Lawsuit alleging sheriff violated state code dismissed

By Kyla Asbury | Mar 6, 2015

CHARLESTON – An order dismissing a lawsuit against the Kanawha sheriff was filed Friday in Kanawha Circuit Court.

The final order states that the court finds that Kanawha Sheriff John Rutherford operating in the capacity of executive director of Metro Emergency can be part of his public duties and that he is not engaging in other employment.

"This is supported by the fact that the Sheriff of Kanawha County does not receive any compensation for the performance of these 'public duties,'" the final order states.

The court also found that there had been no violation of West Virginia code.

Laura Wilson filed her lawsuit on Sept. 22, where she filed a petition for declaratory judgment and mandamus relief, claiming that Rutherford was breaking the law by serving as the executive director of the Metro Emergency Operations Center.

Wilson claimed that, according to West Virginia code, sheriffs of Class I through Class V counties "shall devote full-time to his or public duties to the exclusion of any other employment."

Wilson claimed Rutherford has received dual compensation since he began serving as sheriff in January 2013.

Wilson asked the court to remove Rutherford from his positions and repay the Kanawha County Commission any payment since January 2013.

The $3,426.93 reference in the lawsuit was compensation for work Rutherford performed as interim executive director of Metro Emergency between Dec. 16, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2012, before he was sheriff of Kanawha County.

"This sets a new standard for frivolous," Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper said.

The court granted the defendants', which included Rutherford, Metro Emergency Operations Center of Kanawha County and the Kanawha County Commission, motions and dismissed the plaintiff's petition and denied her motion for summary judgment.

Wilson was represented by Michael T. Clifford.

The defendants were represented by John R. Teare Jr. of Spilman, Thomas & Battle PLLC; and Johnnie E. Brown and Andrew Stonestreet of Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe PLLC.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 14-C-1736

More News

The Record Network