Nitro man seeks $20 million in five separate lawsuits

Chris Dickerson Dec. 29, 2005, 1:00am

WINFIELD – A Nitro man has filed five separate lawsuits against a total of six people, seeking more than $4 million in each suit.

In the suits, Patrick A. Pontier I mentions various forms of harassment that he claims have occurred over the past five years.

Pontier filed the suits Dec. 22 on behalf of himself and his three children Patrick A. Pontier II, Jessica A. Pontier and Jacob A. Pontier. The suits name Nitro city officials and state Department of Health & Human Resources officials as defendants.

In the suits, Pontier says the harassment has occurred since 2001. He also mentions use of "strong sexual words in the presence of three babies under the age of five years."

In each suit, Pontier seeks $1 million plus court costs each for himself and his three children.

Nitro Mayor Rusty Casto is named as a defendant in one suit. On Dec. 28, Casto said he had no idea what the lawsuits were about.

In the suit against Casto, Pontier says the mayor "had prior knowledge of the harassment since 2001 and has not as their boss done anything to this date about it."

Others named as defendants in the suits are Nitro police officers W.E. Javins and D.K. Richardson III, DHHR employees Lance Whaley and James Patterson. Another man named as a defendant in one suit is Chad Blankenship, but his place of employment and his connection to Pontier is unclear from the filing.

In the suits against Javins and Richardson, Pontier mentions "conduct unbecoming of an officer" and a "failure to conduct a proper investigation."

In the single suit against Whaley and Patterson, he says they allowed "physical, mental, financial and sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult and minor children, harassment, cruel and unusual punishment over five years time."

In the suit against Blankenship, Pontier accuses him of "physical, mental, financial and sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult and minor children, harassment, cruel and unusual punishment over five years time."

Each of the cases have been assigned to Circuit Judge O.C. "Hobby" Spaulding except for the case against Casto, which is assigned to Circuit Judge Ed Eagloski.

Pontier filed the suits himself, and apparently plans to represent himself. He seeks jury trials.

A Nov. 1 story in the Charleston Daily Mail that profiled Pontier said he sustained a head injury in 1994 when he was hit by a drunk driver near Cross Lanes. After the accident, he had reconstructive facial surgery as well as rehabilitation therapy.

The story said Pontier, 48, has been a single parent to his kids, including 4-year-old twins Jacob and Jessica, and 5-year-old son Patrick, who is autistic. He has raised them since their mother left when the twins were a few months old.

The father has an abundance of medical problems and told the Daily Mail he is under constant scrutiny as state workers keep an eye on his parenting skills.

Putnam Circuit Court case numbers: 05-C-504 through 05-C-508

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