CHARLESTON - A Charleston man has added a claim of civil right violations to his pending lawsuit against his former employer and the city of South Charleston.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Charles E. King Jr. on March 26 granted a motion by Parkersburg attorney William Summers to amend Billy Arnold Shaffer’s original complaint, filed Aug. 16, 2011, against Dow Chemical and the city.

In his suit, Shaffer, 61, alleges Dow, four of its employees, two South Charleston police officers and Assistant Kanawha County Prosecutor Jennifer Meadows all played a role in causing him to take an unnecessary trip through the criminal justice system two years earlier.

Specifically, Shaffer alleges on Aug. 17, 2009, officers Pat C. Rader and Robert Yeager executed a search warrant of his home. The warrant, he says, was a result of an investigation Dow security specialist Mary Byrd, Dow investment recovery specialist Jim Jones II, Dow employee Jeff Means and Dow employee Cliff Samples requested SCPD make into his alleged “unlawful and felonious stealing of miscellaneous property.”

Following his subsequent arrest, records show Shaffer waived his preliminary hearing. Nearly a year later he was indicted by the Kanawha County grand jury on one charge each of embezzlement and grand larceny.

According to the suit, the indictment was later dismissed due to the “unlawful” and “reckless” manner in which Rader and Yeager served it. Though he does not provide specifics, Shaffer says in the course of conducting the search of his home, the pair “illegally confiscated personal property… without authority of justification to take various items.”

Efforts to have the property returned subsequent to dismissal of the indictment have been to no avail, Shaffer avers in his suit. Specifically, he says Meadows is largely to blame as she “did not take possession and protect the… property during the underlying criminal case.”

Along with the new one of civil rights violations, Shaffer makes claims against all the defendants for conversion and outrage. Also, he specifically makes claims against the city, Rader and Yeager for trespass, and wrongful termination against Dow for forcing him into earlier retirement and denying him a severance package.

Because of the newly asserted civil rights claims, Molly Underwood Poe - co-counsel for the city, Rader and Yeager - filed a notice of removal to U.S. District Court on May 28. Prior to the addition of the civil rights claim, the city, Rader and Yeager filed their answer to Shaffer’s suit in which they denied his allegations, and asked that that it be dismissed.

The case is now assigned to Judge Thomas E. Johnston.

U.S. District Court, case number 13-cv-12450
Kanawha Circuit Court, case number 11-C-1368 (original civil) and 10-F-801 (Shaffer indictment)

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