WILLIAMSON – A Mingo County man alleges that his disability was not accommodated and that he was wrongfully terminated from his position as a deputy sheriff.
Christopher Newsome filed a complaint Sept. 12 in Mingo Circuit Court against Mingo County Commission and West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services, Law Enforcement Professional Standards Program alleging that they violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff left hand is absent due to amniotic banding. The suit states that the plaintiff was hired and sworn in as a sheriff's deputy and began on-the-job training until he could attend training with the State Police Academy. He alleges he had medical evaluations done that did not note any limiting conditions that would preclude him from training at the academy.
The suit states that in September 2014, the medical unit physician with the state police department wrote that the plaintiff's left had could interfere with his ability to perform essential job tasks. A specialist determined in October 2014 that the plaintiff should partake in the West Virginia State Police Academy basic course with accommodations.
The suit states the plaintiff was later told in November 2014 that he could not be accepted for training, and he was ultimately discharged by the Mingo County Commission.
The plaintiff holds Mingo County Commission and West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services, Law Enforcement Professional Standards Program responsible because the defendants allegedly failed to provide reasonable accommodations by failing to accept him for the basic police training program and to serve as a police officer and wrongfully terminated him from his employment.
The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks reinstatement as deputy sheriff with benefits, award for punitive damages and all other relief, including additional training and education. He is represented by Robert B. Kuenzel and J. Alexander Meade of Kuenzel Law PLLC in Chapmanville. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Miki Thompson.
Mingo Circuit Court case number 17-C-155