WHEELING - A Marshall County couple is suing Wheeling Hospital, claiming the wife was wrongfully fired after 25 years of employment.

Christine and Mark Kerwood filed a suit March 27 in Ohio Circuit Court against Wheeling Hospital and CEO Ronald Violi.

Christine Kerwood started working at Wheeling Hospital in 1982 as a critical care nurse. According to the suit, she was promoted though the years. In January 2006, Kerwood was named Vice President/Director of Nursing at the hospital.

Also in January 2006, Ronald Violi was named interim CEO of Wheeling Hospital. According to the suit, Kerwood says she first thought her working relationship with Violi was positive, but as the months went on, she claims Violi and members of his consulting group treated her unprofessionally and unfairly.

"Specifically, Mr. Violi became increasingly belittling and critical of Christine Kerwood, particularly when (she) did not appear to agree with him on various issues including staffing, compensation and patient safety," the suit says.

According to the suit, the working environment became so intolerable that Kerwood submitted her resignation on April 17, 2006.

At around the same time, a position was posted for a restorative nurse at Wheeling Hospital's Bishop Hodges Continuous Care Center, which Kerwood applied for with the approval of Violi, the suit says. She was offered the position and started on April 24, 2006.

On May 5, 2006, Violi fired Kerwood from her new position.

According to the suit, Kerwood believes her forced resignation was a constructive discharge, which contravened West Virginia law.

The suit also says Mark Kerwood suffered a loss of consortium.

Because of the damages they suffered, the Kerwoods seek compensatory damages for humiliation, embarrassment, degradation, emotional and mental distress, anxiety, annoyance and inconvenience suffered by them and punitive damages.

Attorney Nicolas A. Wininsky is counsel for the Kerwoods. The case has been assigned to Judge James Mazzone.

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