Man blames DHHR for house fire

by Kyla Asbury |
Feb. 14, 2012, 1:48am

CHARLESTON -- A man is suing the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources for a fire that destroyed his house.

Helen J. Hernandez, who has been placed in the WVDHHR's care, and Michael J. Lewis, the Secretary of the WVDHHR, were also named as defendants in the suit.

On Nov. 1, 2008, Hernandez started a fire on Mark Scarberry's property, which destroyed his house, according to a complaint filed Jan. 26 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Scarberry claims because Hernandez was placed in the care of Emma Ruth Childers, a caregiver who was the employee of Lewis and the WVDHHR, the defendants are responsible for the house fire.

The defendants are responsible for the negligent, gross negligent and intentional and unintentional acts of its wards and those persons it is guarding, according to the suit.

Scarberry claims the defendants had a duty to restrict and prevent Hernandez from destroying his property.

Because of Hernandez's actions, the defendants are responsible for Scarberry's losses and damages of his house and his property, according to the suit.

Scarberry is seeking compensatory damages with interest. He is being represented by C. Page Hamrick.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-177

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