CHARLES TOWN - The owner of Charles Town Races and Slots is blaming a Sissonville-based asbestos abatement company for creating a health hazard on its property.

Penn National Gaming, Inc., filed a lawsuit Aug. 23 in Jefferson Circuit Court against ASTAR Abatement, Inc., claiming the company caused a Cease and Desist Order was issued to it by the state's Department of Health as a result of ASTAR's shoddy work.

ASTAR was hired to perform asbestos abatement and demolition work at the Sand House on Penn's property in Charles Town in 2004, the lawsuit says.

"ASTAR's agreement with PNGI specifically requires ASTAR to comply with federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to the work to be performed," it adds. "ASTAR's work activities at the Sand House were in breach of its agreement with PNGI, violated applicable laws and created a health hazard."

The Cease and Desist Order was issued Sept. 25, 2004, Penn says, noting that it detailed various violations of state Department of Health regulations relating to asbestos.

The complaint says ASTAR wished to finish its work, which would have required resolving the order by submitting an asbestos abatement plan to the Department of Health's Environmental Inspector.

However, the inspector did not approve of the plan, the complaint says.

PNGI says it was forced to terminate the agreement with ASTAR and hire Potesta and Associates to complete the project.

PNGI charges ASTAR with negligence, gross negligence and breach of contract.

"ASTAR had a duty not only to exercise reasonable and due care and diligence during asbestos abatement and to abide by federal and state law, ASTAR also had a duty to take the necessary actions to resolve the Cease and Desist Order issued by the Department of Health," the complaint says.

Charles Printz Jr. of Bowles, Rice, McDavid, Graff and Love in Martinsburg is representing PNGI, which seeks compensatory damages in the amount of $206,533.06.

PNGI also seeks punitive damages.

Jefferson Circuit Court case number 06-C-284

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