HUNTINGTON – Two former paramedics are suing Cabell County Emergency Medical Services for wrongful termination of employment.

A. Gordon Merry III, director of Cabell County Emergency Services; Steve Murray; the Cabell County Commission; Nancy Cartmill; Anne Yon; and Bob Bailey were also named as defendants in the suit.

On Feb. 16, 2011, Tonya J. Damron and Christopher S. Kitts, who were paramedics for Cabell EMS, were called out to attend to an individual who may have been intoxicated at a local gas station and was believed to be unconscious, according to a complaint filed Feb. 27 in Cabell Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs claim prior to EMS arrival, police officers had found the individual and thought him to be intoxicated and unresponsive, but never took a Field Sobriety Test, nor was a blood sample taken from the individual.

At all times, Damron and Kitts followed protocol, asked the proper questions and evaluated whether or not he needed medical assistance, according to the suit, and ultimately, the individual needed no assistance and refused medical treatment.

The plaintiffs claim the individual was alert and responded to the questions they asked and pursuant to EMS policies, they could not take him to the hospital emergency room because he refused treatment, so they transported him to his home, which was also pursuant to EMS policies.

On the same night, Murray suspended the plaintiffs because he claimed that Terry Phillips, the individual the plaintiffs took home, became belligerent and started a fight at another gas station, resulting in police involvement, and that Phillips had assaulted someone, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim Murray became angry, separated them, stated that Damron was lying and claimed that both plaintiffs had breached EMS protocol and policies.

Upon information and belief, this event never took place and Phillips was never involved in another altercation or incident with the police or anyone else, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim during their suspension, the defendants claimed to have engaged in an investigation into the matter when in reality, the defendants conducted a fictitious investigation, and through the fictitious investigation, terminated their employment.

The defendants’ termination of the plaintiffs’ employment violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act and other West Virginia law, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim they followed protocol and because the individual refused medical assistance, they transported him to his home. However, Murray suspended the plaintiffs on that same night, claiming they had breached protocol and policies, according to the suit, and then terminated their employment on Feb. 28, 2011.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre-judgment interest. They are being represented by Abraham J. Saad of Abraham J. Saad, PLLC; and Ashley Lockwood of Lockwood & Lockwood.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 13-C-134

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