CHARLESTON – The operator of an assisted living facility in Dunbar is suing its nursing home neighbor for failure to pay for half of the work on a road both facilities use.

In the lawsuit filed in Kanawha Circuit Court, C.W. Caldwell Inc. -- doing business as Sweetbriar assisted living -- claims Sunbridge Dunbar Health Care Corp. -- doing business as Sunbridge Care & Rehabilitation for Dunbar – owes at least $38,346.50 for extensive repairs done to Caldwell Lane.

The suit, filed by attorney Joseph Caldwell, says Caldwell Lane previously was a private road across which Sunbridge had a non-exclusive easement for purposes of ingress and egress to its nursing home facility. But, the suit claims, the road had deteriorated. To keep it passable and to provide police, ambulance and fire protection, C.W. Caldwell Inc. undertook extensive repairs to the road, costing $76,693.

Before the repairs began, representatives of Sweetbriar spoke with those at Sunbridge who said they would help with repairs. Sweetbriar was led to believe Sunbridge would equally share the costs.

Now, Sweetbriar says, Sunbridge has enjoyed the benefits of the road repairs without paying. Sweetbriar wants Sunbridge to reimburse at least for $38,346.50, but Sunbridge refuses.

Sunbridge's refusal to meet its responsibility, the suit claims, constitutes an 'unjust enrichment' and a breach of duty to maintain the easement. Also, the suit says Sweetbriar has been required to expend its time and resources in the same effort all to its detriment and to Sunbridge's unreimbursed benefit

Sweetbriar seeks a judgment of $38,346.50 as well as an order requiring Sunbridge to post an appropriate bond or maintain a sum of money equal to the anticipated and/or foreseeable maintenance of the easement. Sweetbriar also seeks attorney fees, court costs and other relief.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Irene Berger.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 05-C-2804

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