CHARLESTON – A motion to transfer and consolidate all related cases has been filed so that the seven lawsuits against West Virginia Paving will be in Kanawha Circuit Court.
The motion was filed on Oct. 26 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
There are a total of seven lawsuits filed against West Virginia Paving so far by the cities of Charleston, Beckley, Huntington, Bluefield and Parkersburg, the West Virginia Department of Transportation-Division of Highways and the Kanawha County Commission in various circuit courts across the state.
Attorneys from Bailey & Glasser, who represent all of the plaintiffs, filed the motion to transfer and consolidate on behalf of the City of Charleston.
The main reason for consolidating the cases is to avoid unnecessary costs and multiple trials for the same issues.
The motion states that scheduling seven depositions of each defense witnesses in each of the seven civil actions will be incredibly time consuming and difficult.
The lawsuits list West Virginia Paving Inc.; Southern West Virginia paving Inc.; Southern West Virginia Asphalt Inc.; Kelly Paving Inc.; Camden Materials LLC; American Asphalt of West Virginia LLC; American Asphalt & Aggregate Inc.; and Blacktop Industries and Equipment as defendants.
The suits allege that the defendants have been inflating prices of asphalt and creating a de facto monopoly.
The suits allege that the paving companies charged the cities and the DOH 40 percent, and sometimes more, for asphalt and paving supplies than it should have been charging.
West Virginia Paving acquired at least 15 asphalt plants that had previously competed against each other for bids in the state, according to the suits.
The lawsuits note that that West Virginia Paving has more than 80 percent of the market share in the Huntington, Charleston, Bluefield, Parkersburg and Beckley areas.
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 suits.
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 plaintiffs represented by Benjamin L. Bailey and Michael B. Hissam of Bailey & Glasser LLP.
West Virginia Paving, Southern West Virginia Paving, Southern West Virginia Asphalt and Camden Materials are represented by former West Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Booth Goodwin.
American Asphalt and Aggregate, American Asphalt of West Virginia and Blacktop Industries and Equipment Company are represented by Charles Johnstone.