Couple sue Department of Education, allege chair broke

By Kyla Asbury | Dec 23, 2013


CHARLESTON - A woman and her husband are suing West Virginia Department of Education after they claim she was seriously injured while sitting in a chair provided by the defendants.

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Workforce West Virginia, Ron Wyatt and Jarred Cantrell were also named as defendants in the suit.

On Oct. 1, 2010, Amanda Sue Lester was attending an employment program known under the acronym SPOKES, which stands for Strategic Planning in Occupational Knowledge for Employment and Success, according to a complaint filed Dec. 3 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Lester claims the SPOKES program is under the direct supervision of the defendants.

At the time of the SPOKES required class, Lester was pregnant and was sitting in a chair provided by the defendants when he broke and she fell violently to the floor of the classroom, according to the suit.

Lester claims after the chair collapsed, Cantrell informed her that someone had taken the bolts out of the chair "so some other girl would fall out of it."

The defendants negligently, carelessly and with willful, wanton and reckless behavior, breached its duties and caused Lester to suffer severe and permanent injuries that are continuing in nature, according to the suit.

Lester claims she suffered severe and permanent injuries, including a back injury and premature contractions; medical, hospital, prescription and other healthcare expenses; pain and suffering; emotional distress and mental anguish; memory loss; loss of ability to enjoy life; lost wages; loss of future earning capacity; and various other out-of-pocket expenses and damages.

Jason Lester, Amanda Lester's husband, has suffered mental distress, anguish and an inordinate increase of duties around their home and in their family life as a result of the defendants' actions, according to the suit.

The Lesters are seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Karen S. Hatfield and Pamela A. Lambert of Lambert Law Offices.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-2245

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