MORGANTOWN -- The father of an Elkins man who allegedly ran over an open manhole is suing the City of Morgantown.

James Bialek filed the lawsuit May 22 in Monongalia Circuit Court on behalf of himself and his late son, James Brent.

The complaint says James Brent was driving his father's 1999 Ford truck on May 22, 2004, on Campus Dr. when he struck the open manhole, causing the truck to swerve and hit a stone wall.

After graduating from West Virginia University in Morgantown, James Brent died Sept. 17, 2005, as a result of injuries sustained in another car accident. He was 24 years old.

The lawsuit says James suffered damage to his personal property, and James Brent sustained physical and emotional injuries. James is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

It adds that no warning signs were placed around the open manhole.

"Defendant City of Morgantown negligently failed to keep Campus Dr. -- a public road, street or highway -- open, in repair and free from nuisance," the complaint says.

Scott Curnutte of Curnutte Law Office in Elkins is representing the plaintiff.

Judge Robert Stone has been assigned the case.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number 06-C-352.

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