Injury suit against Glenville State set for August

By Lawrence Smith | Feb 9, 2012

This motel in downtown Glenville is where Dale Norman alleges he suffered third degree burns when taking a bath during an overnight stay in October 2008. (Photo by Lawrence Smith) CHARLESTON – A Gilmer County man's lawsuit against Glenville State College for injuries he sustained at a motel the College owns is slated for trial later this summer.

This motel in downtown Glenville is where Dale Norman alleges he suffered third degree burns when taking a bath during an overnight stay in October 2008. (Photo by Lawrence Smith)

CHARLESTON – A Gilmer County man's lawsuit against Glenville State College for injuries he sustained at a motel the College owns is slated for trial later this summer.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster has set Aug. 20 as the trial date in the case of Dale J. Norman v. Glenville State College, et. al. In his suit filed Oct. 4, 2010, Norman, 53, a Glenville resident, alleges he sustained third-degree burns to his feet when he attempted to take a bath two years earlier at the Conrad Motel.

According to the College's Web site, the Glenville State College Housing Corporation, a non-profit arm of the College that aids in helping it acquire and construct property, purchased the 42-room building on July 1, 2008, from Susie Kidd Shipe, and her uncle, Jack Conrad, whose family first started a restaurant in 1926, and expanded their business into the motel three years later. According to the Gilmer County Assessor's Office, GSCHC purchased the motel for $500,000.

GSCHC is named as co-defendant in Norman's suit.

The reason GSCHC acquired the motel was to provide housing for law enforcement officers in Glenville for training conducted by the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. However, rooms would still be available to the public especially in June during the annual Folk Festival.

Records show, both GSC and GSCHC filed their separate answers to Norman's suit Nov. 12, 2010. With the exception of GSCHC admitting Norman did receive burns to his feet, and the hot water heater was not in his room, both it and GSC denied his allegations.

Also, they both asserted defenses, among other things, that they breached no duty owed to him, and any injuries he sustained were the fault of someone else including himself. Additionally, GSC asserted immunity from civil suits as a defense.

Furthermore, along with their answers, both GSC and GSCHC filed cross claims against each other. Both said should they be found liable for Norman's injuries, the other should be made to compensate for its share of the negligence.

According to the Secretary of State's Web site, GSC President Peter B. Barr is also president of GSCHC, whose office is located in the College's business office in Bennett Hall. Aside from being both president of GSC, and GSCHC, Barr is the managing member of Gilmer Housing Partners, a for-profit corporation located at the home the College provides for him on One Pioneer Way.

Seven months before Norman filed his suit against GSC and GSCHC, GHP was named as a co-defendant in a separate and unrelated breach of contract suit over the Rivers' View subdivision it developed along W.Va. Route 5 between the Otterbein United Methodist Church and the Gilmer Federal Corrections Institution. It was dismissed from the suit a year later.

Records show David J. Mincer and Benjamin P. Warder with the Charleston law firm of Bailey and Wyant represent GSC while Debra Tedeschi Varner with the Clarksburg law firm of McNeer Highland McMunn and Varner represents GSCHC.

A mediation session was scheduled for Sept. 13. However, Norman's attorney Doug Miley said he was postponed due to the need to conduct additional discovery.

Kanawha Circuit Court case 10-C-1767

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