WHEELING - A temporary restraining order has been issued in a lawsuit against VHP Enterprises for unlawfully entering its property.

On March 13, the temporary restraining order was granted in the case due to the immediate and irreparable harm that could result to KVK Contracting, the West Virginia Department of Transportation and the public of Wheeling, the restraining order states.

VHP and International Rigging Group have "broken in to the project site on numerous occasions and pose a threat to KVK, the public and the project," the restraining order states.

VHP and IRG agreed to provide its share of materials and equipment for KVK's use in the cleaning and painting of the Hospital Bridge in Wheel Creek pursuant to an existing contract that KVK had with the West Virginia Department of Transportation, according to a complaint filed March 12 in Ohio Circuit Court.

In October, a dispute arose between the defendants and KVK, culminating in KVK severing its business relationship, according to the suit.

KVK claims at that time, it directed the defendants to immediately remove its equipment and keys were provided for access to the storage yard.

On Jan. 15, the defendants gained entry to the storage yard using its set of keys and attempted to remove certain equipment without first notifying KBK of its intentions, according to the suit.

KVK claims when this incident was discovered by security agents hired by KVK to safeguard its materials and equipment, the authorities were contacted and KVK's counsel immediately directed the defendants to cease and desist from any further unauthorized entry and to provide advance notice to arrange for supervised access for the removal of any further equipment.

Despite this warning, on Jan. 27, the defendants were again found inside the storage yard attempting to remove additional equipment, this time having cut a chain and removed the locks that KVK had installed to secure the area, according to the suit.

KVK claims on both occasions, the defendants threatened and were verbally abusive to both the security agents , as well as KVK.

The defendants last appeared in the storage yard on Feb. 17, despite being informed by KVK that it was unable to supervise access to the project that day, to remove the remainder of its equipment, according to the suit.

KVK claims it subsequently learned that between November and Feb. 17, the defendants made numerous other unauthorized visits to the storage yard and tampered with and stole materials and equipment owned by KVK, causing monetary losses to KVK totaling in excess of $115,000.

The defendants were paid $50,000 for containment materials that it is currently threatening to remove from the project, according to the suit.

KVK claims the equipment/materials that the defendants are threatening to remove are part of an approved site specific "Staged Encapsulated-Containment Plan" paid for by the West Virginia Department of Transportation that is designed to encapsulate/contain and protect the public, ongoing traffic and the surrounding environment from hazardous exposure of failing debris while KVK engages in the abrasive blast cleaning and painting of the bridge.

The removal of this staged containment poses a substantial safety risk to the public, KVK employees, state inspectors and engineers working on the site and would cause unnecessary delays to completion of the project, according to the suit.

KVK estimates that if the containment is removed by the defendants, the progress of construction on the project will be disrupted a minimum of six weeks and KVK will suffer losses upward of $450,000 to reinstall the containment.

KVK is being represented by Lisa M. Wampler and Lori W. Azzara of Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman.

Ohio Circuit Court case number: 14-C-68

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