Racism suit against Pineville partially dismissed, remanded to Wyoming County

By Kyla Asbury | Nov 4, 2013

BECKLEY - A lawsuit against the Town of Pineville filed by a former employee alleging racism has been partially dismissed and remanded back to Wyoming Circuit Court.

The lawsuit was initially filed in Wyoming Circuit Court on May 23 and was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Beckley on Aug. 23.

On Oct. 30, a memorandum opinion and order was filed by District Judge Irene C. Berger.

"The court finds that the Town of Pineville's partial motion to dismiss should be granted. First, the plaintiff's allegations in the complaint are insufficient to sustain this court's jurisdiction... Second, even assuming the remaining allegations to be true, the plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted with respect to the alleged violations..." Berger states in her memorandum opinion and order.

The case was dismissed with prejudice from federal court and the remaining state law claims were remanded back to Wyoming Circuit Court.

Kenneth "Butch" Warner was employed by the Town of Pineville in a supervisor capacity for work crews in the Town, according to a complaint filed May 23 in Wyoming Circuit Court.

Warner, an African-American, claimed on May 25, 2011, his employment was terminated based on his race.

While he was employed by Pineville, Warner was targeted for employee discipline, drug testing and otherwise given negative treatment leading to his termination based on his race, according to the suit.

Warner claimed Pineville caused him humiliation, public embarrassment, racial discrimination and other psychological distress.

Warner was seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He was being represented by Timothy P. Lupardus.

The Town of Pineville was represented by Johnnie E. Brown and Jill M. Harlan of Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe PLLC.

The case was assigned to District Judge Berger.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Beckley case number: 5:13-cv-22204

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