CHARLESTON – Three lawsuits were filed against Lincoln County Sheriff Ken Farley after the plaintiffs claim he was negligent in allowing a deputy to obtain information under false pretenses.

Chief Deputy J.J. Napier and an unknown, unnamed person were also named as defendants in the suits.

On July 17, 2015, Doe and Napier used their official offices to violate the fundamental rights of Keith Ellis, Joseph Ellis and Dewey Woodrum, according to three complaints filed July 8 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

The plaintiffs claim in 2013, Keith Ellis filed a civil rights suit against Napier and others arising from the horrific beating of Keith Ellis in Hamlin’s Town Hall. The civil action was settled by virtue of payment of a sum of money to Keith Ellis in excess of $100,000.

On July 17, 2015, Napier used his position as chief deputy to obtain under false pretences, private and protect information about the plaintiffs from the FBI database by pretext that the information was being sought to enhance a legitimate law enforcement investigation, according to the suits.

The plaintiffs claim the data was actually obtained by Napier to assist him in his defense of Keith Ellis’ civil rights suit and the information was to serve as an act of intimidation against them.

Napier also similarly fraudulently obtained protected, private data relating to the plaintiffs after discovering Woodrum was going to testify at the civil trial as to Napier’s abusive, criminal conduct visited upon Keith Ellis, according to the suits.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants violated the U.S. Constitution and were negligent.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are being represented by Michael A. Woelfel of Woelfel & Woelfel LLP.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 2:16-cv-06161, 2:16-cv-06162, 2:16-cv-06163

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