West Virginia Record

Sunday, December 15, 2019

WVU seeks to dismiss whistleblower lawsuit

By Kyla Asbury | Jun 8, 2016

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MORGANTOWN – West Virginia University is asking the court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a former procurement officer who alleged he was fired for raising concerns about practices.

WVU filed a motion to dismiss on June 6, denying any wrongdoing and claiming that Mark Stewart filed the lawsuit under the wrong law.

In his initial complaint, Stewart filed under claims of whistleblower law, however, in his amended complaint, those claims were omitted.

The university argues that the whistleblower law is the only remedy in which public employees can sue for retaliation and wrongful discharge.

In his lawsuit, Stewart claims that prior to accepting employment at WVU, he had a long and esteemed career in purchasing and procurement in both the private and public sectors and he possessed knowledge of federal and state purchasing and procurement regulations, according to a complaint filed March 4 in Monongalia Circuit Court.

Stewart claims when he started employment at WVU, he began observing unlawful and unethical activity within the Procurement, Contracting and Payment Services Department.

Even though he expressed his concerns and disapproval of the unlawful and unethical conduct, his concerns and complaints were disregarded and he was ostracized from duties within his employment and was often chastised and ridiculed in response to his reporting and expressing his well-founded objections to WVU and Department practices, according to the suit.

Stewart claims he was also denied promotional opportunities and employment benefits that he was entitled to or that were received by other employees who did not report waste and wrongdoing.

Stewart is seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Sean W. Cook of Meyer Ford & Glasser.

WVU is represented by Bryan R. Cokeley and Julie A. Moore of Steptoe & Johnson.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 16-C-132

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Organizations in this Story

West Virginia UniversitySteptoe and Johnson LLPMeyer Ford & Glasser, PLLCMonongalia Circuit Court