Doug / 12-13-2010 / Personal Injury

Bouncer’s Personal Injury Lawsuit Dismissed

In an unusual argument using constitutional law in a personal injury case, a Charleston Circuit Judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a shooting victim who had never been paid a $1.5 million judgment he had been awarded in a personal injury lawsuit.
Marlon Ferguson was employed as a bouncer at Banana Joe’s on Oct. 30, 2005, when a patron of the business shot him. He sued the owners’ businesses for $1.5 million and won his lawsuit. He was never paid the money he was awarded because none of the businesses had liability insurance coverage.
Trying to collect the money due him, Ferguson filed lawsuits against Derek S. Jones, Gregory A. Ray, Roger Hensel, Kevin Hensel, Nicholas J. Wall and Don Wiley, who were former owners of the nightclub.
Attorneys for defendant Wall asked that the action be dismissed, arguing that as Wall was not involved in the original lawsuit he was unable to defend himself and should not, therefore, be sued for payment of a previous award that he was not a party to.
Mr. Wall was, in fact, a silent partner in a business that owned a business that sold Banana Joe’s. The sale took place before the shooting.
Even though the defendants were not in any way connected to Banana Joe’s at the time of the shooting that injured employee Marlon Ferguson, the case was dismissed on constitutional grounds.
The judge dismissed the motion after Mr. Wall’s personal injury lawyer presented the case that: Ferguson had failed to present a feasible cause of action under West Virginia law and under Ohio law. State laws of both West Virginia and Ohio prevent piercing of a LLC’s corporate veil and West Virginia courts are unable to pierce the corporate veil of foreign corporations
Even though it’s hard to use a constitutional argument to defend against a personal injury case, the judge found that Mr. Wall would have been denied due process and the case would violate the Full Faith and Credit Clause.

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