Man accuses former employer of slander

By John O'Brien | Aug 2, 2006

WHEELING - An Ohio County man is accusing his former employer of advising other individuals not to work with him.

John Baxter is suing Gallaway Safety and Supply, Inc., and its president Jon Colin Gallaway in Ohio Circuit Court, claiming Gallaway told customers, vendors and employers of Baxter to falsely accuse him of failing to return samples, merchandise, keys, sales bags and catalogs and committing numerous unethical business practices after being terminated May 12.

The lawsuit was filed July 22.

"Gallaway… contacted Global Glove located in Minnesota and demanded that Global Glove not do business with John Baxter, used foul language and threatened to sue Global glove for doing business with John Baxter," the complaint says.

Baxter says he worked for Gallaway as a salesman for almost five years before he was fired. He adds that he never received his final pay.

After beginning a job with Cardinal Safety, he says Gallaway began contacting the company's customers and vendors in an effort to interfere with his employment.

A June 29 letter to Cardinal Safety, Baxter says, made threats that Gallaway would sue if Baxter wasn't fired.

"Accompanying the June 29 correspondence was a proposed settlement… wherein Defendant Jon Colin Gallaway… in exchange for not suing John Baxter… demanded that John Baxter and his employer, Cardinal Safety, cease conducting business with any and all vendors and customers that are used by Gallaway Safety and Supply, Inc.," the complaint says.

Baxter seeks injunctive relief restricting Gallaway from interfering with Baxter's professional life and charges him with tortious interference with employment, tortious interference with relationships, failure to pay wages, intentional infliction of emotional distress, a violation of West Virginia's antitrust law, unfair competition and libel/slander.

"Defendant's libel and slander of Plaintiff… has caused him damage to his reputation, loss of good will, economic damages and other damages yet to be determined," the complaint says.

Richard Beaver of Phillips, Gardill, Kaiser and Altmeyer in Wheeling is representing Baxter.

Judge James Mazzone has been assigned the case.

Ohio Circuit Court case number 06-C-248

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