CLARKSBURG – Three former officers are suing Taylor County Commission after they claim they were wrongfully terminated, in violation of the state of U.S. constitutions.
Sheriff Terry Austin was also named as a defendant in the suit.
Joseph C. Barcus, James D. Shackleford and Peter L. Shipp were employed by the defendants until Dec. 31 , according to a complaint filed June 19 in Taylor Circuit Court and removed to federal court on July 10.
The plaintiffs claim they were actively involved in the campaign for the office of sheriff on behalf of Terry Skinner in 2016.
Austin defeated Skinner in the November election, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim they had heard rumors that Austin intended to fire them, but he assured them that they should not be concerned about this because Austin knew that they did a good job in their performance of their duties.
However, in December, they were informed that their employment was being terminated effective Dec. 31, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim the defendants violated the state and U.S. constitutions.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are being represented by Walt Auvil of the Employment Law Center; and Robert M. Bastress Jr.
The defendants are represented by Wendy E. Greve of Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number: 1:17-cv-00122