CHARLESTON - A class action lawsuit has been filed against the companies responsible for Dirty Girl Mud Run, which was slated for Saturday in Charleston and later canceled due to an internal financial dispute.
Participants who signed up for the event have been informed they will not receive refunds for their payments of between $65 and $95.
The companies, 100 LLC and Human Movement Inc. informed participants that they will not receive refunds "under any circumstances," according to a post on the organization's Facebook page.
"Charleston Dirty Girls, it is with great regret we inform you that the Dirty Girl Mud Run will not be held this weekend in Charleston, WV," the event's Facebook page states. "While the city of Charleston worked diligently and closely with Dirty Girl Mud Run to take all possible steps to put on the event, it cannot be held due to circumstances out of our control."
The Facebook page also states it would like to thank Charleston, as well as city officials, for all the assistance they provided.
The lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in Kanawha Circuit Court, was filed with Kanawha County resident Kristy Fulks as the named plaintiff by Charleston law firm Preston & Salango.
Fulks claims failing to refund the registration fees violates consumer protection laws.
"We feel that the abrupt cancelation of the Mud Run without legitimate explanation and without a refund of entry fees is inexcusable," said attorney Brett Preston, who is representing the participants along with C. Benjamin Salango and Dan R. Snuffer.
Preson said he was also alarmed to learn that only a very small percentage of the money generated by the Dirty Girl Mud Run events actually goes to charity.
"Having lost my own mother to breast cancer, this all strikes very close to home for me," Preston said. "Incidentally, any fees awarded to this firm on this case will be donated to cancer-related charities."
Fulks claims the defendants breached their contract with participants and has been unjustly enriched at the expense of the participants.
About 2,500 people registered for the event. Registration cost between $65 and $95, depending on the date of registration.
"All entries are final with no refunds," and also states event officials can cancel or change the race "if in their sole judgment such cancellation or change is necessary or prudent due to emergency, severe weather or local or national disaster," according to the waiver participants signed when registering for the event.
The clause goes on to state that there will be no refunds issued under such circumstances.
The Dirty Girl Facebook post stated that the event could not "be held due to circumstances out of our control."
Human Movement was hired to put on the event and entered into a contract with the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau on April 1. Human Movement and 100 LLC told city officials and CVB that they were in the midst of working through financial issues when a shuttle operator pulled out of the event.
The company, Park Tours, claimed it gave Human Movement and 100 LLC a deadline of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to make payment for its services. However, neither company paid by that time.
Park Tours was supposed to transport participants to and from Cato Park.
Human Movement was also contractually obligated to pay a deposit to Charleston for the race. The company was obligated to pay $5,000 in March, which it paid, and another $5,000 in June, which it failed to pay.
State Attorney General's Office spokeswoman Beth Ryan told the Charleston Gazette the Attorney General's Office has been "inundated with calls" about the event.
"Our Office cannot confirm or deny the existence of any investigation," Ryan said in a statement. "Generally speaking, however, consumers who believe a business has not lived up to its end of a deal or engaged in misleading tactics should contact the Consumer Protection Division of the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office and file a complaint."
Tia Mattson, a spokeswoman for Dirty Girl Mud Run, wrote in a statement to the Charleston Gazette that the Dirty Girl Mud Run is working on allowing those registered for Charleston’s events to transfer to other runs if they wish. It is not clear at this point if that is a viable option.
"We have an error in the registration system that does not yet allow women to transfer to another event," she wrote. "We are working right now to correct this and can let you know when that is addressed so when and if option is available to women in Charleston, WV, you can alert them. "Please note we have not issued refunds for any participants registered for the Charleston, WV event."
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Charles E. King.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 14-C-1339