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IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF PUlliAM COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA

Jay Lawrence Smith, an individual


Plaintiff,
v.
Scott Edwards, in his capacity as
Mayor of the City of Hurricane, and
The City of Hurricane, a political subdivision,
Defendants
Civil Action No. \ L\ -c..- \ 5(~
Honorable-2)-\n t\ 'leCS ' Judge
COMPLAINT FOF DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
Now comes the Plaintiff, Jay Lawrence Smith, who states as follows:
PARTIES
1. Jay Lawrence Smith ("Smith") is a resident of Hurricane, Putnam County, West
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Virginia. :A '::S
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2. Smith is a free-lance legal researcher, and journalist whose principal place ofbu~ .-1
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is in South Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia. ~ toP
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3. Defendant Scott Edwards ("Edwards") is a resident of Hurricane, Putnam County, ~
West Virginia and is, at all times relevant hereto, the Mayor of the City of Hurricane.
4. Defendant City of Hurricane ("City") is a political subdivision organized under the
laws of the state of West Virginia with an address of3255 Teays Valley Rd., Hurricane, WV
25526.
5. This Court has jurisdiction over tms matter and over the parties.
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6. As the conduct complained of, and as more particularly set forth herein, occurred in
Putnam County, this matter is properly venued with this Court.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND
7. Smith restates the allegations contained in Paragraphs 1-6.
8. On or about Saturday, March 1, 2014, Smith sent Edwards a Freedom of Information
Act ("FOIA") request. The request, sent both via electronic and U.S. Mail, sought the following:
A. The terms of the settlements in three lawsuits against the city.
B. The loss report from the city's insurance carrier on the damage to a police cruiser
that led to two of the lawsuits.
C. The salary, and employment history of three current or former city police officers.
D. The completed reports of any disciplinary action taken against said officers since
they began their employment.
9. A copy of the FOIA request is attached as Exhibit "A."
10. West Virginia Code 29B-l-l, et. seq. (the "FOIA law") requires that a records
custo<;lianat least respond to a FOIA request within five business days.
11. As such, Edwards, the city and! or their agents were obligated to have something in
writing to Smith dated Friday, March 7, 2014.
12. When he received no reply to his March 1, 2014 FOIA request, Smith sent a second
one to Edwards dated April 15, 2014.
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13. The second FOIA request is identical to the fi..>-st one, and is attached as Exhibit "B."
14. The second request was sent to Edwards via electronic, and U.S. Mai1.
15. When he received no reply to either his March 1 or April 15, 2014 FOIA requests,
Smith sent a third one to Edwards dated May 5, 2014.
16. The third request is identical to the two others, except it states it is the final one, and
is attached as Exhibit "C."
17. As with the previous two, the third FOIA request was sent to Edwards via electronic,
and U.S. Mai1.
18. As of the filing of the instant suit, Smith has received no reply from Edwards, the city
and! or their agents to any of his FOIA requests.
19. Though the FOIA law is silent as to the number of requests to be made on a records
custodian before seeking relief, the defendants have exceeded by 53 the days they were required
to respond to Srr...ith'sfirst FOIA request.
20. The failure of Defendants to provide Smith the information in his March 1, 2014
FOIA request has prompted the instant suit.
ARGUMENTS
21. Smith restates the allegations in paragraphs 1-20.
22. 29B-l- 3(1) of the FOIA law specifically states: "Every person has a right to inspect
or copy any public record of a public body in this State, except as otherwise expressly provided
by section four [29B-1-4] of this article."
23. As a result of their non-reply, Defendants have failed to provide a reason under 29B-
1-4( 1) as to why Smith cannot see the information fIrst requested on March 1, 2014.
24. Instead, Defendants have deliberately, maliciously, and intentionally failed to
respond to any of Smith's FOIA requests.
25. Smith's interest in this action outweighs any arguments for non-disclosure.
Moreover, the information requested is public.
WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff prays that this Court:
1. declare that the Defendant's refusal to disclose the records requested by Smith is
unlawful;
2. grant injunctive relief, enjoining Defendants from withholding records without
justification, and order production to Smith of records improperly withheld;
3. award Smith his costs and reasonable attorney fees, if applicable, incurred in this
action, as required by W. Va. Code 29B-1-7; and
4. grant Smith such other relief as the Court may deem just and proper.
-------------- ~- -
5312 MacCorkle Ave., S.W.
#238
South Charleston, WV 25309
(304) 397-6075
mslrnediainc@yahoo.com
Pro se
.~
1. Beginning salary.
2. Beginning title.
3. Current salary, if applicable.
4. Current title, if applicable.
5. Final salary, if applicable.
6. Final title, if applicable.
IV. All completed reports of the internal investigations of alleged misconduct
committed by the following_police officers:
1. Angell, L. M.
2. Kerr, Jason
3. Runyan, Chad
The information shall include the total number of complaints that have been
lod&ed a&ainst them since loinin~ the Department.
As required by the Act, I expect your response within five business days. If you
chose to deny all or part of my request, please cite the specific part of the Code for
your denial.
Once the information is ready, it can be sent to me at one of the addresses below.
I thank you~Mayor Edwards, for taking the time to field my reques~ and look
forward to your reply.
5312 MaeCorkle Ave., S.W.
#238
South Charleston, WV 25309
(304) 397-6075
mslmediainc@yahoo.com
Sent via e-mail and U.S. Mail
\\ 0 11
15April 2014
Scott D. Edwards, mayor
City of Hurricane
3255 Teays Valley Rd.
Hurricane, WV 25526
Dear Mayor Edwards:
Pursuant to the West Vrrginia Freedom of Information Act (W. Va. Code 29B-l-
1,et. seq.), I request access to the following:
1. The terms of the settlements in the following lawsuits:
A. Jalisa Straughter, et. aI. v. Chad Runyan, et. al. (Kanawha Circuit
Court, case number 11-C-361).
B. Jedawn Edgerton v. Chad Runyan, et. al. (Kanawha Circuit Court,
case number 11-C-390).
C. Lena Qualls v. LM. Angell (U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of West VIrginia, case number 12-CV-S917).
The information shall include, but not limited to, the following:
1. The payout made by the City either through its general revenue fund or
a third party.
2. The names of all third parties making said payments.
3. Any deductible paid to said third parties.
4. The legal fees, and expenses incurred by the lawyers/law firms
representing the City, and related co-defendants.
II. All documents regarding the hit-and-run incident between Straughter,
Duncan, Edgerton and Runyan on or about March 8, 2009.
III. The salary history of the following employees:
A. Angell, L.M.
B. Kerr, Jason
C. Runyan, Chad
I The information shall include, but not be limited to the fonowing:
1. Beginning salary.
2. Beginning title.
3. Current salary, if applicable.
4. Current title, if applicable.
5. Final salary, if applicable.
6. Final title, if applicable.
IV. All completed reports of the internal investigations of alleged misconduct
committed by the following police officers:
1. Angell, L. M.
2. Kerr, Jason
3. Runyan, Chad
J. Smith
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5312 MacCorkle Ave., S.W.
#238
South Charleston, WV 25309
(304) 397-6075
mslmediainc@yahoo.com
The information shall include the total number of complaints that have been
lodged against them since joiningthe Department.
As required by the Act, I expect Y01.1l' response within five business days. If you
chose to deny all or part of my requ~, please cite the specific part of the Code for
your denial. '\
. \
Once the information is ready, it can be ~nt to me at one of the addresses below.
I thank you, Mayor Edwards, for taking the time to field my request, and look
forward to your reply.
Sent via e-mail and U.S. Mail
I
5 May 2014
Scott D. Edwards, mayor
City of Hurricane
3255 Teays Vaney Rd.
Hurricane, WV 25526
Dear Mayor Edwards:
Pursuant to the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act CW. Va. Code 29B-l-
1,et. seq.), I request access to the following:
I. The terms of the settlements in the following lawsuits:
A. Jalisa Straughter, et. al. v. Chad Runyan, et. al. (Kanawha Circuit
Court, case number 1.1-C-361).
B. Jedawn Edgerton v. Chad Runyan, et. al. (Kanawha Circuit Court,
case number U-C-390).
C. Lena Qualls v. L.M. Angell (U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of West Virginia, case number 12-CV-5917).
The information shall include, but not limited to, the following:
1. The payout made by the City either through its general revenue fund or
a third party.
2. The names of all third parties making said payments.
3. Any deductible paid to said third parties.
4. The legal fees, and expenses incurred by the lawyers/law finDs
representing the City, and related co-defendants.
II. All documents regarding the hit-and-run incident between Straughter,
Duncan, Edgerton and Runyan on or about March 8, 2009.
III. The salary history of the following employees:
A. Angell, L.M.
B. Kerr, Jason
C. Runyan, Chad
The information shall include, but not be limited to the following:
r----- ..._-~ .. -.-.
I.
.~
I. _ I .~.
1. Beginning salary.
2. Beginning title.
3. Current salary, if applicable.
4. Current title, if applicable.
5. Final salary, if applicable.
6. Final title, if applicable.
IV. .All completed reports of the internal investigations of alleged misconduct
committed by the following police officers:
1. Angell, L. M.
2. Kerr, Jason
3. Runyan, Chad
The information shall include the total number of complaints that have been
lodged against them since joining the Department.
As required by the Act, I expect your response within five business days. If you
chose to deny all or part of my request, please cite the specific part of the Code for
your denial.
THIS IS A FINAL DEMAND FOR INFORMATION.
5312 MacCorlde Ave., S.W. .1 j
#238
South Charleston, WV 25309
(304) 397-6075
mslmediainc@yahoo.com
Sent via e-mail and U.S. Mail
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