Ohio man says conversations improperly taped, distributed

By Lawrence Smith | Aug 7, 2009

CHARLESTON - An Ohio businessman alleges that officials inside one of West Virginia's regional jails conspired with people outside the jail to make unauthorized recordings of telephone calls he had with an inmate, and turn them over to his ex-wife.

Gregory Windland, a Belpre, Ohio, resident and owner of Tri-State Concrete Pumping, filed suit against the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority on July 27 in Kanawha Circuit Court. In his complaint, Windland alleges that officials at the North Central Regional Jail in Greenwood were responsible for transcripts of conversations he had with an inmate there in 2005 getting into the hands of his ex-wife, Geraldine, who apparently used it as leverage for their divorce.

According to court records, Windland had conversations with a former employee, who was a temporary inmate at NCRJ, from April to June 2005. The name of the employee/inmate is not named in court records "due to concerns for retribution."

Soon thereafter, Windland alleges his ex-wife, Geraldine, came into possession of either written or audio transcripts of those conversations. He maintains that jail officials leaked transcripts to an unknown number of individuals and businesses in both West Virginia and Ohio outside the jail.

"The identification of those persons," Windland says in his suit, "will be obtained through discovery." Until then, his suit names John Does 1-5 as well as business entities XYZ and corporations 1-5 in both states as co-defendants.

However, Windland alleges that one or more of the John Does who acquired the transcripts do so at the instructions of Geradline's lawyer Charles Postlewaite. Due to the terms of their divorce, he is not naming either Geraldine or Postlewaite as co-defendants "at this time."

Nevertheless, Windland is alleging that all the defendants currently named, including Terry L. Miller, the Authority's executive director, have damaged both he and his business through their actions. His suit makes claims for invasion of privacy, eavesdropping and wiretapping and negligent training and supervision.

While Windland acknowledges jail officials have the right to monitor, and even record, all calls to and from the jail, it is to serve law enforcement and security purposes only.

He is seeking unspecified damages, and attorney fees.

Records show the case was originally filed in Doddridge Circuit Court in 2006. However, Judge Robert L. Holland dismissed it without prejudice on July 25, 2008, due to all suits against state agencies customarily filed in Kanawha Circuit Court, and the failure of Authority to receive the required 30-day pre-suit notice.

Windland is represented by John E. Triplett Jr. with the Marietta, Ohio, law firm of Theison Brock.

The case is assigned to Judge Jennifer Bailey.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 09-C-1354

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