Kanawha deputy sues after stepping into hole

By Cara Bailey | Jan 25, 2008

CHARLESTON - A Kanawha County Deputy Sheriff filed a suit against the owner of property in St. Albans after he was injured when he stepped in a large hole.

Michael Morris filed the suit Jan. 7 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Ralph E. Blackwell and Blue Creek Gas Co.

According to the suit, Morris received a call about a suspect in the Caldwell Road area of St. Albans on Jan. 12, 2006. Upon entering Caldwell Road, Morris drove his vehicle up a gravel road and parked to get out of his vehicle.

"As he exited his vehicle, (Morris's) right foot went several feet down into a hole beside the gravel road," the suit says. "This hole was hidden by grass, weeds, limbs, and other debris."

Morris claims he suffered serious injuries when he stepped in the hole, which is the fault of the defendants.

According to the suit, the property is owned by Ralph Blackwell, but is leased to Blue Creek Gas Co., who has a gas well on the property.

Polling Logging was hired by either Blackwell or Blue Creek to remove trees from the property, which altered the natural lay of the landscape and created large holes, the suit says.

Morris claims the holes created a reasonably foreseeable risk of harm to others.

Morris seeks compensatory and punitive damages to cover his medical bills and other pain and suffering.

Attorney Lonnie C. Simmons is representing Morris. The case has been assigned to Judge Tod Kaufman.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 08-C-31

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