From the firm's Charleston and Morgantown offices, the experienced attorneys at Shuman, McCuskey & Slicer, PLLC are dedicated to obtaining the best possible results for clients throughout West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. Below, please find information about recent successes and developments at the firm.
- In February 2012 Members Natalie Schaefer and Will Slicer won another jury trial in Kanawha County Circuit Court. The plaintiff alleged that this firm's client, a land developer, had developed land and not maintained proper drainage which thereby caused flooding to plaintiff's property and residence. After six days of trial, the jury rendered a verdict completely relieving the developer of any liability for the alleged damages.
- In June 2009 Member Will Slicer and associate Kim Bandy won a summary judgment motion for a municipal client which was sued as a result of a portion of a plaster ceiling falling on the plaintiff. The Circuit Court of Jackson County found that the municipality, a political subdivision, should be dismissed on grounds of statutory immunity pursuant to the Governmental Tort Claims and Insurance Reform Act.
- In January 2012 Member Will Slicer won a summary judgment motion for a city police department wherein plaintiff alleged excessive force and violation of his civil rights during a stop and search. The police department was dismissed on grounds of statutory immunity pursuant to the Governmental Tort Claims and Insurance Reform Act.
- In September 2011 James Chin, Robert Fisher, Jane Warring, and Will Slicer prevailed in the federal district court in the southern district of West Virginia which granted summary judgment in favor of three of this firm's insurance company clients on a business interruption claim wherein plaintiff corporation alleged in excess of thirty-eight million dollars ($38,000,000.00) in damages. The court stated in the order that the "uncontroverted evidence . . . obliterates Plaintiff's claim of actual loss." This court in a separate but contemporaneous 38 page order granted this firm's client's motion for default judgment sanctions as to the business interruption claim. Thus, plaintiff's business interruption claim was dismissed not only for lack of evidence but also for discovery abuses which materially prejudiced this firm's clients. The court also granted leave for filing for an award of attorney fees. The court stated in the order, "Plaintiff's spoliation of evidence and overall poor conduct in the course of discovery justified Defendants' motion."
- In a $40 million business interruption lawsuit filed against this firm's client, the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia upheld a sanction of $25,000.00 against the plaintiff and in favor of the client, represented by James Chin, Robert Fisher, Jane Warring, and Member Will Slicer. The plaintiff had marked over one million pages of produced documents as confidential in violation of the court's protective order and in violation of local rule 26.4. The court had previously awarded $3,000.00 to our client against the plaintiff as a sanction for unreasonable discovery positions. For more information, click here to see a PDF copy of a recent Law 360 article covering the case.
- Firm member Will Slicer and associate Heather Osborn won a summary judgment for Century Surety Company in the Circuit Court of Hampshire County on a declaratory judgment action involving the applicability of underinsured motorist coverage. The plaintiff's Petition to Appeal the Order granting summary judgment was rejected by the Supreme Court of Appeals.
- Firm member Lou Ann S. Cyrus recently obtained summary judgment and a dismissal on behalf of the West Virginia Division of Corrections in a sexual harassment case, Connie Mullins (formerly Sims) and Diane Crane v. William Carder, individually, and The State of West Virginia Department of Corrections, Pruntytown Correctional Facility, Civil Action No. 06-C-511 in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, West Virginia.
- Firm member Timothy R. Linkous recently obtained summary judgment and the dismissal of Gabriel Bros., Inc. in a workplace injury lawsuit, Leeson v. Gabriel Bros., Inc., et al., Harrison County, West Virginia Civil Action No. 05-C-551-1.
- Firm member William Slicer won summary judgment for one of his mining clients in the mass flood litigation in Raleigh County, West Virginia. This was a unique case involving thousands of plaintiffs who sued over 100 defendants over damages they allegedly suffered after significant flooding in 2001. Also as part of the mass flood litigation, shortly before opening statements were scheduled to begin, Mr. Slicer convinced the plaintiffs to voluntarily dismiss a claim against another one of his clients, a land company with timbering operations.
- Firm member Timothy R. Linkous recently obtained summary judgment and a dismissal on behalf of Susan T. Bertrand, M.D. in a medical malpractice case, Suetta Kyer, et al. v. Susan T. Bertrand, M.D., Mercer County Civil Action No. 04-C-492S.
- Member Karen T. McElhinny obtained the voluntary dismissal of all claims against her client, a local ophthalmologist, in an accommodative intraocular lens case. The Plaintiff alleged that she was not a candidate for cataract surgery and that the physician improperly failed to document a vitreous prolapse. However, after Plaintiff's expert witness conceded that the physician did not deviate from the standard of care and that the Plaintiff had "pretty good" uncorrected visual acuity, Plaintiff's counsel agreed to dismiss the case, with prejudice.
- Member Timothy R. Linkous and Associate Molly Miner recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of their client, a local chiropractor, based upon the statute of limitations. The Plaintiff alleged that one day after her last treatment on March 17, 2006, she immediately noticed significant symptoms later identified as Horner's Syndrome. However, she did not serve her Notice of Claim until March 21, 2008. In response to the Motion for Summary Judgment, the Plaintiff argued that she was upset, crying, and confused during her deposition. However, her deposition was videotaped. Video clips from the deposition were played to the Court at the hearing, and they clearly demonstrated that the Plaintiff understood the questions being asked. Judge Russell Clawges, Jr. granted the Motion and dismissed the case.
- Member Karen T. McElhinny recently obtained a dismissal Order for their client, a medical provider in the matter styled Ballinger v. Dagher, et al. Their client, a private general ophthalmologist who performed two eye examinations on the Plaintiff while the Plaintiff was incarcerated at Mt. Olive Correctional Center, was dismissed when a federal court in Charleston determined that the physician did not act improperly by failing to perform a corneal transplant demanded by the Plaintiff.
- Member Hon. John F. McCuskey obtained the dismissal of their client, the City of South Charleston, from an interesting case. The Plaintiff in Bradberry v. South Charlestonvoluntarily dismissed his case after SMS defended the city against claims that one of its police officers improperly seized cash from the Plaintiff's hotel room during a drug investigation. As part of the dismissal agreement, the Plaintiff agreed that the city did not act wrongfully.
- In Best v. Rubenstein, et al., SMS Member Dwayne E. Cyrus successfully moved to dismiss the Plaintiff's constitutional claims. The Plaintiff brought his action against several officials of the West Virginia Division of Corrections as well as various medical providers alleging, among other things, that his constitutional rights were violated. The United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia turned aside Mr. Best's claims that prison officials violated his constitutional rights by failing to properly treat scabies and to administer AIDS medication in a timely fashion. The other Defendants, the Plaintiff's medical providers, remain in the case.
- Firm Member Karen Tracy McElhinny and Associate Kim Bandy recently obtained a defense verdict for the City of Charleston in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County in the case of William Totten v. City of Charleston.
- Member Tamara J. DeFazio who obtained a Writ of Prohibition against a circuit court mandating that her client be dismissed from a lawsuit. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia recently mandated the early dismissal of a case filed against The City of Charles Town. The decision was based upon the immunity afforded to local governments under the West Virginia Code.