WINFIELD -- A Hurricane man and lawn mowing company is suing a Putnam County agency and its director after it says the agency breached its contract.

John Sullivan doing business as J&J Services filed a lawsuit against Putnam County Parks and Recreation Commission and Executive Director Scott Williamson on Jan. 22 in Putnam Circuit Court.

In the complaint, Sullivan says Putnam County Parks hired J&J for mowing services at the park for the 2012 mowing season, which runs from March to October. He says J&J was paid about $67,000 for that work.

"After the 2012 mowing season, due to the high quality of the work performed by J&J Services, Scott Williamson advised John Shannon that he wanted J&J Services to perform lawn mowing services for the Putnam County Park in the future," states the complaint, filed by Charleston attorneys Michael Callaghan and Joshua Martin of Neely & Callaghan.

It says Williamson advised Shannon to bid on a two-and-a-half year contract to mow grass at the county's public parks. It also says Williamson said J&J was the low bid and earned the contract.

Because of assurances from Williamson that the contract was for 2 1/2 years, Shannon purchased and financed equipment to handle the work. The cost of the equipment was nearly $53,000.

"During the course of performing under the contract during the 2013 mowing season, plaintiff encountered several instances when Scott Williamson or his agents interfered with J&J Services in the performance of its duties," the complaint states. "On several occasions, Scott Williamson directed employees to cut grass at the parks which was the contractual obligation of J&J Services and for which J&J Services was paid on an hourly rate."

Shannon says Williamson said he would take care of that matter, but he says he continued to see Putnam County Parks employees mowing on numerous other occasions.

Shannon says no complaints were made to him about the work J&J did, rather he was "repeatedly told that he was doing an excellent job."

On Sept. 16, 2013, Williamson sent a letter to J&J saying the contract would expire on Oct. 15. In December, Shannon was told Putnam County Parks "decided to undertake all mowing activities in-house and not use J&J Services."

Shannon seeks injunctive relief, saying "irreparable harm will befall him should the Court deny his request ... to enforce the contract as he will suffer substantial financial loss."

He also says Putnam County Parks breached its contract with his company, and he claims Williamson intentionally and maliciously interfered with the contract. He also says he detrimentally relied on Williamson and Putnam County Parks.

As a result, Shannon says he and J&J will suffer damages equal to the contract price, the cost of equipment, annoyance, aggravation, inconvenience and other damages. Thus, he seeks the injunction or, alternatively, all legal damages recoverable including punitive damages.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Joseph Reeder.

Putnam Circuit Court case number 14-C-16

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