Yeager Airport, others hit with four more lawsuits over March landslide

By Kyla Asbury and Chris Dickerson | Nov 5, 2015

CHARLESTON – Four more lawsuits have been filed against Central West Virginia Regional Airport Authority for the landslide that occurred in March and caused damages.

Cast & Baker Corporation and Triad Engineering Inc. were also named as defendants in the suit.

In 2005, the airport authority began the project to extend the Yeager Airport runways, construct a safety barrier at the end of the runways and build and construct all appurtenances, drainage facilities and earthen fills for the extension project, according to four complaints filed in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Kenneth W. Carter, Debora K. Harrah, Robert L. Harrah II and Terry and Rosemary LeTart claim the airport authority hired Triad to investigate, design, inspect and advise the airport authority as to proper methods to build and construct the project and in a good and workmanlike manner and to develop the construction drainage for the project in such a way as to withstand the expected and possible earthen loads that would be exerted on the soil foundation, earthen fills and, in all respects, to design the project in such a way that the facility, including the earthen slopes, were stable and would not slip or develop landslides.

The design of the runway extension and safety barrier incorporated a steep slope, approximately 270 foot-tall mass containing 1.5 million cubic yards of earth ill material, which presented a foreseeable and dangerous imminent danger of serious harm to the plaintiffs if it developed into a landslide, according to the suits.

The plaintiffs claim the extreme slope of the foundation fill was directly adjacent to Keystone Drive and the slope placed various residences and structures in harm's way.

The design of the project presented a high degree of risk of harm to the plaintiffs and their properties in proximity to the airport authority's runway expansion, according to the suits.

The plaintiffs claim although the defendants were made aware of the damage to areas outside of the construction zone that were caused by negligent and defective design and construction practices, the defendants continued to negligently re-design, supervise and construct the extension, in spite of the already documented damage to areas outside the construction zone.

The defendants were informed of the defects of the negligent design and construction, including violations of state and federal standards in the runway construction, and failed to take corrective action to assure the stability of the fill and runway extension and the homes below, according to the suits.

The plaintiffs claim as a result of the negligent and careless acts and conduct, the defendants caused a massive landslide above Keystone Drive and the plaintiffs were trapped and/or obstructed from reasonable access to their property, were placed in fear, were caused extreme emotional distress, annoyance and inconvenience due to rising floodwaters from the landslide and damaged their properties.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Marvin W. Masters and Roger A. Decanio of the Masters Law Firm LC.

The cases are assigned to Circuit Judges Charles E. King, Carrie Webster, James C. Stucky and Jennifer Bailey.

Earlier this year, another couple filed the first lawsuit over the incident.

Kanawha Circuit Court case numbers: 15-C-1791, 15-C-1792, 15-C-1793, 15-C-1794

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