By Lyra Bordelon
Nearly $200,000 worth of work is at the center of a civil case between The Greenbrier Hotel Corporation and Welding Inc. in the Greenbrier County Circuit Court. In a Tuesday, September 22 hearing, the court denied a motion that would have immediately brought the case to an end, requiring the Greenbrier Hotel Corporation to pay the amount Welding Inc. alleges it is owed.
Welding Inc., represented by attorney Kelly Morgan, filed a motion for the immediate resolution to the case under a summary judgment in February of this year, but the case has been delayed due to several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The motion for summary judgment asserted that Welding Inc. and CSX Hotels Inc. entered into a contract on July 25, 2008, that would ultimately cost, after the approval of several change orders, $998,930.
“This was supposed to be a one-year project which was a tear down of a water storage tank and a replacement with a one million gallon water storage tank for the sole and private use of The Greenbrier resort,” Morgan explained. “… Completely separate from White Sulphur Springs.”
According to the document, work began in September of 2008 and was completed in July 2009. During this time, however, CSX declared bankruptcy and The Greenbrier was sold, through stock purchases, to the Justice Family Group. Before the sale, CSX paid $800,136, leaving $198,794. An inability to collect the amount, Morgan said, was the reason for filing the lawsuit in 2018.
“Welding Inc. is not in the business of filing lawsuits against the remaining amount on contracts for which they performed work,” Morgan said. “It was a final resort to file this action. The officers and the personnel at The Greenbrier Resort were firmly aware of this going on.”
In a recent hearing in the Circuit Court, it was determined that the Greenbrier Hotel Corporation would be the correct entity to name in the suit. However, Morgan explained that in filings since that time, this appeared to be in dispute.
“Representations that have been made after have not been consistent with that hearing. I’ve been very frustrated. … In that meeting … there were several other defendants that I was willing to bring into bring the right one. I was willing to say here, today, which is the property entity and I was willing to dismiss any other entity … and maintain against the proper one.”
Defense attorney Christopher Schroeck responded that the Greenbrier Hotel Corporation was the correct entity and that references to the Justice Family Group might have been accidentally left in a filed response or could have been in the document for another reason.
“The issues are … one, whether there was a valid contract, two, whether there was performance on thee contract and, three, what was paid, if anything,” said Schroeck. “These are the issues that are an issue of disputed material fact.”
Morgan pushed back against this.
“Honestly I don’t see any of those as being disputed in this case based on the documents, based on the bankruptcy proceedings,” Morgan said. “This project was ongoing during the purchase of The Greenbrier by the Justice Family Group. … It’s very disingenuous. We got the property party, we’ve done it again, and these are just games. They’re delay tactics, quite honestly. I feel like it’s a waste of everyone’s time to address whether there’s a valid contract.”
Shrek disagreed, asserting that the parties were not yet in agreement and more evidence, in paper work and potential depositions of those that signed the contracts or worked on the project, was needed.
“This case is not appropriate for summary judgment because you don’t really have much in terms of admissible evidence,” said Schroeck. “… Plaintiff is entitled to believe plaintiff has a strong case, and plaintiff is entitled to pursue that case, but what plaintiff is not entitled to do is skip the part where they prove the case.”
Dent asserted that the case would follow all the proper procedures under the law, but also emphasized the need to prioritize the case by the parties and move it to resolution.
“I will assure you that in this court you will be entitled to what is allowable action,” Dent said. “What you will not be entitled to is drag your feet like you have in the request and in submitting your responses.”
Although motion for summary judgment was denied, but Dent acknowledged the possibility of another request for it after the discovery process has been completed. A hearing was set for the further review of the case.