CHARLESTON – Similar to the one against them in circuit court, a delay is working to the advantage of two Kanawha County judicial officers in a civil case against them in magistrate court.

Earlier this year, Nicholas Loan and Mortgage of Summersville, filed a civil suit in Kanawha Circuit Court against Theodore R. "Ted" Dues Jr. and his wife, Mona. The pair work for the court system in Kanawha County as a mental hygiene commissioner, and juvenile referee, respectively.

In its suit filed in January, Nicholas alleges the Dues are in arrears $67,893.03 for loans they took out in 2004 for a 2001 Infiniti QX4 and a 1989 Mercedes-Benz 420 SEL. In its suit, Nicholas alleges the Dues committed fraud in the use of the vehicles when they converted an insurance check meant to pay for damages to the Infiniti for their own personal use, and losing possession of the Mercedes.

In their reply, the Dues deny the allegations.

The suit has been dormant for the last seven months as Kanawha Circuit Judge Irene C. Berger, after recusing herself from the case after it was first assigned to her, has not referred it to another judge after judges Jennifer Bailey Walker and Paul Zakaib Jr. recused themselves.

Since that time, the Dues have been named as defendants in a civil suit in Kanawha Magistrate Court by Capital State Bank. According to court records, though the case was filed on Aug. 17, it was sent back to Mapother and Mapother, a Louisville, Ky., law firm representing Capital State Bank, as they did not enclose enough money to cover the filing fee.

In West Virginia, magistrate courts handle civil suits under $5,000. Depending on the amount in dispute, the fee to file a suit ranges from $50 to $70 plus an additional $60 in court costs.
Calls to Mapother and Mapother were referred to Michelle Reynolds concerning how the firm overlooked the fee, and if they intended to refile the case. Reynolds was unavailable for comment, and did not return repeated telephone calls.

Despite that, another financial institution has filed a suit against Mona Dues.

According to court records, Oliphant Financial in Sarasota, Fla., with the assistance of Buffalo attorney James B. Atkins, brought suit against Mona for $1,710.50 on Sep. 25. Oliphant is the assignee of a MasterCard Dues opened with Bank First/Compu Credit on Oct. 30, 2007.

Court records show the last payment Dues made on the card was on July 16, 2004. Oliphant is seeking the outstanding balance on the card, plus applicable interest.

Dues, court records show, was served notice of the suit on Oct. 8. By law, she has 20 business days to answer the suit or face possible default judgment.

That happened in March when both she and Ted failed to reply to a suit filed against them in December by Andrews Floor and Wallcovering for an unpaid bill of $2086.68 of new flooring installed in their South Charleston home in December 2005.

Neither Mona nor Ted Dues were available for comment on the respective suits against them.

Kanawha Magistrate Court, Case Nos. 07-C-2791 (Capital State Bank) and 07-C-3502 (Oliphant)

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