HUNTINGTON – Two additional lawsuits involving the Cabell County Emergency Medical Services –- one for wrong termination, and the other for personal injury –- have been settled totaling over $100,000.
The Cabell County Commission, CCEMS' parent agency, on July 19 revealed it, through its insurance carrier Scottsdale Insurance, paid former CCEMS paramedic Robert Jobe $50,000 to settle his 2007 wrongful termination suit. In his suit, Jobe alleged CCEMS terminated him after he began experiencing back troubles.
The information was ordered released by Cabell Circuit Judge Jane Hustead four days earlier in response to a Freedom of Information Act suit West Virginia Record contributor Lawrence J. Smith filed in May 2010 seeking the settlement's details. During the hearing, Steve Nord, the Commission's attorney, said it was prohibited from disclosing any details absent a court order due to a confidentiality agreement it reached with Jobe as part of the settlement.
Also, Nord said attempts to get Jobe to waive the confidentiality agreement with the assistance of his attorneys, J. Michael Ranson, Cynthia Ranson and George Marrone, were made difficult due to him moving out of the Huntington area. In his letter, Nord said Jobe's "was a vigorously contested employment case" and throughout it "the County adamantly denied any liability to" him.
Two months prior to the hearing in Smith's FOIA suit, the Commission reached a settlement in a personal injury suit James M. Beach filed last year. In his suit, Beach, 66, of Ona, claims he suffered a fractured femur when paramedics dropped him while attempting to transfer him from his wheelchair to his bed on Sept. 6, 2008.
In response to a recent FOIA request, the Commission revealed it agreed to settle Beach's suit for $67,000. Beach was represented by Michael C. Walker with the Huntington law firm of Green, Ketchum, Bailey, Walker, Farrell & Tweel while the Commission's insurance carrier retained Duane D. Ruggier II with the Charleston law firm of Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown and Poe.
The Jobe and Beach suits were among three filed against the Commission or CCEMS in a four-year period. Three months before Jobe filed his wrongful termination suit, the family of Kristy Crawford filed suit alleging paramedics were responsible for the death of she and her son, Jayden.
Though a settlement was reached a year later in September 2008, details of it were not made public until November 2010 in response to a FOIA lawsuit Smith filed to compel its release. The Commission, via Scottsdale Insurance, agreed to pay Kenny Crawford III and Constance Crawford, Kristy's parents, and Pamela Prout, her sister, a combined $3.6 million.
Cabell Circuit Court case numbers 07-C-1122 (Jobe), 10-C-32 (Beach) and 10-C-368 (Smith FOIA)