Kingsford manager says he shouldn't be party to lawsuit

By John O'Brien | Jun 6, 2013

CLARKSBURG – A lawsuit over an allegedly broken wood waste agreement has been removed to federal court, where a Kingsford Manufacturing Company employee has already filed a motion to dismiss.

On May 21, Tipple Enterprise’s lawsuit against Kingsford and Thomas J. Bonner was removed from Harrison County Circuit Court to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.

In it, Tipple says Kingsford is in breach of a Dec. 3, 2010, agreement that stipulated Tipple would supply 24,000 tons of wood waste in the following year to Kingsford.

In the year following Dec. 3, 2011, Kingsford also did not purchase the wood waste, Tipple says.

“Bonner… selected other providers of wood waste to the detriment of the plaintiff despite the express language in the ‘Wood Waste Agreement,’” the complaint says.

Tipple Enterprise is a Philippi company. Its complaint is signed by Gregory Schillace of Schillace Law Office in Clarksburg.

“The actions of the defendants were and are reckless, intentional, malicious, willful, oppressive and otherwise reflect a conscious disregard for the right of the plaintiff pursuant to the contractual agreement, for which the defendants are responsible for punitive damages,” the complaint says.

The complaint also seeks compensatory damages, as well as damages for annoyance, aggravation and inconvenience.

On May 28, Bonner filed his motion to dismiss.

“The claims set forth by Plaintiff in its complaint are claims of breach of contract and tortious interference,” the memorandum in support of the motion says.

“However, Plaintiff has not alleged that Defendant Bonner was a party to the contract at issue. As such, as a matter of law it cannot sustain a breach of contract action against Defendant Bonner.”

Also, because Bonner is a manager at Kingsford, Tipple can’t sustain a tortious interference action against him, the memorandum says.

Bonner claims he was fraudulently joined as a defendant for the purpose of attempting to defeat diversity jurisdiction and keep the case in state court.

He and Kingsford are represented by J. David Bolen of Huddleston Bolen in Huntington.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at

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