MARTINSBURG — A trial has been set in a lawsuit involving a worldwide manufacturer of stone wool insulation and the Jefferson County Board of Education.
The trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 28, 2020, according to a scheduling order filed June 7 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia by District Judge Gina M. Groh.
Roxul USA Inc., which is doing business as Rockwool, was looking in 2016 and 2017 for a new location for a $150 million insulation manufacturing facility in the United States and decided to build its facility in Ranson after county officials offered it tax incentives.
Rockwool began preparation of the site in November 2017 and spent more than $47 million permitting, constructing and extending utilities to its new facility.
However, sometime after that, the county board decided it no longer supported the facility and threatened to terminate the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement it had entered into with the company, according to the suit.
Rockwool claims the board then threatened to condemn its property if it did not sell it to the board.
The company claims condemnation is "an awesome and intrusive power" in which potential abuse is boundless if left unchecked.
"For that reason, there are significant checks on the power to condemn," the complaint states.
Rockwool claims the board's attempt to condemn its property was improper and unlawful.
Rockwool is seeking an order temporarily restraining the board from taking any action in condemning its property and an order declaring the board's condemnation of Rockwool's property violates federal constitutional protections relating to substantive due process. Rockwool is represented by James A. Walls, Joseph V. Schaeffer, James E. Simon and James C. Walls III of Spilman Thomas & Battle.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia Case number: 3:19-cv-00054