Lawsuit against DHHS alleges assault

By Kyla Asbury | Sep 17, 2013

CHARLESTON - A woman is suing the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Services-Bureau for Behavioral Health & Health Facilities for injuries she allegedly sustained when she was assaulted by a patient.

William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital was also named as a defendant in the suit.

On Sept. 29, 2012, Marilyn Troutman was a uniformed nurse employed by Sharpe and was performing her work duties when she was injured, according to a complaint filed Aug. 27 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Troutman claims Sharpe had actual knowledge and/or constructive knowledge that its employees would be subjected to working with patients who have known histories of violence and are unpredictable, yet Sharpe failed to implement additional restraints or safety measures in an effort to prevent attacks on its staff.

Sharpe had subjective realization and appreciation for the dangerous, unsafe, defective and hazardous working conditions and the conditions had an extremely high degree of risk and strong probability of causing serious injury and/or death, according to the suit.

Troutman claims she sustained serious permanent injuries when a known violent forensic patient viciously assaulted her with the intent to do bodily harm, stating, "I am going to kill you" while she was performing her work-related duties.

Had another patient and male worker not arrived to assist Troutman in pulling the attacker off of her, she could have, and believes she would have, been killed as a result of the vicious and senseless attack, according to the suit.

Troutman is seeking compensatory damages. She is being represented by Erika Klie Kolenich and Christina Joann Rumbach of Klie Law Offices PLLC.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis H. Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-1626

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