WINFIELD – A Kanawha County woman is suing a horse boarding and training ranch for allegedly failing to provide minimum wages and overtime pay.
Plaintiff Stacie Belcher filed a lawsuit on Jan. 7 in Putnam Circuit Court against Taylor Ranch LLC and Woodrow Taylor Jr. over claims that the defendants violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and failed to pay reimbursements during her time as an employee.
Belcher says she worked for the ranch as an assistant horse trainer from December 2013 to August 2014. She claims she often worked 80 hours a week and was given a salary of $300 a week.
During her employment, she says, she was injured on Feb. 4, 2014, when a horse threw her off and caused her to break her collarbone. Belcher alleges, however, that she was not given any time off and that her injuries were not covered by workers' compensation.
She claims she asked the defendants to pay for her medical bills but was denied. She also claims the defendants stopped paying her the $300 a week that had been promised and that she was not reimbursed for expenses incurred while employed at the ranch.
The defendants then misclassified Belcher as an independent contractor to avoid paying payroll taxes, the suit alleges. She claims she suffered monetary loss, consequential and coincidental damages, compensatory damages, and emotional and mental distress.
She is suing for compensatory damages for unpaid overtime and minimum wages, and she seeks an injunction against the defendants from engaging in unlawful acts. She also wants the defendants to be assessed additional civil penalties, punitive and additional compensatory damages, court costs and fees, pre- and post-judgment interest, and any other relief determined by court.
She is being represented by Kristina Thomas Whiteaker and David L. Grubb of The Grubb Law Group in Charleston.
Putnam Circuit Court Case number 16-C-2