DiTrapanos listed as defendants in another lawsuit

By Chris Dickerson | May 10, 2006

CHARLESTON – A prominent Charleston attorney once again is listed as a defendant in a lawsuit, this time over injuries a woman says she sustained while visiting an apartment complex.

Rudolph DiTrapano is one of at least six defendants listed in a lawsuit filed May 5 by Rosalynn R. Evans of Charleston.

In her lawsuit, Evans claims DiTrapano and his wife Martha, also listed as a defendant, are owners and/or operators of an apartment complex located at 209 Beuhring Street in Charleston. Also listed as defendants, and thus owners and/or operators of the complex, are Colonial Property Management Inc., Randall Realty, John Doe(s) and John Doe Corporation(s).

Evans says that on May 6, 2004, she was an invited guest at the complex when railing and concrete on the front porch gave way and caused her "to be thrown from the porch down on the walkway."

She says the defendants had a duty to guests and were responsible for the maintenance, care, safety and cleanup of the premises. She also says she did not contribute to or cause said fall and was acting in a lawful and safe manner without negligence.

She blames the fall on the negligence of the defendants.

Charleston attorney Martin R. Smith Jr. of Smith & Thompson is representing Evans. He said from what he understand, the DiTrapanos are involved only as owners of the property. He believes Colonial was hired to manage the property, calling them the "main culprits" in this incident.

"He (Rudolph DiTrapano) didn't really have anything to do with the fall," Smith said. "He had a company he had hired to maintain the properties. And apparently, they didn't do the job."

Smith said Evans was visiting a friend at the complex when she fell four or five feet.

As a result of the fall, Evans claims she suffered personal injuries, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, lost wages and emotional distress.

"She landed on her face, and she's had some problems with her mouth as well as her legs and hip," Smith said.

Evans seeks compensatory damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, court costs, attorney fees and other relief.

Evans' case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker.

Rudolph and Martha DiTrapano also are the defendants in another lawsuit in Kanawha Circuit Court. Snowshoe Mountain claims they owe nearly $5,000 for a homeowners fee. The couple deny the debt and claim Snowshoe is guilty of breach of contract, fraud and unjust enrichment and seek punitive damages. Snowshoe denies those claims.

Rudolph DiTrapano is the managing member of DiTrapano, Barrett & DiPiero, which is one of three law attorneys chosen by state Attorney General Darrell McGraw's office to file a lawsuit against drug company Purdue Pharma. That suit resulted in a $10 million settlement and $3.3 million in legal fees, which the three firms shared with a Washington, D.C., firm.

Attorneys in DiTrapano's firm and their family members also contributed at least $30,000 to Atttoney General Darrell McGraw's 2004 re-election campaign. That figure represents nearly 15 percent of all the contributions McGraw received in that run, according to campaign financial statements filed with the state Secretary of State's office.

The couple also are the parents of embattled attorney Dante DiTrapano, who was arrested in March on drug charges in Florida.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 06-C-851

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