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Hendrickson & Long achieves another victory for children, ensuring access to free, quality public education programs

Charleston, WV, United States, July 6, 2022 — Hendrickson & Long PLLC, along with national firm in Paul Hastings LLP and the Education Law Center, achieved a victory for two parent-clients and their families Wednesday, July 6, 2022, as Judge Joanna Tabit of the Circuit Court of Kanawha County granted West Virginia parents’ request to halt implementation of the state’s expansive new private school voucher law. The hearing in Beaver v. Moore resulted in Judge Tabit granting a preliminary injunction and permanently enjoining the program, which would have siphoned millions of public dollars from the state’s underfunded public schools to subsidize private education.

“West Virginia has a proud history of prioritizing quality public schools for all the state’s children, and that commitment is enshrined in our constitution,” said Jack Tinney, co-counsel for the parent plaintiffs and a partner at Hendrickson & Long in Charleston. “We could not stand by and allow the voucher law to undermine West Virginia students’ constitutional rights.”

The Beaver plaintiffs are public school parents challenging the private school voucher law under the West Virginia Constitution. The President of West Virginia’s Board of Education and the State Superintendent are courageously standing with the parents in support of their request.

The state defendants and pro-voucher lawyers from the Institute for Justice had asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit. Judge Tabit denied their requests.

“The judge clearly understood that the West Virginia Constitution does not allow for this voucher program,” said Tamerlin Godley, partner at Paul Hastings LLP, co-founder of Public Funds Public Schools, and lead lawyer for the case. “Stopping the voucher program was absolutely essential to protect the state’s students and their public schools.”

West Virginia’s 2021 voucher law authorizes the broadest voucher program in the nation, with eligibility for any student who attends public school for 45 days or is entering kindergarten, regardless of family income. Under the voucher law, the State deposits public funds in private accounts for use on a wide range of private education expenses. There are no accountability or quality safeguards. Over time, the law will force West Virginia taxpayers to subsidize all private and homeschooling in the state, totaling over $120 million a year.

In the Beaver lawsuit, the parent plaintiffs highlight the numerous ways the voucher law violates the Education Clause of the West Virginia Constitution. The Legislature has no authority to fund a separate system of private schooling that infringes on its ability to provide a “thorough and efficient system of public schools.” The voucher law also violates the State Constitution’s prohibition against “special laws” that treat similar people differently because it excludes voucher students from critical protections afforded public school students against discrimination based on disability, religion, or LGBTQ status.

“In my view, the Legislature has violated its constitutional level obligations regarding public education and funding by enacting House Bill 2013 for the Hope scholarship fund,” Judge Tabit stated in explaining her decision.

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About Hendrickson & Long PLLC

Over the past two decades, Hendrickson & Long, PLLC, has grown into a comprehensive, litigation-oriented law firm with attorneys and staff working out of its centrally located office in the heart of West Virginia’s capital city. Since its inception, H&L has established a superior and varied client base. The firm is counsel for individuals, local West Virginia businesses, national and international companies and is recognized as one of the most progressive legal establishments in the state. H&L has specialized experience and expertise in complex case management, the innovative use of technology, the coordination of multi-jurisdictional discovery efforts and document work, handling class-action litigation and the trial of consolidated cases. The firm’s attorneys have served as national counsel to Fortune 100 companies in industry-wide litigation.

MEDIA AND PRESS INQUIRIES

Direct all inquiries to Jack Tinney at jtinney@handl.com and 304-346-5500.

Hendrickson & Long continues fight for hurt children, families as new Miracle Meadows suits proceed

Charleston, WV, United States, June 7, 2022 — Hendrickson & Long PLLC, in an effort to hold those who hurt our children accountable, pushing new lawsuits forward recently against Miracles Meadows. R. Scott Long of Hendrickson & Long, PLLC, along with co-counsel Jesse Forbes of Forbes Law Offices PLLC and Brian Kent and Guy D’Andrea of Laffey, Bucci & Kent LLP in Philadelphia, Pa., succeeded in consolidating 14 cases alleging mental, sexual and/or physical abuse by former students against Miracle Meadows, meaning those 14 cases will all proceed in Kanawha County Circuit Court. Those 14 cases are included in the 25 cases of abuse against Miracle Meadows outstanding.

Previously, Long advocated for twenty-nine former students at the Miracle Meadows School in Salem, W.Va., who were also child victims of serious sexual and physical abuse, and settled their claims for a total of $51.9 million dollars following years of litigation against the school.

As alleged in the filed lawsuits, Miracle Meadows was a Christian boarding school for boys and girls, 6 to 17 years of age, who are experiencing difficulty relating in a positive way to family, school, church, or community. Specifically, Miracle Meadows enrolled boys and girls who were experiencing defiance, dishonesty, school failure, trouble with the law, spiritual disinterest, poor social skills, adoption issues and other behavior that is harmful to them and to others.

Some of the children, according to the lawsuits, were often sent to solitary confinement without bathrooms, forced to perform manual labor, sexually assaulted, chained to beds and deprived of food and water.

In August of 2014, police raided the facility and removed 19 children. As a result, Director of Miracle Meadows, Susan Gayle Clark, was arrested and pleaded guilty to child neglect, failure to report and obstruction of justice in February 2016. She was sentenced two months later.

Children and their families have continued to come forward since, thanks in part to changes in law that protect victims at Miracle Meadows. On March 25, 2020, Governor Jim Justice signed into law a bill allowing victims up to the Age of 36 or 4 years after discovery of the sexual assault or sexual abuse, whichever is longer, to pursue litigation against perpetrators and private organizations. Additionally, victims may now sue any person or organization which aided, abetted, or concealed the sexual assault or abuse. If a victim is in this new range up to the age of 36, the previous claim is revived until the victim, yourself or your loved one, turns age-36, even if previously denied. Hendrickson & Long is now helping those hurt with their claims in order to finally, and justly, attempt to hold institutions, like Miracle Meadows, institutional abusers, like Clark, and their enablers accountable.

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About Hendrickson & Long PLLC

Over the past two decades, Hendrickson & Long, PLLC, has grown into a comprehensive, litigation-oriented law firm with attorneys and staff working out of its centrally located office in the heart of West Virginia’s capital city. Since its inception, H&L has established a superior and varied client base. The firm is counsel for individuals, local West Virginia businesses, national and international companies and is recognized as one of the most progressive legal establishments in the state. H&L has specialized experience and expertise in complex case management, the innovative use of technology, the coordination of multi-jurisdictional discovery efforts and document work, handling class-action litigation and the trial of consolidated cases. The firm’s attorneys have served as national counsel to Fortune 100 companies in industry-wide litigation.

MEDIA AND PRESS INQUIRIES

Direct all inquiries to Scott Long at scott@handl.com and 304-346-5500.

Hendrickson & Long seeks justice for special needs child, family in suit against Holz (W. Va.) Teacher, KCBOE

Charleston, WV, United States, November 24, 2021 — Hendrickson & Long PLLC continues our pursuit of justice for the innocent, filing a lawsuit Tuesday, November 23, 2021, against Holz (W. Va.) special needs teacher Nancy Boggs and the Kanawha County Board of Education. David K. Hendrickson and Stephen E. Hastings of Hendrickson & Long, PLLC are proud to represent S.P. and S.P.’s family in attempting to correct a broken system and bring justice to those who victimize our community’s children.

S.P. is a special-needs child with Dandy-Walker malformation. She requires daily assistance with basic life functions, and was a special needs student at Holz Elementary School in Charleston, West Virginia. Boggs was S.P.’s teacher in a single-room setting.

Boggs, an employee of the Kanawha County Board of Education, was indicted on November 18, 2021 on 23 counts of battery and one count of verbal abuse of a non-communicative student.

“It’s a very tragic and very awful event in this young lady’s life,” Hendrickson told the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Tuesday. “and we’re just hoping that we can bring a little justice to the system.”

As alleged in the complaint, S.P. suffered physical and verbal abuse at the hands of Boggs on September 8th, 9th, 10th, 21st and 22nd of 2021. As a result, S.P. is alleged to have suffered injury and damages, including but not limited to physical abuse, emotional distress, humiliation, mental anguish and other damages.

Boggs was removed from the classroom on September 23, 2021.

Hendrickson and Hastings reserve the right to amend the complaint as more evidence comes to light. The West Virginia Legislature recently required cameras in “self-contained” special needs classrooms. Some alleged acts of Boggs stem from viewings of said video.

As reported by the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Hendrickson & Long has yet to be provided copies videos of S.P.’s classroom prior to September 8, 2021. County school systems are required to preserve video footage for 90 days at a time, allowing them and law enforcement to review back that far after an alleged incident.

Tuesday’s filing is an attempt to advocate for S.P., her family and other children who have faced similar alleged acts.

“It is awful to think that something like this could happen to any child, much less to our most vulnerable children,” said Hastings. “We look forward to helping the family in their pursuit of justice.”

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About Hendrickson & Long PLLC

Over the past two decades, Hendrickson & Long, PLLC, has grown into a comprehensive, litigation-oriented law firm with attorneys and staff working out of its centrally located office in the heart of West Virginia’s capital city. Since its inception, H&L has established a superior and varied client base. The firm is counsel for individuals, local West Virginia businesses, national and international companies and is recognized as one of the most progressive legal establishments in the state. H&L has specialized experience and expertise in complex case management, the innovative use of technology, the coordination of multi-jurisdictional discovery efforts and document work, handling class-action litigation and the trial of consolidated cases. The firm’s attorneys have served as national counsel to Fortune 100 companies in industry-wide litigation.

MEDIA AND PRESS INQUIRIES

Direct all inquiries to Stephen Hastings at shastings@handl.com and 304-720-5520.

7 Hendrickson & Long PLLC Lawyers Named to 2022 Best Lawyers® List

Charleston, WV, United States, August 20, 2021 — Hendrickson & Long PLLC is pleased to announce that 7 lawyers have been included in the 2022 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.

“Best Lawyers was founded in 1981 with the purpose of highlighting the extraordinary accomplishments of those in the legal profession. After three decades, we are proud to continue to serve as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals worldwide,” said Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer. “We are proud to continue to serve as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals worldwide.”

Best Lawyers has earned the respect of the profession, the media and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 75 countries.

Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers based on professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.

Hendrickson & Long PLLC would like to congratulate the following lawyers named to 2022 The Best Lawyers in America list:

  • Gene Bailey II – Construction Law and Litigation – Construction
  • Jeffry H. Hall – Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
  • David K. Hendrickson – Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, and Litigation – Environmental
  • Scott Long – Bet-the-Company Litigation and Commercial Litigation
  • David F. Nelson – Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, and Litigation – Insurance
  • Raj A. Shah – Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants
  • John H. Tinney, Jr. – Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

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About Hendrickson & Long PLLC

Over the past two decades, Hendrickson & Long, PLLC, has grown into a comprehensive, litigation-oriented law firm with attorneys and staff working out of its centrally located office in the heart of West Virginia’s capital city. Since its inception, H&L has established a superior and varied client base. The firm is counsel for individuals, local West Virgina businesses, national and international companies and is recognized as one of the most progressive legal establishments in the state. H&L has specialized experience and expertise in complex case management, the innovative use of technology, the coordination of multi-jurisdictional discovery efforts and document work, handling class-action litigation and the trial of consolidated cases. The firm’s attorneys have served as national counsel to Fortune 100 companies in industry-wide litigation.

MEDIA AND PRESS INQUIRIES

Direct all inquiries to Eric Arnold at earnold@handl.com or 304-414-4350.

H&L’s Long, Bailey respectively recognized as “Lawyer of the Year”​

*FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*

Charleston, WV, United States, August 19, 2021 — Hendrickson & Long PLLC attorneys R. Scott Long and Gene Bailey was recently recognized by Best Lawyers® as the 2022 “Lawyer of the Year” for Bet-the-Company Litigation (Long), and for Litigation – Construction (Bailey). These top-tier distinctions further solidify Hendrickson & Long’s Tier 1 Bet-the-Company Litigation firm in Charleston, West Virginia.

These three awards from Best Lawyers® demonstrate what Hendrickson & Long’s clients have known for over 25 years: when facing the prospect of complex, high-stakes litigation, Hendrickson & Long and its lawyers, including Long and Bailey, have been recognized as the go-to firm for the best results.

Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year,” making this accolade particularly significant. These lawyers are selected based on particularly impressive voting averages received during the peer review assessments.

Receiving this designation reflects the high level of respect a lawyer has earned among other leading lawyers in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism and their integrity.

In addition to the “Lawyer of the Year” award, R. Scott Long was also listed in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the following practice areas:

• Commercial Litigation

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.

ABOUT SCOTT LONG

Founding Partner R. Scott Long is a highly competitive litigator with the ability to relate to clients and juries alike. He and David K. Hendrickson started Hendrickson & Long, PLLC to establish a litigation boutique firm consisting of attorneys with true trial experience who are driven to obtain superior client results.

Throughout his extensive career, Scott has developed a reputation as a go-to civil litigator in West Virginia (WV). Scott serves both plaintiffs and defendants in his broad-based litigation practice, from individuals and privately held entities to Fortune 100 companies. Scott is also an astute mediator, as his experience as a litigator has made him a sought-after mediator by both the plaintiff and defense bars.

ABOUT GENE BAILEY

Gene Bailey brings distinguished academic, military, and professional experience to any matter along with strong national recognition as a top-notch attorney.

An honor graduate of the United States Air Force Judge Advocate General School. Gene focuses on construction law and construction law litigation, including fidelity and surety issues, health and safety matters, and construction defect and delay claims. His practice areas also include labor and employment law, business and commercial law, general civil litigation, personal injury and wrongful death, product liability, and toxic tort and chemical exposure. Gene is also a seasoned arbitrator and mediator.

ABOUT HENDRICKSON AND LONG, P.L.L.C.

Hendrickson & Long, P.L.L.C. is located in the heart of downtown Charleston, founded on the premise that a smaller team of highly skilled and experienced attorneys and staff who work well together can offer quality services, resources and expertise more efficiently and at far more competitive rates.

MEDIA AND PRESS INQUIRIES

Direct all inquiries to Eric Arnold at earnold@handl.com or 304-414-4350.

HENDRICKSON & LONG HELPS FORMER STUDENTS SETTLE ABUSE CLAIMS AT CLOSED WEST VIRGINIA BOARDING SCHOOL FOR RECORD $51.9 MILLION DOLLARS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FORMER STUDENTS SETTLE ABUSE CLAIMS AT CLOSED WEST VIRGINIA BOARDING SCHOOL FOR RECORD $51.9 MILLION DOLLARS

MEDIA CONTACT:  SCOTT LONG: (304) 346-5500, scott@handl.com

Twenty-nine former students at the Miracle Meadows School in Salem, W.Va., who were child victims of serious sexual and physical abuse, settled their claims for a total of $51.9 million dollars following years of litigation against the school.

The total settlement amount is believed to be a record for such cases in the state and was reached with the various defendants and finalized Oct. 27th.

The 29 former children were alleged to have suffered mental, sexual, and physical abuse by the adults who ran the Christian boarding school in Harrison County over a period of decades. The former students alleged that they suffered shocking abuse that included being chained and shackled to beds, kept in isolation rooms for weeks and months at a time, sexually assaulted, starved, forced to perform manual labor and routinely beaten.

The case was settled on behalf of the former students by Charleston attorneys Jesse Forbes of Forbes Law Offices PLLC and Scott Long of Hendrickson & Long, PLLC; along with Brian Kent and Guy D’Andrea of Laffey, Bucci & Kent LLP in Philadelphia, Pa.

Hendrickson & Long Attorneys Guy Bucci and Ashley Lynch were integral to building the victims’ case as well.

“The abuse suffered by these children would shock the conscious of any West Virginian,” said their attorney Jesse Forbes. “They were stripped naked, handcuffed, sexually abused and kept in a 5-by-8-foot room with a coffee can for a toilet. This is the stuff straight from a horror movie.”

Miracle Meadows School was founded in 1987, and it was advertised as a Christian boarding school for boys and girls 6 to 17 years of age “who are experiencing difficulty relating in a positive way to family, school, church or community or are experiencing dishonesty, school failure, trouble with the law, spiritual disinterest, poor social skills, adoption issues, and other behavior that is harmful to them and others,” according to the lawsuits.

Although authorities and law enforcement attempted to investigate Miracle Meadows for years, it became difficult to see those investigations to a conclusion as the alleged perpetrators were often brought to the school on work visas and would be sent back to their home countries before authorities could question them any time a complaint was made.

“I have spent years as a guardian ad litem for abused children in this state and I have never seen anything like this,” said Forbes, “These children were tortured in ways that people couldn’t even dream about in their worst nightmares, and the fact that it continued over so many decades is truly shocking.”

Longtime Charleston attorney and mediator Scott Long, who also represented the plaintiffs, described the case as complex from a standpoint of trying to obtain an appropriate level of compensation for the children.

“This settlement will finally bring justice to these innocent children, now adults, and hopefully allow them to begin to heal,” Long said. “The horrific abuse has come to an end but without setting aside money to provide these former children the healing services they desperately need their abuse would continue.”

The Miracle Meadows School in Salem, WV was shut down by authorities in 2014 due to allegations of physical and sexual abuse and serious neglect of students in the school.  The school’s director, Gayle Clark, was convicted of child neglect and failing to report in Harrison County, W.Va. and sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation. The Harrison County Sheriff’s department uncovered multiple allegations of sex abuse and physical assault at the school.

The school, founded by Clark and her husband, had operated as a boarding school targeting at-risk youth, including those with learning disabilities and behavioral disorders.

The case was styled as a consolidated action in L.B v. Miracle Meadows School, et al. Civil Action No. 17-C-146 and was filed in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County.  The Plaintiffs were represented by Charleston Attorneys Jesse Forbes of Forbes Law Offices, PLLC; Scott Long, Hendrickson & Long, PLLC; and Brian Kent and Guy D’Andrea of Laffey Bucci & Kent, LLP in Philadelphia, Pa.

HENDRICKSON & LONG OBTAINS FIRST COMPASSIONATE RELEASE IN WEST VIRGINIA (W. VA.).

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

On Friday, June 12, 2020, Jack Tinney of Hendrickson & Long, P.L.L.C., obtained the first compassionate release for a federal inmate in the Southern District of West Virginia.

Our client (“R.W.”) was sentenced to a 60-month term of imprisonment in June of 2018. He was incarcerated at the low-security federal correctional institution at FCI Elkton. During his incarceration, R.W. experienced health issues, which caused him to be identified as medically vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. On April 9, 2020, R.W. requested relief under the newly enacted First Step Act and Hendrickson & Long, P.L.L.C. filed a motion seeking immediate compassionate release on R.W.’s behalf.

On June 12, following two evidentiary hearings on the issue, the Federal District Court found that extraordinary and compelling conditions existed, and ordered R.W.’s immediate release. He will serve a portion of his remaining sentence on home confinement and supervised release.

FCI Elkton is a low security facility housing approximately 2,000 inmates in a dormitory style environment. County health officials report that over 500 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, nine inmates have died and dozens of staff members have been infected.

Compassionate release is an option if your loved one is incarcerated and falls within the CDC COVID-19 criteria (people over 65 years old, and people with a condition that affects their lungs, heart, kidney, immune system or who have another serious chronic medical condition).

ABOUT JACK TINNEY

After working as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, Jack Tinney has spent the last 20 years defending clients from criminal charges in both the federal district courts and on appeal.

ABOUT HENDRICKSON AND LONG, P.L.L.C.

Hendrickson & Long, P.L.L.C. is located in the heart of downtown Charleston, founded on the premise that a smaller team of highly skilled and experienced attorneys and staff who work well together can offer quality services, resources and expertise more efficiently and at far more competitive rates.

Jack’s result for R.W. is the culmination of those beliefs coming together for our clients once again.

MEDIA AND PRESS INQUIRIES

Direct all inquiries to Eric Arnold at earnold@handl.com or 304-415-0431.

DOES A CLAIM OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE IN WV JEOPARDIZE YOUR CAREER?

A case of medical malpractice in WV can harm your integrity as a health care provider. Talk to an experienced defense lawyer!Photo of an Intricate Operating Room that Depicts the Complexity of Surgical Procedures, Potentially Contributing to Claims of Medical Malpractice in WV, for which an Experienced Medical Mistake Lawyer Can Be of Great Help.

In West Virginia (WV), personal injury lawsuits often arise alleging medical malpractice. This is inevitable because individuals look to their physicians for answers and solutions when it comes to matters of their health. Whether it is a common cold, a chronic condition, or something with life-threatening consequences, many patients expect their doctors to not only have answers to every question but a cure for every illness. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to live up to these high expectations. Sometimes, patients claim medical malpractice in WV even when a health care provider did everything correctly and in the best interest of the patient.

Medical Malpractice in WV: The Burden of Proof

The facts giving rise to claims of WV medical malpractice are often complicated and voluminous. However, it is important to keep in mind that the plaintiff in a medical malpractice action will bear the burden of proving the requisite elements of proof for the case to move forward in court.

To have a successful case against a doctor for medical malpractice in WV, a plaintiff must prove that the physician deviated from a governing medical standard of care when treating the patient and that this deviation caused the patient to suffer injury or death.

Doctors are not the only health care providers who are at risk of being sued for medical negligence in WV. Actions can also be brought against counselors, psychologists, psychotherapists, and nurses. Some of the more common examples of cases involving medical malpractice include misdiagnosis or failing to diagnose a physical or mental condition, failing to provide appropriate treatment for a condition, and unreasonable delay in the treatment of a diagnosed condition.

Factors to Consider in Defending a WV Medical Malpractice Claim

When it comes to cases involving medical malpractice in WV, the law provides certain elements to be met to prove a claim. Moreover, in cases where a defendant may be found responsible, WV law steps in regarding damages and liability. Here are some of the relevant factors that a defendant and his or her medical malpractice defense lawyer may assert in a WV medical negligence lawsuit:

 

  • Statute of Limitations Not Met. The applicable statute of limitations in WV medical malpractice cases is two years, which means such an action must be filed within two years of the date the injury occurred or the date the injury should reasonably have been detected.
  • Limits on Damages. Under WV law, noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases are limited to $250,000 in cases involving injury and $500,000 in cases involving death or permanent disability. To qualify for this limit, physicians must carry liability insurance of at least $1 million.
  • Under WV law, each named defendant in a civil action is only liable in an amount equal to the proportion of fault for the injury suffered.
  • Collateral Source Rule. Even if a health care provider is found liable in a case of medical negligence in WV, he or she can introduce payments the plaintiff may have received for injuries from other sources. This is usually done after a verdict is rendered but before a judgment is entered. The purpose is to offset the amount awarded in connection with the judgment.

Defending You against Claims of Medical Malpractice in WV: H&L

If you have been sued for medical malpractice in WV, it is important to contact an experienced attorney in this area of law immediately to protect your interest and be informed of your rights. The attorneys at Hendrickson & Long, PLLC have years of successful experience in defending medical negligence lawsuits. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in our office in Charleston, 304-346-5500. We defend health care providers throughout WV, Kentucky (KY), and Pennsylvania (PA).

Defending an Employment Discrimination Claim

In West Virginia (WV), Kentucky, (KY), or Pennsylvania (PA), and indeed the entire United States, employees may bring a claim against an employer based on discrimination for a variety of reasons. Cases involving age discrimination, gender discrimination, and racial discrimination are probably the most common forms of discrimination claims. An employer has several options for responding to such claims, depending on the type of complaint that the employee has brought and the current stage of the legal proceedings. Preparation and experienced representation are key to successfully defending an employment discrimination claim.

Defending an Employment Discrimination Claim Starts with Calling Your Lawyer

Hire an Experienced Attorney When Defending an Employment Discrimination Claim

As a general rule of thumb, it is wise for an employer who has been notified of an employment discrimination claim or complaint to contact an attorney who is experienced in defending such matters. Hiring an experienced employment lawyer defense attorney will help protect the employer’s rights and obtain premium representation in the case. The proper legal advice and guidance provide employers accused of discrimination with the best chances of successfully defending against such claims.

Steps to Take in Defending an Employment Discrimination ClaimImage of a Laborer, Representing the Seriousness of an Employment Discrimination Claim and How the Employment Discrimination Attorneys at Hendrickson & Long, PLLC Can Help You in Defending an Employment Discrimination Claim in West Virginia (WV), Kentucky (KY), or Pennsylvania (PA).

Employment lawyers in WV, KY, and PA know that successfully defending an employment discrimination claim requires being responsive and proactive. An employer defending a discrimination claim must acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and respond accordingly, which includes hiring experienced counsel. A skilled employment law defense attorney assists clients with and advises them on the following points, among others:

 

  • Encourage the investigation of an employee’s in-house complaint and craft a proper response under the circumstances. Prompt action is essential in this case, and an attorney can help a client quickly implement a plan of investigation. Generally, investigations include interviewing the employee who made the complaint, interviewing other witnesses, and compiling and reviewing any relevant documentation of the claim. Prompt action taken by an employer at this stage may avoid further legal action.
  • Advise the employer about the options available if an employee files a complaint with a government agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a state agency such as the WV Human Rights Commission (HRC). When an employee has filed a complaint with such an agency, the employer usually has the option either to mediate the case or to give a written response to the claim along with supporting documentation. In defending the discriminaiton claim, it is essential that the employer read and understand the claims in the complaint and have a thorough understanding of the relevant law. An employer may choose to conduct an internal investigation into the claim in addition to providing its response to the complaint. Following the relevant legal rules, including timeliness and the inclusion of appropriate information, is crucial.
  • In cases that move forward to the litigation stage, it is not only advisable but imperative to have legal representation in defense of an employment discrimination claim. Parties to a legal action are bound by rules of evidence and procedure in filing pleadings and arguing their positions. An employer will have a limited amount of time to file an Answer to a Complaint alleging discrimination. Filing this responsive pleading is the first step in establishing the employer’s position against the employee and defense of the claim, so it is important to take proper steps from the outset. This includes researching the facts, compiling relevant documents, contacting and interviewing witnesses, and establishing any counterclaims or affirmative defenses.

Contact WV Employment Discrimination Attorneys Today

If you are an employer with a pending employment discrimination claim, the employment law defense attorneys at Hendrickson & Long, PLLC can assist you in defending an employment discrimination claim in WV, KY, or PA. We have years of experience representing employers in employment discrimination cases and can assist you with both advice and representation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in our Charleston office, or call us directly at 304-346-5500.

FORECLOSURE DEFENSES: APPLYING LEGAL STRATEGIES TO SAVE YOUR HOME

Image of a Home that Needs to Be Sold Due to Foreclosure Action, a Scenario that Could Have Been Countered with Foreclosure Defenses through the Help of an Experienced WV Foreclosure AttorneyUnderstanding foreclosure defenses could save your home.

With the current state of the economy, many homeowners in West Virginia (WV) are facing financial hardships, including the possibility that banks will foreclose on their homes. However, evidence shows that the real estate industry has embraced a plethora of fraudulent practices, exacerbating financial constraint on homeowners. For this reason, courts are acknowledging and becoming more sympathetic to borrowers who raise foreclosure defenses in hopes of saving their homes. But foreclosure laws are complex; thus, borrowers may consider hiring an experienced WV foreclosure attorney to take advantage of the common defenses to foreclosure.

Common Foreclosure Defenses

While the best strategy will vary on a case-by-case basis, some foreclosure defenses are used more frequently than others. Below are the most common defenses to foreclosure raised in court:

 

  • Lack of Consideration. Consideration is something of value or “benefit” that each party offers to induce the other in entering a contractual agreement. As with all contracts, mortgage contracts require an element of adequate consideration to be valid. Thus, if a borrower or homeowner finds out that the deal lacks consideration, he or she may use it as a foreclosure defense to keep a property or even demand for damages.
  • Failure to Comply with Notice Provisions. Borrowers must receive written notice of noncompliance prior to the bank initiating a foreclosure. Thus, if the borrower did not receive a notice, it can be used as one of his or her foreclosure defenses.
  • Failure to Comply with Release Provisions. This foreclosure defense is applicable when the lender fails to remove a mortgage lien from the property, despite an obligation to do so. This situation is common in construction loans that involve the sale of parcels or units.
  • Waiver of Right of Privilege. If, in the past, the lender acquiesced to a borrower’s failure to comply with a contract term, it might have forfeited its right to pursue a later claim for the same violation.
  • Statute of Limitations. Foreclosure actions must commence within the applicable time frame allowed by the law in WV.
  • Fraud. One of the strongest defenses to foreclosure is mortgage fraud. If a mortgage is procured by fraud, it is subject to cancellation. The borrower may either affirm the contract and claim money damages, or rescind the contract.
  • Unclean Hands Doctrine or Equitable Defenses. This principle states that someone who is guilty of wrongdoing does not deserve the right to bring up a lawsuit or motion for equitable relief. The unclean hands doctrine may be used as a foreclosure defense if it is found that the lender is engaged in illegal or fraudulent conduct. The court may reverse or dismiss a foreclosure action, even if the borrower violated the contract’s terms.
  • Tender of Payment. If the foreclosure defenses mentioned above are not possible, a borrower may offer an unconditional mode of payment to satisfy his or her obligation to the mortgage holder. Depending on the stage of the foreclosure process, the payment may be a single mortgage payment, all past due payments, or the entire obligation. Tender of payment can be used as a foreclosure defense to liability for interest after the due date of the mortgage.

Seek Help from a WV Foreclosure Attorney

Understanding the law and identifying foreclosure defenses can be difficult and exhausting to homeowners. Looking for help in applying legal strategies to save your home?  The attorneys at Hendrickson & Long are dedicated and experienced in defending clients against foreclosure actions throughout West Virginia (WV).  Contact us today at 304-346-5500 to schedule your consultation.