CHARLESTON – Four police officers are suing the City of Nitro and King’s Way Christian Church after they claim there is asbestos in the police department building that the city has been aware of for nearly a decade.
Timothy Jarrell, Richard Foster, Ronald Clay and Mikel Clay are members of the Nitro Police Department and were retaliated against for their complaints about the building being filled with asbestos, according to four complaints filed Aug. 24 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
The officers claim an adverse employment action was taken against them in that their method of accruing vacation time reduced without legal right or just cause.
“Such action was retaliatory in nature for [their] complaints about [their] unsafe work conditions, named the presence of deadly asbestos in the offices of the Nitro Police Department, the presence of which has been known to the City of Nitro since at least 2008,” the complaints state.
The plaintiffs claim they were subjected to a hostile work environment by constantly referring to them as the “Fab Four” when they were only concerned with their safety and were exercising their legal rights to complain about the exposure.
As a result of the illegal and retaliatory adverse employment action, the officers sustained lost wages, embarrassment, humiliation, emotional distress and will continue to do so in the future, according to the suits.
The officers claim the City of Nitro is vicariously liable for the acts of its employees, including Police Chief Steve Walker and Mayor Dave Casebolt.
King’s Way Christian Church, the owner of the police department building, had a duty to maintain its premises in a reasonably safe condition and failed to do so, according to the suit.
The officers are seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest and medical monitoring. They are being represented by Scott H. Kaminski of Kaminski Law PLLC.
The cases are assigned to Circuit Judges Charles King, Louis Bloom, Carrie Webster and Jennifer Bailey
Kanawha Circuit Court case numbers: 16-C-1301, 16-C-1302, 16-C-1304, 16-C-1305