Man claims wrongful arrest in false theft accusation

By Annie Hunt | Dec 31, 2015

WHEELING – A Pennsylvania man alleges that he was falsely arrested and imprisoned on theft charges by his former employer, Lightning Energy Services.

Douglas Smith II filed charges Nov. 24 in Ohio Circuit Court against Lightning Energy Services LLC, Chief Financial Officer Tom Buck and CEO Charles Hamrick, alleging outrageous conduct, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, defamation and other counts.

According to his complaint, Smith had access to a company credit card as an employee of Lightning Energy Services to be used for entertaining representatives of drilling companies. It was legally understood that unapproved charges would be deducted from Smith’s pay. On Jan. 3 Smith charged two transactions to his company card, which were not approved by the defendant.

On Jan. 15, Smith provided notice to his employer that he would be resigning to accept another job offer. Smith claims the unapproved charges should have been deducted from his pay. Instead, the defendant averred to state police that Smith committed theft, and he was allegedly wrongly subjected to 60 days in prison, deprived of wages and robbed of his reputation as a drilling salesman. The complaint states that the charges were dismissed April 27 by Ohio Circuit Court.

Smith seeks compensation for pain and suffering, lost earnings, injury to reputation, punitive damages and interest. He is represented by M. Eric Frankovitch and William R. Kiefer of Frankovitch, Anetakis, Colantonio and Simon. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James P. Mazzone.

Ohio Circuit Court Case number 15-C-341

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