CHARLESTON – A lawsuit accusing Brink’s Incorporated of libel and slander has been removed to federal court.
On Sept. 9, Brink’s removed the lawsuit of Dustin Holston to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia in Charleston. The case was originally filed Aug. 20 in Kanawha County Circuit Court.
The removal notice says there is diversity citizenship between Holston, of West Virginia, and Brink’s, which is domiciled in Virginia and headquartered in Texas.
It also says the amount in controversy exceeds a $75,000 threshold for removal. The notice was filed by Anna M. Dailey of Dinsmore & Shohl in Charleston.
Holston began working as the Charleston City Manager for Brink’s in January 2012, his complaint says.
Holston claims prior to that time he was employed in the banking industry, where he had a positive work record, and, after training for approximately one month, Holston began his managerial duties at the Charleston location of Brink’s in February 2012.
Upon starting at the Charleston branch, Holston discovered a large discrepancy, approximately $2 million in excess funds, located at the branch and the money could not be property accounted for, according to the suit.
Holston claims when he discovered the $2 million in excess funds, he immediately notified his area supervisors and the supervisors instructed him to place the $2 million in a plastic container and “put trash bags on top of the container to make it appear non-descript.”
The $2 million belonged to someone other than Brink’s and despite this, Holston was instructed to place the money in a non-secure location, according to the suit.
Holston claims he was instructed to remove funds from the $2 million as needed to do things such as “force balance” other customer accounts at the Charleston Brink’s location.
Brink’s supervisory personnel told Holston “this is how to do it, eventually we figure it out,” according to the suit.
Holston claims in May 2012 it was discovered the Charleston branch was actually approximately $200,000 short in customers’ cash, versus $2 million in excess and Holston and his staff, at the direction of area supervisors, completed the reconciliation without informing Brink’s clients.
During that time period, Holston’s supervisors told him several multi-million dollar customer accounts were up for renewal in the first quarter of 2012, according to the suit, and Holston was told by his supervisors to keep the customer balance issues quiet specifically in relation to customer renewals.
Holston claims by the summer of 2012, he was busy helping to open a new branch in Poca and in July 2012, Mike Amsfeldt, the Regional Director of Security of Brink’s, was on location to assist with the move from Charleston to Poca.
Around that same time, Sun Trust Bank, one of Brink’s customers, filed a claim for missing money, according to the suit.
Holston claims he told Amsfeldt about the “force balancing” and other activities that had occurred in the previous months and assumed Brink’s security knew about the issue since he had previously alerted his area supervisors.
Amsfeldt told Holston to have no idea that any of the force balancing or other activities had occurred and alerted Bruce Woerner, Brink’s Director of Security, according to the suit.
Holston claims on Aug. 8, 2012, Woerner made a surprise visit to the Charleston branch and when Holston expressed concern about his job, Woerner told him there had been wrongdoing within the company, but that Holston was not culpable.
Later that day, Holston received a phone call from Executive Vice President of Operations Bill Vecherelli, who informed him the Charleston branch tellers were approximately one week behind on work for one of Brink’s local retail customers, according to the suit.
Holston claims he stayed until approximately midnight bringing the customer’s account into balance and did not have to “force balance” the account.
The next morning, Holston was suspended from work, and on Aug. 22, 2012, he was fired, according to the suit.
Holston claims after his termination, he sent dozens of applications to area employers before obtaining a job approximately eight months later.
The defendant committed libel by documenting false reasons for his termination and slandered him, according to the suit.
Holston is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by JB Akers of Akers Law Offices PLLC.
From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org.