Woman says spider bite resulted in job loss

By Annie Cosby | Oct 7, 2014

HUNTINGTON – The general manager of a Family Dollar store alleges she lost her job after she filed for workers' compensation benefits after being bitten by a brown recluse spider.


HUNTINGTON – The general manager of a Family Dollar store alleges she lost her job after she filed for workers' compensation benefits after being bitten by a brown recluse spider.

Jill C. Barber alleges she was working for Family Dollar in West Hamlin on Sept. 24, 2012, when she was bitten on the right forearm by a brown recluse spider. On Sept. 28, 2012, Barber filed for workers' compensation benefits, according to the complaint filed Aug. 28 in Cabell Circuit Court.

On July 12, 2014, Barber was released to return to work. She settled her workers' compensation claim on July 28, 2014, the suit states. Following her claim, Barber made 15 attempts to contact Family Dollar in an effort to return to work, the complaint says.

However, she says was told there were no current openings for a general manager position within a 25- to 30-mile radius of the Huntington area. She alleges that there were multiple openings and that the company lied to her.

"Because of the duplicity and inconsistency between what [manager] Mr. [Tom] Alcala was telling her and what plaintiff herself was finding on the Internet as to comparable job openings, [the] plaintiff concluded that [the] defendant was leading her on, delaying fulfilling its statutory duties, and otherwise trying to frustrate her efforts to regain her former position or a comparable position as a general manager in one of defendant's stores within a reasonable proximity of Huntington," the suit states.

Barber says Family Dollar violated West Virginia law by refusing to allow her to return to her former position.

She also says her medical insurance was suddenly canceled in January 2014 without her knowledge, causing her to receive numerous unpaid bills from medical providers and affecting her credit rating. Due to this occurrence, Barber has suffered aggravation, inconvenience and annoyance, the suit states.

In her complaint, Barber is seeking compensatory damages, plus general and punitive damages, attorney fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

James D. McQueen Jr. and Ralph J. Hagy of McQueen Davis in Huntington will represent her.

Circuit Judge Christopher D. Chiles has been assigned to the case.

Cabell Circuit Court case number 14-C-598

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