Welch News notices shouldn't count, attorney argues

BLUEFIELD – Legal notices in the Welch News shouldn't count, Lacy Wright Jr. of Welch argues in U.S. District Court.

Wright ripped the paper on March 26 in opposing a motion from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to dismiss a suit he filed for a former Ameribank employee.

"Neither plaintiffs nor most anyone else actually reads the Welch News, whose circulation is believed to be unaudited and unverified," Wright wrote.

He wrote that former editor Rollo Taylor stated in 2006 that he was ashamed of it.

For FDIC, Benjamin Bailey of Charleston claims the quality of the notice doesn't matter because Wright found out about the takeover by other means.

According to Bailey, Wright practiced law as a tenant in the bank building.

Wright filed suit for Bonnie Robertson and Jerry Robertson in McDowell County in 2007, claiming Ameribank discriminated against Bonnie by age and gender.

Wright alleged constructive discharge, meaning Bonnie's employers drove her to quit.

FDIC took charge of Ameribank Inc. in September 2008 and published notices setting a Dec. 26 deadline for creditors and depositors to submit claims.

The notices ran again in October and November 2008.

On Dec. 17, FDIC removed the Robertson case to federal court.

Last May, FDIC told Wright the bar date had passed but he could submit a claim if he could prove he didn't know the FDIC took over the bank.

Wright returned a proof of claim form in August, claiming insufficient notice.

Bailey rejected it, and moved on March 12 to dismiss.

"Plaintiffs' counsel does not allege in this document that neither he nor his clients knew of the appointment of the receiver in time to file a claim presumably because they cannot honestly do so," he wrote.

Wright received notice of removal to federal court before the bar date, he wrote.

In fact, Bailey claims, Wright knew about the takeover almost immediately because the FDIC sent him a letter identifying itself as his new landlord.

Wright answered that the Robertsons moved to Tennessee in 2008.

He wrote that they received no written notice of administrative requirements until last May and they didn't see the notices in the Welch News.

"Not only is the Welch News not a daily newspaper, it is a newspaper with 'plenty of space, but little is used for hard news'" he wrote.

"According, hardly anyone ever reads this paper," he wrote.

He wrote that Taylor "divorced the newspaper in November 2006 and said he wanted his name erased from the history of the paper because he was ashamed of it."

Wright wrote that the paper declined to run advertising he tried to place.

District Judge David Faber presides over the case.

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