CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Department of Transportation-Division of Highways has filed a lawsuit against West Virginia Paving following the four lawsuits filed by West Virginia cities last week against the asphalt company for inflating asphalt prices.
The DOT lawsuit also alleges that the paving companies created a de facto monopoly and charged the cities and the DOH 40 percent, and sometimes more, for asphalt and paving supplies than it should have been charging.
The complaint was filed Oct. 14, just two days after the cities of Charleston, Parkersburg, Beckley and Bluefield filed theirs.
The DOH claims that West Virginia Paving acquired at least 15 asphalt plants that had previously competed against each other for bids in the state.
The lawsuit notes that that West Virginia Paving has more than 80 percent of the market share in the Charleston, Bluefield, Parkersburg and Beckley areas.
The four cities’ lawsuits were filed as class action lawsuits and listed West Virginia Paving; Southern West Virginia Paving Inc.; Southern West Virginia Asphalt Inc.; Kelly Paving Inc.; Camden Material LLC; American Asphalt & Aggregate Inc.; American Asphalt of West Virginia LLC; Blacktop Industries and Equipment; and John and Jane Does 1-25 as defendants.
The cities claimed that the defendants illegally inflated the cost of asphalt, forcing cities to pay up to 40 percent more than they should have.
The Charleston complaint alleged that the defendants’ “brazen statewide monopolization scheme in West Virginia, which has illegally inflated the cost of asphalt, the primary commodity used in building and repairing roads, parking lots, driveways, recreation courts and airport runways…and other miscellaneous products such as roofing.”
The defendants’ scheme unlawfully forced the class to pay at least 40 percent more for asphalt, inflated the defendants’ market share to over 80 percent in each class area and illegally extracted millions of dollars in overpayments from the class, according to the suit.
West Virginia Paving released a statement, calling the allegations in the lawsuits blatantly false and that the bulk of the price changes were directly related to the cost of the transportation and raw materials.
The DOH and the cities are represented by Benjamin L. Bailey and Michael B. Hissam of Bailey & Glasser LLP.