United Dairy wants personal injury suit moved to federal court

CLARKSBURG - One of the largest family-owned dairies in the United States is asking that a personal injury lawsuit filed against it now be moved to a federal court. Plaintiff Franklin D. Hairston filed his lawsuit against United Dairy Inc. in Harrison County Circuit Court April 4. In his complaint, he alleges that on April 16, 2010 he was transporting a patient from William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston to Morgantown when his vehicle was hit on the rear driver side by the defendant. As a result of the accident, Hairston alleges he has incurred and will in the future incur "mental pain and suffering, anguish, anxiety and severe emotional distress." In addition, he alleges he has lost income and will lose income in the future, has been "humiliated" and "embarrassed," has incurred medical bills and will incur medical bills in the future, and has "lost the ability to enjoy life." "The acts and conduct of the defendant were intentional, reckless, willful and wanton or otherwise such that entitle plaintiff to punitive damages," Hairston wrote in his three-page suit. United Dairy filed its notice of removal in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia Monday. The company argues that the federal court has subject matter jurisdiction in the case. While Hairston did not make any specific demands in his complaint as to damages, United Dairy notes that "upon information and belief, the matters in controversy between plaintiff and defendant exceeds the sum of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs." The company also argues that a diversity of citizenship exists between it and the plaintiff. "Plaintiff is a resident of Harrison County, West Virginia," lawyers for United Dairy explained. "Defendant United Dairy Inc. is an Ohio corporation with its principal place of business in Martins Ferry, Ohio." Chanin Wolfingbarger Krivonyak and Linnsey M. Amores of Charleston law firm Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown and Poe PLLC are representing the company in the case. Julie N. Garvin of Clarksburg firm Garvin Law PLLC is representing Hairston.

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