CHARLESTON – A woman alleges she was fired her because of her advanced age and the benefits she had acquired after working for a company for years.

Debbie Kerns filed a lawsuit Aug. 25 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Beverly Enterprises of West Virginia doing business as Golden Living Center.

In her complaint, Kerns alleges she was working for Beverly until she lost her job in October 2013.

Before her termination, Kerns had complained of the mistreatment of certain patients, according to the complaint. Following Kerns' complaints, Beverly employees planned a scheme that would result in Kerns' dismissal, the suit states.

"The reasons the defendants want to rid themselves of the plaintiff was due to her advancing age and benefits received from defendant Beverly Enterprises as a result thereof," the complaint alleged. "One of the reasons to attempt to rid themselves of the plaintiff from employment was due to the fact that she lodged certain complaints of patient mistreatment with defendant Beverly Enterprises."

In an attempt to fire Kerns, the defendants submitted a false statement allegedly made by Kerns regarding the behavior and conduct of another employee, according to the complaint. Kerns contends the statements were false.

Kerns accuses Beverly of libel, slander and fraud. She also says it engaged in negligent and intentional misrepresentation, wrongful and retaliatory discharge and breach of contract.

Kerns seeks reinstatement of her former employment, plus compensatory and punitive damages, plus attorney fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Timothy J. LaFon of Ciccarello, Del Giudice and LaFon in Charleston will represent her.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 14-c-1527

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