CHARLESTON -- Three former employees are suing Augusta Engineering & Design Inc. and Edward Schaefer, the company's president, for failure to pay wages in three separate suits.

Steve Courts, of Charleston; Paul Perry, of Cross Lanes; and Thomas B. Putney, of Winfield, all claim that the defendants failed to pay wages due to them and also engaged in fraudulent and otherwise unlawful conduct, according to the three complaints filed Jan. 7 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Putney and Perry claim the defendants unlawfully converted a portion of their wages that were supposed to be withheld from their paychecks and deposited into their retirement accounts. Courts claims the defendants breached their contract in which they agreed to repay him for expenses incurred for his work duties.

Courts began working for Augusta on Dec. 8, 2006, and was paid $40 per hour; Perry began March 1, 1999, and was paid $44 per hour; and Putney began June 1, 2000, and was paid $36 per hour. All three men also earned vacation and sick pay.

In November 2008, the men and other employees were informed that Augusta would cease its business operations. The last day the men worked was Nov. 7, 2008 and they received their last paychecks on Nov. 21. They claim their paychecks were late and did not include amounts for accrued vacation and sick pay.

The men are seeking to be awarded damages for unpaid wages and liquidated damages. Perry and Putney are also seeking damages for retirement contributions. They are all being represented by Kristina Thomas Whiteaker and David L. Grubb of the Grubb Law Group.

Courts' case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey. Perry's case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster. Putney's case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr.

Kanawha Circuit Court case numbers: 10-C-40, 10-C-41, 10-C-42

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