CHARLESTON - A Nicholas County woman has filed a suit against the South Charleston Police Department, claiming officials told her she was too old to test to be an officer.
Vicki Lynn Rains filed the suit July 11 in Kanawha Circuit Court against the SCPD.
According to the suit, Rains filed an application in mid-July 2006 with the SCPD and set up a time for the required physical ability test. Rains claims the test was arranged without any questions asked in regard to her age or other matter.
Rains says she drove from Kansas to South Charleston -- more than 900 miles one way -- to take the test.
The day before the test, Rains says she met with then-Chief of Police David Dunlap and, once again, no questions were asked about her age, the suit says.
However, on the morning of the test, Rains said she was given a registration form before being informed she was too old to test. Rains, 37 at the time, claims she was told there was a state law that stated anyone over the age of 35 had to take the physical ability test.
According to the suit, Rains asked if she could test since she had driven 900 miles for the test. She says she was told no.
Since her application to the SCPD, Rains claims she has learned that there have been several applicants over the age of 35 who were allowed to take the physical ability test and been employed as officers.
Rains claims she was intentionally discriminated against because of her age. According to the suit, Rains claims State Code that sets the age at 35 is unconstitutional, arbitrary and discriminatory.
Rains seeks to have the code declared unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution and the West Virginia Constitution. She also seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Attorney W. Jesse Forbes is representing Rains. The case has been assigned to Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 08-C-1335