CHARLESTON -- A former employee is suing Appalachian Tire Products after he claims he was assaulted by another employee.

Steve Hellyer, an employee of Appalachian Tire Products; Nick Stricklin, the vice president of Appalachian Tire Products; and Mike Smith, an employee and the safety manager of Appalachian Tire Products were also named as defendants in the suit.

On April 20, 2011, Lyle E. Bowyer was hired by the defendants as a commercial salesman, according to a complaint filed Aug. 20 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Bowyer claims shortly after he began his employment with Appalachian, Hellyer was rehired as a serviceman in the garage, however, he was eventually to take over as service manager.

Shortly after Hellyer was rehired, Bowyer began receiving various verbal assaults from Hellyer, according to the suit.

Bowyer claims on Nov. 22, 2011, he was approached by Hellyer, who verbally assaulted him and became more agitated.

During the verbal assault, Bowyer attempted three times to walk away, according to the suit, and the third time he attempted to walk away, Hellyer physically punched him in the chest with great force.

Bowyer claims he complained about the ongoing verbal assault and physical battery to his store manager, who in turn, contacted Smith and Stricklin.

Bowyer was concerned for his health, safety and general welfare, especially since he had an artificial, mechanical aortic in the area when he was struck by Hellyer, according to the suit.

Bowyer claims the assault and battery was caught on a video surveillance camera on the premises and he wanted to file criminal charges against Hellyer, so that he would quit harassing him at work.

Stricklin asked Bowyer not to file criminal charges against Hellyer because if Hellyer had to be laid off work or fired, the service area would be down one man, according to the suit.

Bowyer claims he reluctantly agreed to not file criminal charges against Hellyer because of Stricklin’s request.

Stricklin decided to write-up both Bowyer and Hellyer for horseplay and not take any disciplinary action against Hellyer, according to the suit.

Bowyer claims in December he was diagnosed with a blood clot and an aortic aneurysm in his aortic arch in the exact spot when he was struck by Hellyer.

In February, Bowyer feared for his health, safety and well-being, so he tendered his resignation to the defendants, according to the suit.

Bowyer claims the defendants violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act and caused him to suffer lost future earnings; impairment of earning capacity; emotional and mental anguish; humiliation and embarrassment; and other damages.

The defendants were negligent and caused Bowyer to suffer injuries, according to the suit.

Bowyer is seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Richard E. Hardison Jr.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Charles E. King.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-1667

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