Man says Peacemaker Properties lawsuit in state court violates his civil rights

By Kyla Asbury | Mar 31, 2017

MARTINSBURG – A man is suing Peacemaker Properties and others after he claims a lawsuit against the gun range owner in Berkeley Circuit Court violates his civil rights.

Ben Goldstein and Dianne Goldstein; and Peacemaker National Training Center LLC also were named as defendants in the suit.

Peacemaker Properties owns an approximately 500 acre parcel of land in which Peacemaker Training operates a firearm range and approximately 90 percent of the range property is in Berkeley County, while the other 10 percent is in Frederick County, Va., according to a complaint filed March 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.

David N. Atherton claims in 2015, the Goldsteins filed a lawsuit in Berkeley Circuit Court against Peacemakers for nuisance and, on March 4, 2016, the Peacemaker defendants filed a motion to dismiss, however, the judge refrained from ruling and still has not ruled on the issue.

Atherton claims the Goldsteins maneuvered their discovery strategy “deep into the realm of politics when their counsel issued discovery requests … seeking all communications and affiliations between the Peacemaker Group and the National Rifle Association.”

“The Peacemaker Group objected to this scope of discovery based on its tenuous relationship to enjoyment of real property, but the court ratified … findings by a special discovery commission … permitting review of all communications between the NRA and Peacemaker group,” the complaint states.

The Goldsteins’ discovery strategy is conspicuously unrelated to their nuisance cause of action, according to the suit.

Atherton claims he is a member of Peacemaker Group, has purchased goods and services from the Peacemaker Group, has brought guests to the range, has communicated with the group and has otherwise interacted with the group to a substantial degree.

The plaintiff also legally owns firearms, practices with firearms and holds licenses to possess firearms and firearms equipment, including a concealed carry permit, among other things, according to the suit.

Atherton claims the discovery condoned by the court in the Berkeley Circuit Court action will reveal information related to Atherton’s membership status, firearms use, firearms possessed by him, training techniques known by him, equipment possessed by him, licensure information, confidential identifying information and other confidential and sensitive information.

Berkeley Circuit Court has refused to permit members of the Peacemaker Group to intervene prior to the discovery acquisition of the Goldsteins, according to the suit.

Atherton claims the defendants are violating his civil rights, including his right to bear arms and freedom of association.

The Goldsteins’ actions are also an abuse of process and an interference with contract, according to the suit.

Atherton is seeking compensatory and punitive damages; a temporary restraining order preventing any discovery that identifies him and other members of the group and their activities, weapons, equipment and other information; and a permanent injunction preventing discovery of the same information. He is being represented by M. Keith Blankenship of Da Vinci’s Notebook of Bristow, Va.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number: 3:17-cv-00030

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