CHARLESTON - Two businesses have filed a suit against the West Virginia Board Racing Commission, seeking damages that occurred when the board suspended their racing permits.
Charleston attorney Benjamin Bailey filed the suit Aug. 22 in Kanawha Circuit Court on behalf of Smith Greyhounds, a breeding company in Oklahoma, and Flying Eagles/Miner Kennel, located in Wheeling.
George Sidiropolis, the commission chairman, and Dr. Bryan Mitchell and Fred C. Peddicord, both commission members, also were named as defendants in the suit.
According to the suit, the occupational permits of Smith and Miner were suspended March 10, 2007, due to alleged involvement with falsifying health records of greyhound racing dogs. However, the suit says kennel owner Paul Carbonneau committed the acts on his own.
"None of the plaintiffs had any involvement with or control or influence over Carbonneau's actions or omissions with respect to the greyhounds he brought to or helped or ran at Tri-State Racetrack," the suit says.
The suit says Sidiropolis ordered the judges to issue the suspension notices despite the absence of any facts or circumstances.
In addition to being barred from racing, the Racing Commission impounded the dogs in their cages 24 hours a day, and did not permit them to leave their cages for exercise, medical attention or any other reason.
"Due to their physical attributes or configuration, disposition and training, racing greyhounds require regular exercise and respond adversely to being caged on a continual basis," the suit says.
The suit claims negligence against the commission, claiming the health, stability and physical attributes of the greyhounds were impaired to the point that some are not fit to race.
On threat of legal action, the Racing Commission issued an order rescinding the suspension notices, the suit says.
Sidiropolis, "harboring personal animus toward one or more of the plaintiffs, acted outside of his authority," in ordering the immediate suspension of the permits, the suit says.
In the seven-count suit, the plaintiffs seek compensatory damages up to the limit of the commission's liability insurance policy and punitive damages against Sidiropolis, in an amount to punish him and deter like conduct.
The case has been assigned to Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-1785