Here is a copy of a police liability/ governmental liability lawsuit that I filed last week against various agencies of the State of West Virginia, Pocahontas County, and several private corporations and individuals – including Snowshoe Mountain – on behalf of Brent Carter Flanary. Since the case is obviously pending, I can’t comment on the facts other than to summarize what is in the pleadings, which are lengthy. This case is about a man who had everything and ended up with nothing.
The Complaint alleges that Mr. Flanary, who had a condo at Snowshoe and was going through a bitter divorce, was forced “off the mountain” by Snowshoe officials, with the help of local and state law enforcement – all of whom were communicating with Mr. Flanary’s ex-spouse. During this process, Mr. Flanary suffered imprisonment, both in a jail and in a mental hospital, for over a month’s time, was beaten, sexually assaulted, attacked with gas grenades, tasers, German Shepherds, and fists – all over allegedly being publicly intoxicated, for which incarceration isn’t even a potential punishment (1st offense). None of the aforesaid “use of force” incidents were in any way memorialized in a police report or “use of force” affidavit. Instead, they were covered-up until after the expiration of the one year statute of limitations for false arrest and false imprisonment. Additionally, much of the conduct underlying these allegations were videotaped. One of the video tapes emerged nearly two years later, conveniently missing the relevant footage at the end of the digital footage (and also after the lapsing of the aforesaid statute of limitations). Another video tape has yet to emerge. But this didn’t stop the prosecutor – and now disbarred assistant prosecutor – from attempting to bring Mr. Flanary to trial on the criminal charges (without production – or even admission of the existence of – the video tapes).
You may not want to take all the time necessary to read the entire document. However, this Complaint may be useful to other West Virginia attorneys who are facing – or considering – police liability or governmental liability cases. The area of law is extremely complex and tricky, and there’s not a whole lot out there to review prior to filing your own case. A considerable amount of research went in to the drafting of this Complaint, including the review of just about every police liability case filed in West Virginia in the last five years. – John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney
UPDATE: State Journal story on the Flanary case posted 1/8/09.
Pocahontas Times story also posted 1/8/09.