On Oct. 28, 2015, at 5 a.m., Gary L. Hefner II was working as a shift supervisor at the defendant’s facility in Marlinton when he attempted to monitor a patient in the secure facility and tripped on loose carpet just inside the exit door, according to a complaint filed March 10 in Pocahontas Circuit Court.
Hefner claims the defective carpet was a safety hazard well known to the facility supervisor, as well as the CEO and the Human Resources director.
The plaintiff and other employees had brought the defective carpet to the defendants’ attention at numerous monthly staff meetings beginning in July 2014.
Hefner claims the defective carpet was so dangerous that the inmate occupying the room at whose exit door he had fallen had used duct tape himself to attempt to ameliorate the dangerous condition.
The plaintiff was permanently disabled from doing any work that requires a normally functioning and pain-free arm, which means he is foreclosed from working as a licensed practical nurse, which he had worked as for nine years, according to the suit.
Hefner claims he is becoming progressively more numb on the entire right side of his body and now, as a direct result of the injury, he suffers from urinary incontinence.
The plaintiff also experiences pressure in the base of his skull that radiates into his throat and right shoulder, which was never there before the accident, according to the suit.
Hefner claims he experiences depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and suffers constant embarrassment as a result of the defect in his arm and hand.
As a result of the injury, Melissa Hefner has now assumed virtually all the household chores that Gary Hefner did before the injury and is constantly exhausted from the demands of supplementing the household income through out-of-home work and then accomplishing all of the household chores, including mowing the yard and repairing the house, according to the suit.
The Hefners claim OSHA safety rules and regulations were violated and caused Gary Hefner’s injury.
The Hefners are seeking actual damages in the amounts of $580,000 for lost wages and future earnings; $850,000 for loss of past and future enjoyment of life; and $500,000 for pain and suffering. Melisa Heftner is also seeking $500,000 for loss of consortium. They are being represented by Richard Neely and Michael Callaghan of Neely & Callaghan; and Christopher Davis of Wooton Davis Hussell & Ellis.
The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Dent.
Pocahontas Circuit Court case number: 17-C-08