West Virginia Record

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Lawsuit over landscaping for the Greenbrier Classic settled

By John O'Brien | Feb 11, 2013

BECKLEY – The company that helped renovate the Old White Golf Course at the Greenbrier resort has settled claims that it is owed $200,000 for work it performed in preparation of a PGA event.

Lester George and George Golf Design sued the Greenbrier Hotel Corp., Jim Justice and James C. Justice Companies in October 2010, three months after the inaugural Greenbrier Classic. The complaint said GGD was owed $139,885 for work it performed on the course and another $60,000 for writing a book titled “The History of the Old White Golf Course.”

An amended complaint alleged Justice committed defamation in the days after the lawsuit was filed. Justice publicly said GGD performed “sub-par work.” He said the material used in flowerbeds was at a pH level toxic to plants, so the plants died and the Greenbrier had to replace them all.

Aspen Corp. also sued the Greenbrier, alleging it failed to pay $1.275 million. That case was settled in April.

Mediator A. Andrew MacQueen notified the court that the matter between GGD and the Greenbrier was settled, and U.S. District Judge Irene Berger entered a dismissal order on Feb. 7. Terms were not disclosed.

On Nov. 26, attorneys for GGD asked Berger to sanction the defendants. GGD claimed Justice sent a letter to one of its witnesses threatening fraudulent legal process.

“Throughout this litigation, Defendants have demonstrated a willingness to disregard the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure…” the motion says.

“Defendants have acted in bad faith by filing a specious motion accusing Plaintiffs and their counsel of the most reprehensible conduct – fraud upon the court – without any factual or legal support…

“Each of these actions by Defendants was taken in hopes of gaining a tactical advantage in this litigation at whatever the cost. Now, Defendants have raised the stakes even higher…”

The motion says the Greenbrier sent a letter to John Tinney, an attorney for GGD and Aspen, threatening legal action against Aspen. It claimed Aspen was required to pay third parties involved in the landscaping project, and that GGD was one of those third parties.

“Further, the letter asserts that Aspen is obligated to indemnify Defendants for claims from those third parties,” the motion says.

“In this case, Defendants’ Nov. 16, 2012, letter threatens to file a motion to enforce the settlement agreement and to seek sanctions against Aspen for allegedly failing to comply with it… As such, it is clear that Defendants have threatened Aspen with legal process and this threat was fraudulent.”

Berger never got a chance to rule on the motion. A recent amended scheduling order had a final settlement conference marked for June 6 with a jury trial to begin 11 days later.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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