POINT PLEASANT –- A Mason County EMS supervisor is accused in two lawsuits of sexually harassing a dispatcher at the county's 911 center, and injuring a motorcyclist while operating an ambulance.
John Bryant is named as a co-defendant in separate lawsuits filed by Amy Hunt and Richard D. Knopp in Mason Circuit Court. In their respective complaints filed in Mason Circuit Court on Dec. 21 and 23, Hunt and Knopp allege Bryant's actions in 2008 resulted in them incurring emotional and physical injuries.
According to her suit, Hunt was hired as a dispatcher for the 911 center in March 2008. For the next 18 months, she worked a rotating 12-hour shift with Bryant as her supervisor.
A month after she was hired, Hunt alleges she "experienced a sexually hostile work environment" at the center. During her shifts, Hunt alleges she dealt with Bryant "discussing sexual activities, telling off-color jokes, unnecessarily touching [her], commenting on [her] and other females' physical attributes [and] displaying sexually suggestive pictures."
On an unspecified date, Hunt alleges she reported Bryant's conduct to Chuck Blake Sr., the center's director. After telling him several times, Blake told Hunt to "'put [her complaints] in writing.'"
According to Hunt, Blake took action in her complaints, but not against Bryant. She alleges in January 2010, Blake informed her she would not only be working straight midnight shifts for the next three months, but also performing custodial duties at the center.
The change in shift, and addition of custodial duties, Hunt alleges was in retaliation for lodging her complaints against Bryant. According to her suit, Hunt resigned from the center in February.
Hunt makes claims against not only Bryant, but also Blake and the Mason County Commission for harassment, retaliatory discharge and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Hunt alleges by Bryant creating a hostile work environment, and Blake not doing anything about it, she not only "develop[ed] significant physical stress which manifested in debilitating physical injuries," but also suffered a "loss of wages, employment benefits, career opportunities [and] professional reputation."
In his suit, Knopp alleges on Dec. 27, 2008, he was on his Suzuki motorcycle behind one of the county owned ambulances in Point Pleasant. While stopped on Valley Drive, a one-way, westbound street near the intersection of Jackson Avenue, Knopp alleges the ambulance, which was "not responding to an emergency call," backed up, and struck his motorcycle.
According to Knopp, Bryant was driving the ambulance, and was cited by police for improper backing.
Like Hunt, Knopp alleges as a result of Bryant's "negligent ... and reckless conduct," he's suffered "mental/physical harm" and "severe and permanent injuries." These injuries have resulted in him enduring "lost income past, present and future."
Knopp's suit names the Mason County Emergency Ambulance Authority, the Commission and John Does 1, 2 and 3 as co-defendants. The Authority, and 911 center are separate entities under the Commission, but share the same facility on Lucas Drive in Point Pleasant
Hunt seeks unspecified damages including front and back pay, interest, court costs and attorney fees, and is represented by Gallipolis, Ohio attorney Adam R. Salisbury. Knopp also seeks unspecified damages, interest, court costs and attorney fees, and is represented by Michael N. Eachus also of Gallipolis.
Both cases are assigned to Judge David W. Nibert
Mason Circuit Court, case numbers 10-C-157 (Hunt) and 158 (Knopp)