Feds substituted as defendant in Upshur man's lawsuit
Lawrence Smith Sep. 13, 2012, 3:00am
ELKINS – Because his alleged attackers are federal government employees, a popular West Virginia resort soon may be dismissed from an Upshur County man's lawsuit.
Snowshoe Mountain, Inc. was named as a co-defendant in a premise liability suit filed June 26 by Jason L. Dean in Pocahontas Circuit Court. In his complaint, Dean, 29, of Buckhannon, alleged the resort staff failed in its duty to protect him from being attacked by Dusty Rogers, Brian Teter and Joseph Lee Friend while guests there two years ago.
According to the suit, Rogers, of Elizabeth, Teter, of Parkersburg and Friend, 26, of Canvas, became intoxicated, and later attacked Dean after forcing their way into his room sometime between July 10 and 11, 2010. Though it is unclear if Dean knew the trio and what led to the altercation, the suit states after entering his room, Rogers, Teter and Friend got Dean to the floor where they began to punch him in the face and jaw.
As a result of the attack, Dean says he suffered damages to his "head, face, neck and back [and] psyche."
The case was removed to U.S. District Court on Sept. 4 following a notice filed by U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II. In his notice, Ihlenfeld acknowledged Teter, Friend and Rogers "were acting within the scope of their employment as employees of the United States of America at the time of the conduct alleged in the Complaint."
The next day, Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen Campbell Altmeyer filed a motion asking that Rogers, Teter and Friend be dismissed as defendants and the federal government be substituted pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act. In her motion, Campbell gave details to Roger's, Teter's and Friend's employment saying they were members of the West Virginia Army National Guard's 115th Vertical Construction Company of the 1092 Engineer Battalion on active duty attending a mandatory training program to help them, and their family reintegrate into civilian life.
On Sept. 6, Judge John Preston Bailey granted Altmeyer's motion.
The next day, Matthew B. Hansberry, co-counsel for Snowshoe, and Dean's attorney, Erika Klie-Kolenich, filed a motion to dismiss Snowshoe from the suit. As of presstime, Bailey had yet to rule on it.
Located between Marlinton and Elkins in Randolph County, Snowshoe Mountain was converted as an abandoned logging camp into a ski resort in 1974. Since then, it has expended into a four-season resort to include mountain biking and horse riding trails, a Gary Player-signature golf course and a wedding and convention area.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, case number 12-cv-63