CHARLESTON – A Belle man is suing Excel Modular Scaffold and Leasing Corporation after he claims he was laid off from work after he was injured.
Ira Jeffers and Billy Hamm, employees of Excel, were also named as defendants in the suit.
Kenton Imel was employed by the defendants as a carpenter at the DuPont plant in Belle where Jeffers served as Excel’s general foreman and Hamm was the site superintendent, according to a complaint filed Nov. 16 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Imel claims during his employment he was never subject to any disciplinary actions and always received promotions and positive reviews.
On Feb. 13, Imel suffered a compensable work-related injury while attempting to move a scaffold and after he was hurt, he was given a letter of reprimand by Excel for his alleged failure to tear down the scaffolding before moving it, even though he was instructed to move it while it was still fully constructed, according to the suit.
Imel claims the tear-down procedure had never been taught to him, nor was it ever required of him prior to the date of his injury.
The day after Imel’s injury, a safety meeting took place in which employees at the Belle plant were ordered to tear down scaffolding in the future before moving it, according to the suit.
Imel claims Scott Blankenship, Excel’s regional safety manager, took him to Dr. Alan Young for treatment and he was treated on Feb. 13, 15 and 17 and was then given a work slip indicating no restrictions, however, Young verbally told him he was restricted from work.
The defendants asked Imel to not file a Workers’ Compensation claim, and when he returned to work, he was directed to sit in an office for 10 hours per day since he was unable to perform manual labor, according to the suit, and even though Young had given Imel an arm sling to wear, Hamm instructed him not to wear it on DuPont property.
Imel claims he was eventually laid off from work on March 22 allegedly due to a reduction in workforce.
The defendants owed a duty of reasonable care to Imel and breached that duty by causing his injuries, according to the suit.
Imel claims since he was instructed to not file a Workers’ Compensation claim, he neither applied for, nor received, Workers’ Compensation benefits.
The defendants’ conduct resulted in the wrongful/retaliatory discharge of Imel directly as a result of his work-related injury, which violates West Virginia common law and statutes, according to the suit.
Imel is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by JB Akers and S. Brooks West.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-2291