State DOH sued for man's death

By Kyla Asbury | Dec 1, 2011

CHARLESTON -- A mother and daughter are suing the West Virginia Department of Transportation-Division of Highways after they claim the department is responsible for their family member's death.

On Sept. 20, 2010, Robert E. Fleece was working for the defendant and was standing on a narrow platform at the rear of a dump truck and was raking gravel that was being dumped out of the truck, according to a complaint filed Nov. 2 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Wanda Fleece and Leslie Swink claim Robert Fleece was ejected from the truck, over a chain at the back of the dump truck and onto the roadway when the driver backed up the truck and raised the dump truck bed.

Robert Fleece was pronounced dead on arrival at War Memorial Hospital in Berkeley Springs, according to the suit.

Wanda Fleece and Swink claim the defendant is liable for Robert Fleece's death because it created an unsafe working condition that presented a high risk and strong probability of serious injury or death.

The defendant caused Robert Fleece's physical injury, anguish, pain and suffering prior to his death, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages for Robert Fleece's wrongful death. They are being represented by Allan N. Karlin, Jane E. Peak, Sarah W. Montoro and Eric S. Black.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis H. Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-1959

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