Nurse claims W.Va. Media Holdings president traumatized her

By Kyla Asbury | Apr 10, 2014

CHARLESTON - A nurse is suing the president of West Virginia Media Holdings after she claims he pulled hair out of her head when he became angry during a medical screening.

West Virginia Media Holdings is also named as a defendant in the suit. Melinda Heiss and her husband, George Heiss, claim Albert Bray Cary Jr. became angry during a medical screening needed for a life insurance policy, according to a complaint filed April 7 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

On April 9, 2012, Melinda Heiss, a registered nurse, met Cary at WOWK-TV, one of the television stations owned by West Virginia Media Holdings, for Cary's appointment.

Melinda Heiss claims she and Cary went into a small office and she performed the examination.

She took Cary's vital signs and a vial of blood as part of the medical screening required to obtain a life insurance policy and, according to the suit, halfway through the screening, Cary got angry and told Melinda Heiss he had already answered the questions she was asking him.

Heiss claims she explained to Cary that Portamedic, her employer, required her to follow certain procedures during the screening. Cary then became hostile and belligerent, according to the complaint.

Heiss says she began to pack her equipment and prepare to leave, however, Cary stood in front of the closed office door and told her that she was not going anywhere until she gave him back the vial of blood, according to the suit.

Heiss claims Cary refused to let her leave the office, which constitutes unlawful restraint. While she was on her cell phone talking to the secretary at her office, Cary grabbed Melinda Heiss' cell phone from her hand and began pulling hair out of her head, according to the suit.

Heiss claims while Cary had her cell phone, she managed to exit the building.

Later, Melinda Heiss re-entered the building and asked a man to retrieve her cell phone from Cary, however, Cary then came "running toward her and shoved another phone in her face, telling her to talk to his insurance agent."

Heiss claims she began telling the agent what happened when Cary again grabbed the phone from her hand and began pulling her hair out again. Cary's insurance agent pleaded with Melinda Heiss to finish the physical examination or, at the very least, get a urine sample, and she agreed to get a urine sample, but refused to finish the examination, according to the suit.

Heiss claims she retrieved a urine collection cup from her vehicle and gave it to Cary.

Instead of going to the restroom, Cary went into an office, urinated in the cup and returned "with his trousers visibly unzipped," according to the suit. She claims Cary was very rude and insulting when he gave her the sample.

After the incident, Melinda Heiss quit her job due to the emotional distress she had endured, according to the suit. Heiss claims she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Heisses are seeking damages for emotional distress.

They are being represented by Michael T. Clifford, Edward Rebrook III and Richelle Garlow. The defendants are being represented by William C. Forbes. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 14-C-685

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