BROOKE COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) – A group of current and former Brooke County Sheriff’s Department deputies are suing the Brooke County commission over pay issues, retaliation and discrimination.
The 17 deputies filed their complaint Tuesday in Brooke County Circuit Court. Teresa Toriseva and Joshua Miller of Toriseva Law in Wheeling are representing the deputies. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jason Cuomo.
The deputies list multiple issues in their complaint including not receiving COVID pay during the pandemic when other county workers reportedly received it; not receiving hourly pay increases during the pandemic; working around the clock and taking on extra duties such as courthouse security, taking temperatures of members of the public and determining virus exposure of people entering the courthouse.
They also claim they are not properly paid for overtime, longevity and holidays. Furthermore, the plaintiffs claim they suffered unlawful retaliation against them by the county for engaging in protected activities.
The complaint alleges the county commission discriminated against one deputy, Deputy Caleb Minger, because he has a genetic blood disorder.
Minger was hired in Jan. 2023 and requires a specific medication for his condition. In April 2023, the county’s health insurance provider reportedly told the county that it would increase premiums due to the cost of Minger’s medication.
The complaint says that the county did not know who used the expensive medication but it launched an internal investigation to identify the patient. Once the county learned it was Minger, they allegedly tried to have Sheriff Richard Beatty Jr. fire him, which Beatty did not.
In May 2023, Minger had a meeting with former chief deputy Scott Adams and county commissioners concerning Minger’s medical condition. The complaint says the county breached Minger’s medical privacy and even called his doctor to ask if there was a cheaper medication he could take.
Minger’s doctor said he needed the medication prescribed and that it was life-saving.
The complaint states the county demanded Minger be fired and that the county threatened to cut the sheriff’s department budget by $200,000 if he was not fired.
The plaintiffs organized on Minger’s behalf and say they were retaliated against by the county for supporting him. They say the county violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act in its treatment of Minger.
Minger resigned July 31, 2023 due to what the complaint calls unlawful and discriminatory conduct.
The plaintiffs are Chief Deputy Douglas Mills, Corporal Devon Baker, Deputy Kenneth Shuman, Sergeant Kristen Richmond-Siranovic, Sergeant Shane Siranovic, Corporal Gary Conley, Deputy Kaylin Ferguson, Captain Scott Zeigler, Deputy Caleb Minger, Deputy Nicholas Alexander, Sergeant Timothy R. Robertson Jr., Corporal Megan Himmelrick, Lieutenant Klyer Ferguson, Deputy Johnathon Tober, Corporal Shane Logston, Sergeant Nile Cline and Lieutenant Mathew Beatty.
The deputies seek compensatory damages, interest, attorney fees, court costs and other relief.
You can read the full complaint below:
Video is today’s top stories.