CHARLESTON -- A former adjunct professor is suing Mountain State University after she claims she was retaliated against based upon the perception that she was informing students regarding the university’s problems.

Former university president Charles H. Polk was also named as a defendant in the suit.

Dr. Michelle Winters was an adjunct professor of nursing for the defendants from October 2006 until January, according to a complaint filed Sept. 6 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Winters claims on several occasions, she was asked to teach various courses, but was removed from the courses weeks into teaching them.

During her employment with MSU, Winters was aware that MSU’s School of Nursing accreditation was in jeopardy and was also aware that all faculty members were instructed not to discuss the accreditation problems with students of the university, according to the suit.

Winters claims on more than one occasion she was approached by students asking about potential problems with the accreditation and she only revealed to them what information was public at the time.

The defendants breached their contract with Winters, which caused her to suffer economic and non-economic loss, as well as loss to her professional reputation, according to the suit.

Winters claims the defendants retaliated against her based upon their perception that she informed students when requested regarding problems with the school’s accreditation and without cause or justification, terminated her employment.

The defendants’ actions were willful, wanton and reckless and caused Winters embarrassment, humiliation, loss of professional reputation and emotional distress, according to the suit.

Winters claims the defendants retaliated against her based upon their perception that she informed students when requested regarding problems with MSU’s nursing school.

Winters is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Gregory B. Chiartas.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-1810

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