CHARLESTON - When he woke up to find the exterminators had just sprayed his dorm room with hazardous chemicals and didn't bother to wake him up, William Jones must have felt like someone had played a really bad prank on him.
In a way, he probably still feels that way.
Jones is suing Concord University and Standard Exterminating Company, filing a lawsuit against them May 5 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
He says the exterminators quietly entered and performed their work while letting him sleep on the morning of Sept. 9, 2004.
His attorney, Martin R. Smith, has seen his share of strange cases lately. Rawl Processing and Sales coal company sued his partner, Kevin Thompson, for a letter Thompson sent to the Mingo County Commission claiming Rawl Processing was to blame for the sorry condition of drinking water in the town of Rawl.
Rawl Processing said the letter defamed the company. Smith and Thompson has been involved in litigation against Rawl Processing since 2003.
Smith's also representing Nitro High School baseball coach Steve Pritchard and assistant coach Brian Withrow in the pair's suit against the Kanawha County Board of Education, saying their suspension because of a hazing incident was unfair.
Jones' case may top them all, however.
"Pretty interesting, huh?" Smith asked.
After his first exposure to the chemicals, Jones says he informed Concord not to let the exterminators in his room again. He says they came back, though.
"That's a big part of our claim, the fact that they were told not to do it again and they did it anyway," Smith said. "He has headaches, all the time. He's very lethargic."
Smith said he hasn't been retained by any other students in the dorm, but has been in contact with a lot of Jones' friends who, he says, "were aware of what went on."
Jones, too, is aware of what happened to him - as ironic as the overexposure turned out to be.
Smith says Jones is unable to perform normal tasks like pumping gas because he's experiencing sensitivity to heavy fumes, and it's put Jones' side-project out of business.
"He did furniture refinishing," Smith said. "Because of the fumes in the materials he uses when he refinishes, he's not able to do this anymore."