BECKLEY – A woman is suing the City of Hinton and two city officials after she claims they defamed her character by labeling her a troublemaker.


Mayor Joseph Blankenship, City Attorney Richard Gunnoe and City National Bank were also named as defendants in the suit.


During the May 2006, mayoral election, Lila Oxley exercised her rights to actively participate in the election for both mayor and city council members, according to a complaint filed June 2 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.


Oxley claims Blankenship utilized his position has mayor to get back at her and her family by using his elected position as mayor to advance his personal agenda.


Once Blankenship was elected, he immediately terminated the city attorney and convinced the city council to hire Gunnoe, according to the suit.


Oxley claims her son was a member of the city council and had a dispute and controversy with Blankenship and Gunnoe, and was subsequently defeated and replaced on the city council.


Oxley's other son was a municipal judge for the City of Hinton and a controversy arose between him, Blankenship and Gunnoe in which they have attempted to terminate his services and forced him into resignation at the end of 2014, according to the suit.


Oxley claims during his bid for re-election, she actively campaigned against him in favor of the former mayor. Blankenship is holding a grudge and political vendetta against her and her family because of this.


The plaintiff has made numerous requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act and similar requests that Blankenship and Gunnoe have informed the city manager, Chris Meadows, and the staff not to honor and not to provide such information, according to the suit.


Oxley claims the defendants have libeled and defamed her name and reputation in the process of labeling her a troublemaker and other malicious allegations.


The defendants have conspired with each other and other city employees to utilize their positions as mayor and city attorney to deprive Oxley have her civil rights, constitutional rights and have defamed and slandered her reputation in a willful, intentional, egregious, malicious and outrageous nature intending to cause her harm and injury, according to the suit.


Oxley is seeking compensatory and exemplary damages. She is being represented by Michael E. Froble of Froble Law.


U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 5:15-cv-07057

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