendant for DUI and operating a vehicle with suspended driver’s license, the Slones also say there is “Negligent Entrustment” by Shamblin’s parents for allowing her to drive their vehicle. The Danville Plaintiff wants jury judgment for personal injuries and medical expenses and the Slones seek additional relief from Jessie and Sandra Shamblin for “actual, consequential, incidental and all other compensatory damages in amounts to be determined at trial…”
    Case number: 10-C-235

    Oct. 21
    James Kinder Jr. & Cathy Kinder vs. Ford Motor Credit Co., LLC aka Ford Motor Credit Co.
    PA- Robin L.Godfrey; J- Thompson
    * Seth residents seek actual and statutory damages amounting to $74,000 because Defendant violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act and State common law. Ford Motor Credit financed purchase of a vehicle in June 2007. Encountering financial difficulties, the Kinders retained an attorney last March 10 and advised Ford to communicate with him. The couple contends the debt collector “continued to contact plaintiffs by telephone and continued on nearly a daily basis from March 10, 2010, through April 2010.” The complaint says the Kinders turned off their phone because calls were to numerous and James was contacted at his place of employment “under the guise of an emergency.” He is an underground coal mine foreman.
    Case number: 10-C-238

    State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., as subrogee of Betsy J. Bradley vs. Johnny Lee Dillon
    PA- Jennifer M. Palonis; J- Thompson
    * Saying Dillon ran a stop sign and struck the passenger side of a vehicle insured by State Farm, the Comfort man should pay $30,461, plus interest and court costs, as a result of the accident near the intersection of W.Va. 85 and Secondary 26 in Van. Boyce M. Bradley, Jr., had permission of Betsy Bradley to operate her 1988 Chevrolet pickup involved in the mishap. Her complaint says Dillon was operating his vehicle without a valid insurance policy when causing more than $5,000 in damages to her truck and $25,000 in medical bills for Boyce Bradley.
    Case number: 10-C-241

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  • 11/18/10--23:00: CIVIL FILINGS: Boone County
  • Oct. 25
    Webster Bank NA vs. Buddy G. Zomes Jr.
    PA- Angela Watson; J- William S. Thompson
    * Complaint says the Bloomingrose man defaulted on a note for $29,250 executed in May 2005 payable to ABN AMRO Mortgage Group, with the note payable to Webster Bank. Webster Bank seeks judgment for the unpaid balance of $27,752, plus accrued interest of $1,214 through Oct. 1 and additional charges thereafter at 7.5 percent per diem, plus unpaid late and collection charges.
    Case number: 10-C-243

    Ronnie L. Nelson vs. Raven Crest Contracting LLC, Andy Styles & CD. Roberts
    PA- Robert M. Bastress III; J- Thompson
    * Nelson claims he was a “qualified individual with a disability” when fired from his job at Defendant’s Bull Creek Mine last May. He says he injured his back while working at the Ashford location, where Styles was foreman and Roberts was superintendent. Seth Plaintiff cites discrimination under the West Virginia Human Rights Act and wants jury awards of compensatory and punitive damages and reinstatement to his employment.
    Case number: 10-C-244

    Oct. 27
    Betty Bell vs. Madison Insurance Agency, Inc.; F. Marlene Walker; Shawn Walker; and Encompass Insurance Co.
    PA- Frank T. Litton Jr.; J- Thompson
    * Bell claims her deceased spouse, Robert L. Bell Sr., purchased automobile insurance from the Defendants, which was in full force Jan. 1, 2008, when he was fatally injured in an auto accident. Mrs. Bell was a passenger and she was also injured in the wreck attributed to the other vehicle involved. She made a claim for underinsured motorist coverage she says was included in the Bells’ policy. But Defendant insurers and agents presented her with a new policy they say was purchased in July 2008, according to the complaint, and a document backdated to February 2006 purported to affect underinsured motorist coverage. A question ensued about existence of such coverage. Bell demands jury trial, with one count of her complaint accusing Defendants, “both jointly and severally,” of fraud. She wants compensatory damages, together with pre- and post-judgment interest, litigation costs, punitive damages, and such other relief deemed appropriate.
    Case number: 10-C-249

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  • 12/16/10--23:00: CIVIL FILINGS: Boone County
  • Nov. 4
    Norval & Sharon Jenkins vs. Beneficial West Virginia Inc.
    PA- Daniel F. Hedges; J- William S. Thompson
    * Seth couple, referring to predatory lending practices, seeks jury awards of civil and punitive damages in detailing eight counts that include Breach of Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Unlawful Debt Collection Practices, Failure to Provide Statement of Account, and Illegal Return of Payment. Interpretation of loan agreements from October 2006 and crediting of loan payments from June 2009 all figure in Jenkins’ complaint.
    Case number: 10-C-252

    Nov. 9
    Timothy Grounds & Tommy Davis vs. Jeremy Burgess, individually, and Catenary Coal Co. LLC
    PA Lia DiTrapano Fairless; J- Thompson
    * Complaint says the highwall mine operators never received all wages and benefits owed them “as of the date of their separation from employment …” The men seek jury judgment against former supervisor Burgess and Catenary for compensation and credit for all required work unrecorded and uncompensated, liquidated damages with pre-and-post-judgment interest, all litigation costs, and such further relief deemed appropriate.
    Case number: 10-C-256

    Nov. 16
    Green Tree Servicing LLC vs. Nichalas R. Dunfee
    PA- Jason S. Long, Jennifer S. Caradine; J- Thompson
    * Finance company says Dunfee defaulted on his installment contract to purchase a 2000 Fleetwood manufactured home, the original principal amount of $101,440 in January 2001. Terms of the contract, Green Tree noted, specified a total sum of almost $130,000 in March 2001. The Ashford man, says Plaintiff, has wrongful possession of the unit serving as security collateral on his defaulted contract, which Green Tree is entitled to repossess.
    Case number: 10-C-262

    Nov. 17
    Tommy Davis vs. Steve Murdock, individually, & Catenary Coal Co. LLC
    PA- Lia DiTrapano Fairless; J- Thompson
    * Plaintiff worked as a highwall mine operator at Catenary’s Toms Fork mine under supervision of Murdock from August 2004-October 2009. Davis contends he was not paid wages and benefits owed him as of his separation date. He seeks jury judgments for unrecorded-uncompensated work, liquidated damages, pre- and post- judgment interest and all court expenses.
    Case number: 10-C-263

    Nov. 29
    State of West Virginia ex rel. Darrell McGraw Jr. vs. SFH, Inc. dba Stevens Funeral Home; Thomas R. Stevens, Jr., individually & as President of SFH, et al
    PA- Christopher Hedges; J- Thompson
    * State’s Complaint and Petition for Injunction directed at SFH, et al, resulted from an audit following up on complaints. Attorney General says “Defendants have engaged in continuous violations of the Preneed Act and WVCCPA (West Virginia Consumer Credit & Protection Act) from at least 2000 to the present.” Stevens had a location in Madison. Judge William S. Thompson, upon approving an agreement on Dec. 1 wrote: “The Defendants have agreed to pay restitution and interest to consumers, as well as to be bound by injunctive terms.” Defendants owe the amount of $224,000 to the State, plus interest if not promptly remitted and the Order bars Stevens from selling, or providing preneed contracts in West Virginia.
    Case number: 10-C-267

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    MADISON — A Boone County man is in court claiming a coal company has been allowed on land he leased for business activities.

    Joy Underwood wants a Boone Circuit Court jury to determine financial damages he suffered because property he paid to lease was conveyed to Massey Coal Services, Inc., while he continued his business activities. Mingo County residents Everett and Diann Hannah are named in the complaint, along with Massey.

    Underwood relates that he leased land from the Hannahs situated in Boone, Kanawha and Lincoln counties in April 2003. He says terms included quarterly payments totaling $6,000 year, with renewal privilege for additional five-year terms. Underwood states he renewed the lease four times through 2007.

    Complaint says Underwood “conducted various business enterprises upon the property, including … hill climb and racing events involving motorcycles.” He claims he spent more than $8,800 “in capital improvements and business expenses upon the property.”

    According to the plaintiff, a portion of his leased property was conveyed to Massey in November 2005 and the coal company “erected gates, altered the landscape, and refused to allow plaintiff access to his leasehold.” Underwood contends he was not granted right of first refusal called for in his lease when property was conveyed to Massey.

    His complaint demands that lessor reimburse the cost of capital improvements to said property and charges defendants have cost him loss of income from business activities there.

    Underwood’s attorney Timothy R. Conaway of Madison seeks joint and several damages “in an amount that is established by the trier of the facts” plus court costs.

    The case has been assigned to Judge William S. Thompson.

    Boone Circuit Court case number: 10-C-275

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  • 01/06/11--23:15: CIVIL FILINGS: Boone County
  • Dec. 14
    Betty & Glenn Davis vs. Charles Byrnside, Priscilla Byrnside, individually and dba Fairchance Development, Randy Akers, individually, Randy Akers, dba Randy Akers Construction, and Randy Akers as an Agent of Charles Byrnside
    PA- Stephen P. Meyer; J- William S. Thompson
    * A newly constructed house in Danville sold to the Davis couple by the sole proprietorship Byrnsides allegedly was defective, according to the complaint. Akers is relevant to the complaint as independent contractor for the home. Davises complain they discovered inside water damage after purchasing the house in May 2009; and Defendants “engaged in limited efforts to make repairs … and cure the defects …” Plaintiffs claim they had significant costs in efforts to correct problems, including excavation work to properly waterproof the house’s foundation. Also cited as defective is vinyl siding that blew off the house, hardwood floors pulling apart, inside doors not latching properly, and a basement door that fell off its hinges. Six counts of negligence charged include: Breach of Implied Warranty to Construct the House in a Workmanlike Manner, Fraud, Negligent Misrepresentation, Negligent Construction, and Strict Tort Liability. Betty and Glenn Davis seek jury judgment jointly and severally for an adequate compensatory amount, plus all allowed interest and their court costs.
    Case number: 10-C-278

    Dec. 15
    Pamela Donohue vs. Green Tree Servicing, LLC
    PA- Roger A. Decanio; J- William S. Thompson
    * Judge William S. Thompson is expected to issue an order soon relative to Donohue’s eviction status concerning her mobile home residence in Seth. She filed a Complaint For Injunctive Relief And Declaratory Judgment to counter the finance company’s intent to repossess her 1999 model, Clayton manufactured home for a foreclosure sale. There was an Agreed Order last September whereby the woman “would waive all notification of default or hearing without a bond.” Her current request for jury injunctive relief asserts she entered into an agreement without advice of counsel, not understanding she would be waiving certain rights. Donohue paid on the unit last August and in early December, but Green Tree has specified that “only a payment of approximately $1,085 would forestall the seizure.”
    Case number: 10-C-279

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    MADISON -– A coal miner has filed a product liability suit against Mine Safety Appliance Co. and four of its distributors charging respirators manufactured and sold by the defendants failed to protect him from harmful dust in his workplace.

    Harold Williams of Foster accused MSA of producing a respirator with a hidden leakage problem in his complaint filed last month in Boone Circuit Court.

    “When used in coal mining conditions,” Williams asserts, “the respirators leaked substantial amounts of harmful dust into the breathing zone … including through the filter …”

    The complaint says “harmful dust leaking through the filter … was not detectable by the human senses because it was too small in size.”

    Defendants named with the Pittsburgh manufacturer are Persinger Supply Co. of Prichard, Raleigh Mine & Industrial Supply Co. of Mount Hope, Eastern States Mine Supply Co. of Madison and Pineville Mine Supply, Inc., of Pineville.

    Representing Williams, who worked in mines from 1975 into 2007, is Williamson attorney John Hunt Morgan.

    They say Williams developed advanced lung disease known as pneumoconiosis, or “black lung,” because of the hidden defect in MSA respirators with no adequate warning.

    Williams and his wife, Sharon, demand jury judgment for compensatory damages in an amount fair and reasonable as shown by the evidence, punitive damages against MSA only, their court costs, pre- and post-judgment interest and all further relief to which they are entitled.

    The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge William S. Thompson.

    Boone Circuit Court case number: 10-C-280

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  • 01/13/11--23:10: CIVIL FILINGS: Boone County
  • Dec. 20
    Donald and Annetta Daniels vs. JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Chase Home Finance, LLC; and Chase Home Finance, Inc.
    PA- Brett J. Preston, C. Benjamin Salango, Danny R. Snuffer Jr.; J- William S. Thompson
    * Daniels couple wants a jury trial, charging defendants violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act attempting to collect a debt. Complaint says defendants have been on notice since June 2009 that Donald and Annetta Daniels are represented by counsel regarding their claim, but defendants continued to communicate directly with the couple. Complaint seeks compensatory and other damages, litigation expenses, pre- and post-judgment interest and such further relief deemed just as reasonable.
    Case number: 10-C-282

    Dec. 21
    Joseph W. Jones vs. Arkema Inc. et al
    PA- Thomas F. Basile; J- William S. Thompson
    * In a “Mass Tort Litigation,” Oceana resident Jones seeks jury awards of personal injury damages, jointly and severally, against Arkema, as manufacturer, and 15 distributers of float-sink laboratory chemicals used while employed at a coal preparation plant for the Harris Mine of Eastern Associated Coal. Citing State common law and statutory law, complaint says defendants failed to adequately warn him “of adverse health effects and risk of harm from exposure to the float-sink lab chemicals and about the need for personal protective clothing and safety equipment …” Jones demands jury awards of compensatory and punitive damages, litigation costs, recovery of costs for medical screening and future medical monitoring, pre- and post-judgment interest and such other relief deemed just and proper.
    Case number: 10-C-283

    Dec. 22
    Verified Petition of Malinda Cook, parent, guardian and/or next friend of Jessica Peters, a minor, requesting the court’s approval of the terms of the proposed settlement of the minor’s claim for personal injury
    PA- Andrew F. Workman; J- William S. Thompson
    * A February 2010 accident caused the vehicle in which the minor Peters was a passenger to flip several times. She was transported to a hospital emergency room in Charleston and treated for injuries. Consequent medical expenses were covered by the at0fault driver’s liability insurance and Cook seeks Court approval for a $22,000 check from Nationwide Mutual to be deposited with a regulated financial institution, payable to Peters on or after her 18th birthday.
    Case number: 10-C-285

    Dec. 23
    Aaron Hatfield vs. Misty Mitchell
    PA- Matthew M. Hatfield; J- William S. Thompson
    * Hatfield claims Mitchell caused a rear-end collision with his pickup truck near Danville in late December 2008 resulting in a large amount of medical expenses. His personal injury suit asserts that “in all probability” he’ll have to “expend great sums of money” on future medical care because of “severe and permanent bodily and mental injuries.” Hatfield wants jury award in excess of jurisdictional limits for compensatory, special and general damages, with total amount less than $75,000.
    Case number: 10-C-287

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    MADISON — A mining company wants an employee’s complaint over monitored phone calls dismissed.

    Newtown Energy filed a Motion To Dismiss a complaint by James C. Stewart that his personal telephone calls were illegally monitored in the underground Eagle Mine near Comfort.

    Stewart, a Raleigh County resident, filed a complaint Dec. 27 saying his employer and Newtown’s security firm agent intentionally monitored his phone conversations.

    He seeks actual and punitive damages, court costs and pre- and post-judgment interest.

    Part of his duties in the mine, Stewart says, was to monitor infrastructure and miners’ locations. He says he was allowed to make personal calls while at work. His complaint says Newtown procured a security firm late last July “to intentionally monitor the plaintiffs telephone conversations,” with neither Stewart nor persons he spoke with aware that calls were being monitored.

    Stewart complains that “no lawful exception to the statutory prohibition against the interception of oral, electronic and/or wire communication exists so as to permit Newtown to intercept said communications.”

    The coal company countered Feb. 1 for dismissal of the complaint, elaborating, in part, the following: “The telephone at issue is the only telephone line into the vitally important safety infrastructure building … at no time was any employee informed that personal telephone calls could be made … While monitoring these calls, Mr. Stewart was heard, on numerous occasions, to be making drug deals and threats regarding his illegal procurement of drugs.”

    Newtown says its drug policy provided express agreement “to be searched upon reasonable suspicion of drug use within his workplace included his consent to be subject to phone monitoring upon reasonable suspicion that he was using company phones to engage in illegal drug activity.”

    Stewart is represented by Charleston attorney Douglas V. Atkins, and Newtown is represented by Thomas V. Flaherty and Eric T. Frye of Charleston. The case is before Judge William S. Thompson.

    Boone Circuit Court Case number: 10-C-290

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  • 02/10/11--23:00: CIVIL FILINGS: Boone County
  • Dec. 27
    Donnie Smith vs. Spartan Mining Co. dba Mammoth Coal Co., Alex Energy Inc. and Jack Tharp
    PA- Kristofer Cormany; J- William S. Thompson
    * Smith seeks jury awards of compensatory and punitive damages, complaining he “was physically attacked, assaulted and battered by the defendant Tharp” while on the job, resulting in “severe and permanently disabling injuries.” Incident happened in late May 2008 at Alex Energy’s Green Valley mine in Nicholas County, according to the complaint, where Spartan Minding did business as Mammoth Coal Co. Mammoth’s principal office was at Julian, Boone County and complaint identifies Tharp as a management employee. Defendants knew he suffered from Crohn’s disease, Smith maintains, but was capable of doing his job as a scoop operator and general laborer. He says his disease “on limited occasions, required his absence from work.” He claims there was repeated verbal harassment by management personnel regarding his condition prior to the attack by Tharp. Smith claims he was “unlawfully terminated” following his injury while receiving Workers’ Compensation. Along with damages, he seeks pre- and post-judgment interest and litigation costs.
    Case number: 10-C-289

    Jan. 3
    Paul and Linda Dolin vs. Rollins, Inc.; Orkin, LLC, formerly Orkin, Inc. and formerly and currently dba Orkin Pest Control; John Wibberg, Gary Scott, James Hanshaw, John Doe 1 and John Doe 2
    PA- William C. Forbes, W. Jesse Forbes; J- Thompson
    * Couple seeks jury judgment awarding compensatory and punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest and litigation expenses, complaining Defendants were responsible for their breathing and cardiac injuries, as well as property damages, caused by “reckless/careless actions and/or inactions …” in servicing their Madison home. Principal issue is alleged cutting of lines in the basement concrete floor with the HVAC system on that caused the house to fill with concrete dust.
    Case number: 11-C-1

    Jan. 4
    Timothy Mitchell vs. Endurance Mining Co., dba Independence Coal Co., Inc.; and Massey Coal Services, Inc.
    PA- Susan J. VanZant; J- Thompson
    * Mingo County resident Mitchell was a truck operator for defendant coal companies in Boone County. He claims the vehicle assigned was not compatible with hazardous road conditions at the work site and in January 2009 he lost control of the truck and suffered several serious injuries in an accident. Mitchell demands jury judgment in an amount exceeding the jurisdictional limits as compensatory damages, together with pre-and-post-judgment interest, and litigation costs.
    Case number: 11-C-3

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    MADISON — A couple seeks damages for the man’s mining injuries working underground near the Black King North Portal of Elk Run Coal Co.

    Jason and Hollie Spicer seek jury awards that include $50,000 and $100,000. The defendants accused of personal intent in the personal injury suit are Elk Run, Massey Coal Services Inc. and supervisor John Lackey II.

    Spicer recounts that on Jan. 20, 2009, he was doing customary “move crew” duties preparing structuring belt to be moved to another location where pillaring had just been completed. Lackey, as crew leader, directed him and two other employees to get in a scoop bucket to speed up their movement to another section, the complaint says.

    After the other men got in the scoop in a seated position, Spicer relates that Lackey “abruptly jerked the scoop and started driving” before he could get in the bucket. Spicer contends the abrupt motion caused the scoop lever to engage causing the scoop to rise toward the mine roof.

    The event at issue as described by Spicer includes: “The scoop bucket quickly hit the roof of the mine knocking off Plaintiffs hard hat and causing him to be pushed into a crouched position forcing his head, shoulders and upper back to be forced between his knees toward his feet cutting his air off and not allowing him to scream or yell out … and he was dragged against the roof/ceiling of the mine for approximately ten (10) to twenty (20) feet.”

    Complaint claims Lackey reacted erratically after stopping the machine and Spicer rolled onto the ground. He kept saying, according to the complaint that he would lose his job if the superintendent found out what had really happened.

    Lackey also is accused of falsifying the accident investigation by reporting Spicer was driving the scoop and caused it to pin him to the mine roof.

    Medical bills were paid by Workers’ Compensation and Spicer “received temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits and rehabilitation temporary benefits prior to settling … for $40,000.”

    The Spicers seek joint and several damages of not less than $50,000 against all defendants. They also seek damages for diminishment of earning capacity, loss of consortium, past and future medical expenses, physical and mental suffering and anxiety, lost wages and future earnings. They also seek additional sums of not less than $100,000 against Massey and Lackey in punitive and exemplary damages.

    Attorney Michael E. Froble is representing the Spicers. The case has been assigned to Judge William S. Thompson.

    Boone Circuit Court case number: 11-C-11

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    MADISON — Controversy over real estate title examination and bank loans swirled over the Lincoln-Boone county line, and Attorney Bobby R. Hale has taken the matter to court.

    Hale, who works at Cook & Cook in Madison, focuses his practice on real estate law and title examination. He contests legal malpractice, breach of contract and negligence charges brought against him in Lincoln County by Branch Banking & Trust Co. and Foster residents Kevin and Kimberly Gillispie.

    BB&T loaned the Gillispies $85,600 in July 2002 and $107,000 in September 2003 to obtain about 50 acres of land along Coal River in Lincoln County. During detailing settlement documentation, Hale says he was informed by the Gillispies that there might be an inherited, outstanding interest in the subject property.

    According to Hale, his title work turned up an outstanding interest and he informed Gillispie. Subsequently the bank and listing-selling agent were told of the problem, Hale says.

    Back in September 2005, the Gillispies, BB&T and Hale were among defendants in a Lincoln Circuit Court complaint by heirs of the subject property saying they never signed a deed conveying interests to the Gillispie couple. The Gillispies and BB&T had claimed they were entitled to “contribution from Bobby R. Hale and Cook & Cook for any such damages owed to others or losses incurred …”

    Hale’s current complaint says “He has been compelled to defend a fabricated, non-meritorious, frivolous claim.” He seeks jury awards for special and general damages, punitive damages sufficient to punish both BB&T and Gillispie for the alleged fraud as well as litigation costs and “the right to join any agent, servant or employee of BB&T in this matter as the discovery in this matter develops.”

    Attorney Joel Baker is representing Hale. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge William S. Thompson.

    Boone Circuit Court case number: 11-C-6

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  • 02/24/11--23:10: CIVIL FILINGS: Boone County
  • Jan. 12
    Karissa Gunnoe Workman, as mother, next friend of infant Zachary Gunnoe, and individually vs. Donnie Bias, individually, and as father and next friend of Aaron W. Bias, an infant; Westfield Insurance Co.
    PA- Harry M. Hatfield; J- William S. Thompson
    * Personal injury suit stems from a single vehicle accident last August on W.Va. 85 near Quinland. Zach Gunnoe was a guest passenger in a pickup truck operated by Aaron Bias, who Ms. Workman complains carelessly and negligently failed to maintain control when running off the roadway and striking a concrete building. The accident caused serious and permanent bodily injury to Zach, says his mother. She claims expenditure of great sums of money for medical care and expects future costs resulting from Zach’s injuries, plus his loss of income and earning capacity. Suit seeks jury awards for compensatory, special and general damages, court costs, pre-and-post-judgment interest, and such other relief deemed proper. A second count requests Declaratory Relief relative to Westfield Insurance coverage affording $50,000 per person/$ 100,000 per occurrence involving and uninsured motorist, with $15,000 medical payments.
    Case number: 11-C-8

    Jan. 13
    Joseph E. Atkins vs. Gary Williams, Clerk of the Boone County Commission, and the Boone County Commission
    PA- Harry M. Hatfield; J- Thompson
    * Atkins petitioned and received a Writ Of Mandamus directing the County Clerk “to erase and eradicate” his Premarital Agreement from the public record. The prospective wife had gone to Clerk Williams’ office to have a notary public witness the document. The couple’s agreement was recorded in the Circuit Court Clerk’s office (in event of divorce proceeding). After review and consent by the Prosecuting Attorney, Judge William S. Thompson awarded the writ.
    Case number: 11-C-7

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    MADISON — A funeral home in Huntington has accused its president of embezzlement.

    SFH Inc. was incorporated in March 2005 after being known as Stevens Funeral Home under Thomas R. Stevens.

    The complaint, filed Jan. 24 in Boone Circuit Court, alleges “… at some point in time after the creation of SFH Inc., Defendant, began embezzling monies, by depositing checks payable to SFC Inc., and/or Stevens Funeral Home into his personal checking accounts.”

    The suit says United Bank and BB&T breached fiduciary duty, making them “liable for conversion in the amount of the instruments deposited …” SFH cites complex accounting as the only way to determine amounts owed the company and demands an independent audit.

    Spelling out six causes of action, SFH alleges fraud and negligence in making its case for jury judgments of general and special damages, including value of instruments converted; punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney fees and costs and such other relief entitled under the Common Law.

    Last year, West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw announced a settlement with SFH Inc., which is based in Madison. McGraw’s office said Stevens admitted to misappropriating more than $180,000 paid in advance by consumers for funeral services.

    Stevens vacated the business in March 2010. Soon, consumers began contacting McGraw’s office because they feared that their preneed funeral contracts would not be honored.

    The funeral home later was sold, and Stevens agreed to a permanent injunction against handling preneed contracts if he ever returns to the funeral industry. Stevens’ former business partners have also cooperated and willingly agreed to pay any additional claims which may arise after the settlement is entered.

    The new suit was filed by attorney J. Patrick L. Stephens. It has been assigned to Circuit Judge William S. Thompson.

    Boone Circuit Court case number: 11-C-15

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  • 03/03/11--23:00: CIVIL FILINGS: Boone County
  • Jan. 24
    Slate Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, Co., as Subrogee of Jason Hager vs. Mark Lovejoy and Harold Price
    PA- Andrew N. Frye III; J- William S. Thompson
    * Boone County automobile accident on Secondary Route 1 near Spurlockville in February 2009 resulted in State Farm paying Hager collision coverage, insurance company seeks to recover $21,381 from Defendants pursuant to its right of subrogation.
    Case number: 11-C-14

    Tonya White, by and through her guardian Lois Ann White vs. Deborah Baldwin d/b/a Miners Market PA- Toby J. Buel; J- Thompson
    * Personal injury suit claims Tonya White, while shopping at the Wharton business, touched a freezer door and suffered electric shock. She fell to the ground, according to the complaint, suffering serious permanent injuries, including loss of the use of her arm, hand and other body parts. She wants jury judgment in an amount above the jurisdictional minimum, pre- and post-judgment interest, litigation costs; liquidated, compensatory and punitive damages, plus such other just and appropriate relief.
    Case number: 11-C-16

    Jan. 25
    Sandra K. Bartley vs. Diversicare Management Services Co., Advocat Ancillary Services, Inc. and Kathy Kutil
    PA- Harry M. Hatfield; J- Thompson
    * Bartley, a Logan County resident, says she was employed some 15 years at Boone Nursing and Rehabilitation Center by defendant Tennessee corporations before terminated last August. She complains her discharge was based on disability and perceived disability in violation of the State Human Rights Act. She wants jury relief for various damages, lost back wages and front pay; pre-judgment interest and litigation costs.
    Case number: 11-C-19

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    MADISON — A Raleigh County couple and their son spell out eight counts that include negligence, deliberate intent and liability on the part of Massey Energy operations that caused James Kenneth Woods to suffer permanent injuries from the Upper Big Branch underground mine explosion.

    Madison Attorney Brian L. Ooten filed the Woods family case Feb. 14 in Boone Circuit Court against Massey Energy Co.; A.T. Massey Coal Co.; Massey Coal Sales Co.; Massey Coal Services, Inc.; Don Blankenship; and Performance Coal Co.

    The complaint says Blankenship, as Massey Energy’s chief executive officer, “exercised direction and control over all other Defendants named herein.”

    Performance Coal operated the UBB mine where 29 workers were fatally injured last April 5. Federal and state officials continue investigating that disaster.

    James K. Woods, according to the suit, was working in Performance Coal’s UBB mine when the explosion occurred. He suffered permanent physical and emotional injuries, including brain injuries, according to the complaint, leaving him an incapacitated adult.

    His wife, Teresa Faye Woods, is described as Guardian/Conservator in the case. Son James Jeremy Woods was working at UBB when he heard his father’s voice on the underground radio requesting exit clearance for a mantrip. Then feeling the blast, Jeremy says he “was immediately aware that his father was involved and inside the mine,” and he was restrained from trying to enter UBB. According to complaint, told his father had died, Jeremy claims he suffered serious emotional distress.

    Woods demand jury judgment in an amount to adequately and fairly compensate for damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, recovery of litigation expenses, and punitive damages.

    The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge William S. Thompson.

    Boone Circuit Court case number: 11-C-31

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    MADISON — Three more lawsuits have been filed against Massey Energy over last year’s deadly mine explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine that killed 29 miners and injured two.

    The three suits were filed on March 7 in Boone Circuit Court on behalf of the families of Joe Marcum and Adam Morgan, who died in explosion. The third case was filed on behalf of Stanley Stewart, who was injured in the disaster.

    Massey Coal Services and Performance Coal Company are also defendants in the suit.

    Massey operated the Upper Big Branch mine in a willful, wanton and recklessly unsafe manner that caused the deaths of Marcum and Morgan and injuries to Stewart, according to the complaints.

    Don Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy, was aware of the unsafe manner in which the Upper Big Branch Mine was operated as his involvement necessarily included his knowledge of the “staggering number of safety violations issued by safety authorities to Performance Coal related to the Upper Big Branch Mine prior to the explosion,” according to the suit.

    The plaintiffs claim that prior to the disaster, the mine had an abysmal safety record, as it had dramatically declined between 2008 and 2010.

    The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration found that the mine was not properly treated with crushed limestone or “rock dust” to control the buildup of explosive coal dust, according to the suit.

    The plaintiffs also claim Massey damaged potential evidence by allowing employees Christopher Blanchard and Jason Whitehead into the mine shortly after the explosion and by the “illegal actions of Hughie Elbert Stover and others at Performance Coal,” who allegedly tried to destroy evidence to hinder the government’s disaster investigation.

    Despite the present of Blanchard and Whitehead in the mine for more than four hours and despite their first-hand knowledge that the explosion had killed all of the miners underground, the defendants “nevertheless did not fully inform the appropriate regulatory agency representatives nor did they inform the families as they kept vigil on the mine site,” according to the suit.

    Instead, the families and the rest of the nation were allowed to sit through several days of vigil without being given information known to the defendants relating to the fate of their loved ones.

    At least two other miners’ families have filed lawsuits. Massey reached settlements with seven families earlier this month.

    Kathy Marcum, Tammy Morgan and Stewart are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They’re being represented by Timothy Bailey, Guy R. Bucci, L. Lee Javins, D. Blake Carter Jr. and J. Ryan Stewart.

    Boone Circuit Court case numbers: 11-C-46, 11-C-47, 11-C-48

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  • 03/10/11--23:10: CIVIL FILINGS: Boone County
  • Feb. 11
    Matthew A. Graybeal vs. Eagle Ridge Services Inc.
    PA- J. Michael Ranson, G. Patrick Jacobs; J- Thompson
    * Graybeal wants jury to give him “injunctive relief of rehiring, back pay and any other legal or equitable relief appropriate because his employer of less than a month discharged him for filing for Workers Compensation. Complaint says Eagle Ridge violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act. Graybeal seeks back pay and employment benefits “with an award of either reinstatement to former employment or for front pay …” compensatory and punitive damages, and litigation costs.
    Case number: 11-C-26

    Matthew A. Graybeal vs. Appalachian Security Inc.
    PA- J. Michael Ranson, G. Patrick Jacobs; J- Thompson
    * Complaint says Graybeal, employed from November 2009 to June 2010 termination was not paid wages due within 72 hours in compliance with public policy. He seeks jury judgment for an amount equal to loss of all wages, with interest; liquidated damages; and attorney and court costs.
    Case number: 11-C-27

    Feb. 14
    Branch Banking & Trust Co. vs. Christine L. Harless
    PA- Norman T. Daniels Jr.; J- Thompson
    * BB&T seeks to take possession of a 2004 Ford Escape financed for the Rock Creek woman in March 2005, because of her failure to pay $15,841, plus accruing sales finance charges at a rate of 11.79 percent. Bank also wants damages in an amount sufficient to satisfy Harless’ outstanding obligations and its litigation costs.
    Case number: 11-C-29

    FIA Card Services, N.A. vs. James B. Hudson
    PA- Edna J. Coulter, Alison R. Gerlach, Robert L. McKinney II, Steven B. Mulrooney; J- Thompson
    * FIA’s counsel tells the Court it is attempting to collect a contracted debt of more than $36,700.
    Case number: 11 -C-30

    Feb. 15
    Carol England, as Executrix of the Estate of Martin Lee England & Individually vs.Rebecca Ann Workman & Clyde Workman Jr.
    PA- Stacey Lynn Fragile; J- Thompson
    * Personal injury suit alleges Defendants caused wrongful death of Martin England resulting from a July 2009 vehicle accident on W.Va. Route 3 in Comfort. According to complaint, Rebecca Workman had four drugs and alcohol in her system while driving a car owned by Clyde Workman Jr. England was operating his truck on the right side of the road, says complaint, when the Workman vehicle crossed center line striking the front driver’s side wheel area. England was fatally injured when his vehicle left the roadway into the ditchline, reentered the road and turned over. Carol England wants jury to determine an award, jointly and severally against defendants, plus litigation costs, and pre- and post-judgment interest.
    Case number: 11-C-32

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