CLARKSBURG – A man and his family are suing Elite Oil Field Services Inc. after they claim it is responsible for injuries he suffered in a tractor-trailer accident.
Donald Dotson was employed by Elite as a truck driver and Jeffrey A. Hess was his supervisor, according to a complaint initially filed Dec. 19 in Harrison Circuit Court and removed to federal court Jan. 16.
Dotson claims on Aug. 16 or 17, 2013, he was operating a Kenworth semi-truck with an empty roll-off trailer on Route 50 when the truck's breaks overheated, began to smoke, and at least one of the brakes caught on fire.
As a result, Dotson was forced to bring the vehicle to a stop along the roadway and contacted Hess and explained that the brakes had smoked, burnt and otherwise failed, making the vehicle unsafe and un-drivable.
Hess arranged for the plaintiff to have a ride and for the truck to be picked up by other Elite personnel, according to the suit, and further indicated and led Dotson to believe that the issues with the Kenworth's brakes, which had become chronic, would be addressed.
Dotson claims rather than having the Kenworth's braking system evaluated, serviced and/or repaired, the defendants assigned it to another Elite drive, who subsequently damaged or reported damage of the vehicle's transmission.
On Aug. 22, 2013, an Elite employee took the vehicle to have the transmission repaired and Hess contacted Dotson, informing him the vehicle had been repaired and that he was assigning him to take the vehicle to the Jacksonburg Big 192 drilling operation to haul mud for disposal.
Dotson claims on Aug. 27, 2013, he drove the vehicle to the drilling pad, where it was loaded with a box that was filled with the drilling mud and, after being loaded, he proceeded to drive the vehicle off the drilling site.
As Dotson proceeded down the haul road, the brakes failed, offering Dotson little or no ability to stop or slow the vehicle, according to the suit.
Dotson claims as a result, the truck careened down the haul road until it left the right side of the roadway and crashed into a ditch/creek bed and caused him to suffer severe and permanent orthopedic injuries.
The defendants failed to maintain the truck's braking system and was specifically aware of the failing, unmaintained and unrepaired condition, according to the suit.
Elite and Hess are responsible for the loss of consortium suffered by Dotson's family, Christine Dotson, Hunter G. Dotson, Donald Dotson IV and Ariana Hoover due to the loss of Donald Dotson's service, comfort, guidance and companionship, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory, general and exemplary damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by T. Keith Gould of the Miley Legal Group.
The case is assigned to District Judge Irene M. Keeley.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number: 1:15-cv-00007