CHARLESTON – Four lawsuits involving age discrimination at GreenWood Inc. have been removed to federal court.
The original summons and complaint were filed in Kanawha Circuit Court on. Nov. 17. GreenWood was served on Nov. 21 and Kenny Steen was served on Nov. 28, according to the four notices of removal filed on Dec. 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
Federal court is the proper venue for the lawsuits because there is diversity of citizenship between the parties and because the amounts in controversy exceeds $75,000, according to the notices.
While GreenWood is authorized to do business in West Virginia, its state of charter and location of its principal place of business is South Carolina. Steen is also a citizen domiciled on South Carolina.
“Accordingly, there is complete diversity of citizenship in this civil action,” the notices state.
The defendants dispute the merits of the plaintiffs’ entitlement to any recovery in these actions and, by filing the notices, do not waive any defenses that may otherwise be available to them, according to the notices.
“Without waiving this position, and in light of the allegations set forth in [the] Complaint[s], Defendants have a good faith belief that competent proof exists that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.00, thus exceeding the jurisdictional requirement specified in 28 U.S.C. § 1332,” the notices state.
The lawsuits were filed by Pablo A. Falcon, Daniel Bush, Dennis Graham Holloran and Daniel Lee Morris, who were employed at GreenWood as electricians and were laid off on May 15 for lack of work, according to four complaints.
The plaintiffs claim they were all over the age of 40 when they were laid off and that the defendants retained the employees under the age of 40 with less experience than the plaintiffs.
At the time that the plaintiffs were laid off, they were told that when work improved they would be called back, according to the suits.
The plaintiffs claim the defendants have been advertising for electricians, but they have not been called back to employment.
The defendants’ lay off was based on the plaintiffs’ ages and not loss of work, since the defendants continued to retain employees that were under the age of 40 and with less work experience, according to the suits.
The plaintiffs claim the defendants engaged in age discrimination against them.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Mark W. Carbone of Carbone & Blaydes.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case numbers: 2:17-cv-04588, 2:17-cv-04589, 2:17-cv-04590, 2:17-cv-04591