Health, family ties result in Mason man's termination from PSD, suit alleges

By Lawrence Smith | May 5, 2011

The Mason County Public Service District office in Point Pleasant. (Photo by Lawrence Smith)

POINT PLEASANT – A former employee of the Mason County Public Service District alleges he was abruptly and improperly fired due to health, and family reasons.

MCPSD, and Randy Grinstead are named as co-defendants in six-count wrongful termination suit filed by Warren Kimble. In his suit filed April 21 in Mason Circuit Court, Kimble, 56, of Milton alleges Grinstead,55, used not only his lingering health problems from a prior on-the-job injury, but also his brother's current legal troubles as reasons to get rid of him.

According to his suit, Kimble started work at MCPSD in 1995. Though he does not provide specifics, he worked as a laborer.

Seven years later, Kimble maintains he had a heart attack while on the clock that put him on medical leave for five months. Without providing specifics, Kimble alleges upon returning to work, Grinstead required him "to perform physical tasks in direct violation of [his] medical release and directives."

Prior to his heart attack, Kimble alleges Grinstead would complain about his "'home life'" interfering with his work. Those complaints came to a head in May 2009 when Kimble's brother, Curtis Cole Kimble, was arrested on 31 counts of sexually abusing two girls while working as a teacher at Hannan High School.

According to Warren Kimble's lawsuit, one of those girls is his wife's niece.

Curtis, 59, also of Milton, was later indicted during the January 2010 term of the Mason grand jury on 10 counts of sexual abuse in the first degree, and three counts of sexual abuse by a custodian stemming from incidents that occurred between 1980 and 1990. Currently, he is free on $84,000 bond, and is slated for trial on May 31.

Shortly after Curtis' arrest, Warren says Grinstead fired him. When he was terminated on June 17, 2009, Kimble alleges Grinstead was unequivocal in stating the reasons were due to "placing fellow employee's health at risk, his age and his health."

However, he maintains another, unstated reason was due to "the negative publicity surrounding Curtis Kimble's arrest."

In addition to wrongful termination, Kimble makes claims against MCPSD and Grinstead for creating a hostile work environment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of the state Human Rights Act. As a result of their actions, Kimble alleges he's suffered not only "emotional and mental distress, humiliation, anxiety, embarrassment, depression, aggravation, annoyance and inconvenience," but also has suffered "lost wages and benefits [and] out-of-pocket expenses" as he was been unable to find a job since he was fired.

Kimble seeks unspecified damages, court costs and attorney fees. He is represented by Barboursville attorney Jon D. Hoover.

The case is assigned to Judge Thomas C. Evans III.

Mason Circuit Court case number 11-C-40

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