Lawsuit filed against Sheriff, Major

By Sarah Hawley -

POMEROY —A civil lawsuit has been filed against Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood, Major Scott Trussell, the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office and the Meigs County Commissioners by Sgt. Curtis Jones.

The action was filed on Tuesday morning with the Meigs County Clerk of Courts Office by Attorney Joshua Price, who represents Jones. The lawsuit comes months after a complaint was filed by Jones with the Meigs County Commissioners regarding an incident on July 4 involving Jones and Wood in which Wood reportedly made a comment and hand gesture toward Jones and his wife at a parade. The investigation and subsequent report was completed by Stan Molnar with recommendations made.

The complaint filed on Tuesday with the court outlines two counts — disability discrimination and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The complaint states that Jones is a disabled veteran pursuant to definitions of Revised Code Section 4112.01, has a back injury which limited his ability to function in the United States military qualifying him as disabled. He has also been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

“Jones is fully competent and qualified for the position of Deputy,” reads the complaint.

The complaint alleges the following:

“Meigs County and its employees and agents, including Defendants Wood and Trussell have engaged in an ongoing pattern of disability discrimination against Jones.”

“Defendants initially thwarted, stalled, failed, and/or refused to properly investigate complaints lodged against Defendants Wood and Trussell based on complaints lodged by Jones.”

“Defendants failed to act or properly investigate threats and numerous acts of intimidation and discrimination by Defendant Wood and/or Defendant Trussell against Jones.”

“On or about April 12, 2017, Jones was disciplined for being ‘insubordinate’ to a secretary outside of the chain of command for Deputy Jones. Said secretary is Defendant Trussell’s daughter”

“On or about April 11, 2019, Jones was called back into work after previously working a twelve-hour shift. Jones indicated to the dispatcher that he had already taken his prescribed medication and was uncomfortable driving. Defendant Trussell indicated that he did not care what medication Jones had taken and had the dispatcher order him in anyway. Defendant Trussell required Jones to return to work after taking prescribed medication showing a clear hostility toward his disability.” Following the incident with the medicine, the complaint states, “Jones submitted a grievance on he matter resulting in his being inappropriately punished by Defendants Wood and Trussell. Jones was given the ultimatum to accept disciplinary action or be subjected to a Fit for Duty examination. … Jones was singled out because of Defendant’s hostility toward his disability. Jones was demoralized and emotionally harmed by the incident.”

“Most recently, on or about October 2020, Jones was the recipient of further discriminatory statements by Defendant Trussell following an attempt to address allegation of disparate treatment.”

“In response to Jones’ concern and request to talk to someone meaning a union representative per the deputies’ contract with the county, Defendant Trussell made the derogatory statement that he would call ‘Hopewell’ a mental health provider in the area.”

The complaint filed Tuesday states, “Despite Jones’ reports regarding Defendants Wood and Trussell committing disability motivated hostile actions and behavior, and Mr. Molnar’s report, neither Defendant Wood or Trussell were reprimanded or sanctioned.”

Among the relief sought, is an award against each defendant of compensatory and monetary damages to compensate Jones for emotional distress, personal injury, property damage, unpaid wages, and other consequential damages in the amount in excess of $25,000 per claim to be proven at trail; an award of punitive damages against each defendant in an amount in excess of $25,000; an order requiring defendants to cease and desist from any employment practice which discriminates against or harasses employees or others on the basis of race, religion, sex, military status, national origin, disability, age, or ancestry, or in retaliation against the person because he or she has complained about such discrimination.

© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

By Sarah Hawley

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.