CHARLESTON – Two Kanawha County court officers face a possible default judgment in a lawsuit filed against them in Magistrate Court.
Theodore R. "Ted" Dues and his wife Mona are named as defendants in a civil suit filed by Andrews Floor and Wall Covering of South Charleston.
In the suit filed Dec. 22, Andrews alleges it has yet to receive payment for new flooring installed to the Dues' home on Upland Avenue in South Charleston.
"Mr. Dues has not paid any of the amount due for floor covering installed in their home December of 2005," said Ellen Mann, an Andrews representative, in the complaint. "I have made numerous calls, but to no avail."
Andrews is asking it be awarded $2,086.08 –- the amount of services rendered –- plus court costs.
Court records show Kanawha County Deputy Sheriff Doug Fleshman served the Dues' with legal process on Dec. 29. By statute, they had 20 business days to reply to Andrews' complaint.
However, neither Ted nor Mona Dues filed a reply by the last day of the 20-day deadline on Jan. 29. Both of them work on the first floor of the Kanawha County Judicial Annex where the Magistrate Clerk's Office is located.
Ted is mental hygiene commissioner, and Mona works as a juvenile referee. In West Virginia, mental hygiene commissioners preside over matters pertaining to those who've been deemed to be a danger to themselves or others as a result of mental illness or addiction, and juvenile referees handle the initial process of juvenile delinquency petitions.
According to the state Supreme Court's Web site, the state has two full-time and one part-time juvenile referees serving Kanawha, Cabell and Wayne counties. In the remaining counties, magistrates act as juvenile referees.
Typically, the chief judge of each circuit annually appoints practicing attorneys to mental hygiene positions. However, in December 2005, the Supreme Court restricted Ted Dues to working the next 24 months as a mental hygiene commissioner as punishment for committing 39 violations of the state Bar Association's Rules of Professional Conduct as alleged in an 11-point statement of charges filed by the Bar's Lawyer Disciplinary Board on March 1, 2004.
Other liens, garnishments
Because the Dues' failed to file a reply, Andrews may petition for default judgment. If the Dues' fail to reply after 20 days to Andrews' default petition, then the magistrate would have no choice but to rule in Andrews' favor, thus enabling them to take such actions as filing a lien against the Dues' home or having their wages garnished to satisfy the judgment.
At least one other lien has been filed on the Dues' home for a default judgement entered against Ted Dues in another civil suit filed against him two years ago in Magistrate Court. Also, his wages are being garnished for an outstanding civil suit a former client won against him for malpractice in 2003.
According to court records, Bonnie K. Wolfe, a certified court reporter in South Charleston, was awarded $1,604.50 plus court costs and interest on Sep. 15, 2003. Wolfe filed suit against Dues when he failed to render payment for transcription services she provided in four cases Dues was handling as an attorney.
On Aug. 24, South Charleston Mayor Ritchie A. Robb, also an attorney, filed a petition in Kanawha Circuit Court to garnish Ted's wages to satisfy the $94,615.75 outstanding in the malpractice case won by former Charleston Firefigher Jason Davis on Sep. 29, 2003.
Records show Robb was successful in getting Dues to pay $1,000 toward the judgment when he was working as a hearing examiner for the state Department of Health and Human Services.
The state Auditor's Office confirmed Ted Dues' wages were being garnished, but declined to disclose the amount.
Records provided by the Supreme Court show Ted Dues' income has seriously dropped in the last six months.
For the entire 2005-06 fiscal year, heearned $113,103.25, making him the highest paid mental hygiene commissioner in the state. However, Ted Dues' approved payments to date in fiscal year 2006-07 total $13,689.
Mona Dues' salary as a juvenile referee has remained constant at $42,242 since she took the job on Feb. 14, 2001.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 06-C-4468