CHARLESTON - A Mercer County man says the weather was too inclement while he was forced to help pave a section of The Greenbrier resort, causing his asphalt roller to flip.

Richard Nowlin filed the lawsuit Oct. 12 in Kanawha Circuit Court against his employer at the time, West Virginia Paving.

The company was working on a section of road at the Greenbrier two years ago, the complaint says, when a rainstorm threatened the workers' safety.

"It was the typical practice of Defendant, as well as those within the asphalt-paving industry, to not operate on days in which it rained due to the difficulties presented in properly laying asphalt in such conditions as well as the hazards presented to workers by the operation of equipment under such conditions," the complaint says.

Nowlin says he was operating a Caterpillar vibrating double drum asphalt roller/contractor on Oct. 15, 2004, and had to climb a steep slope with it.

Other workers threw gravel and tack onto the shoddy surface, the complaint says, to help the machine gain traction going up the hill. Once Nowlin made it, he says he lost control going back down the hill, went over an embankment, rolled four times and hit a tree.

The complaint adds that he suffered injuries to his shoulder and neck.

It is Nowlin's contention that he should never have been made to work in the first place.

"Having little to no traction on the old and compromised asphalt surface, Plaintiff was not able to control the machine so as to keep it on the roadway," the complaint says.

Michael Gibson of Gibson, Lefler and Associates in Princeton is representing Nowlin, who seeks compensation for pain and suffering, loss of impairment of function and attendant disability, medical expenses, lost wages, reduction in earning capacity, severe and permanent disfigurement, severe emotional distress and depression.

Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-2124

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