Huntington Sanitary Board settles two suits for $170,000

By Lawrence Smith | Oct 26, 2012

HUNTINGTON – Two lawsuits against the Huntington Sanitary Board have been settled for nearly $200,000.


HUNTINGTON – Two lawsuits against the Huntington Sanitary Board have been settled for nearly $200,000.

Records show on March 8 and May 24 lawsuits Wayne Friday and Michael A. Hanley filed separately in 2010 against HSB alleging racial discrimination, and wrongful termination, respectively, came to a close. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by The West Virginia Record, HSB disclosed it agreed to pay $170,000 to settle them.

In his suit, Friday alleged he was twice passed over for a foreman’s position. Both times, he claimed HSB hired a white employee without the necessary qualifications.

Also, Friday alleged HSB management refused to take action against employees who made derogatory comments about his race.

According to the settlement, HSB and city of Huntington - which was named as a co-defendant in the suit - agreed to pay Friday $150,000 through their respective insurance carriers, Trident and Chartis. HSB paid the lion’s share of $142,500.

The settlement contained a confidentiality clause prohibiting both sides from discussing it. Also, in exchange for HSB paying the mediator’s fees, Friday agreed never to apply for employment with either HSB or the city.

According to his suit, Hanley alleges he was fired in 2008 at the insistence of then HSB Vice Chairman James Ashworth who accused him of vandalizing his car. Hanley was never charged with a crime.

Following his termination, Hanley maintains his position was filed by someone under 40. Also, HSB immediately cancelled his health insurance coverage which resulted in his wife, Angela, who was a co-plaintiff in the suit, developing anxiety, hypertension and stress.

According to the settlement, HSB via Trident, paid the Hanleys $20,000, and the mediator’s fees and costs. In addition to a confidentiality clause, both sides agreed not to make disparaging remarks about each other.

Currently, two lawsuits, including another for wrongful termination in Wayne Circuit Court, are pending against HSB.

In August, Bobby Pennington alleged he was let go from HSB in December 2010 for failing to maintain a Huntington residence. According to his suit, HSB management had no such policy when he was hired.

In April, Dr. Larry Caserta, and his wife, Katrina, alleged an improperly installed sewer line behind their home on Inwood Drive caused the hillside to cave in the year before. As a result, the Casertas alleged they incurred unnecessary expense in hiring a contractor to repair their backyard and the hillside.

A trial date in the Casertas case is scheduled for next November.

Cabell Circuit Court case numbers 10-C-357 (Friday) and 590 (Hanley)

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