Manchins: Lawsuit filed by ‘bitter’ brother

Filed to remove a $1.7

million suit on Monday

FAIRMONT — Dr. John Manchin II has filed to drop a $1.7 million lawsuit against his brothers, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and businessman Rock Manchin.

Around 2:30 p.m. Monday, Dr. Manchin, who was listed as the plaintiff on the suit, and his counsel filed a stipulation of voluntary dismissal in the Marion County Circuit Clerk’s Office.

Dr. Manchin filed the suit in July 2014 and was suing his brothers for what the suit claims is breach of contract, civil conspiracy, constructive fraud, a violation of a partnership and failure to repay the money Dr. Manchin says he invested to help the family business avoid bankruptcy.

Dr. Manchin claimed he gave $1.7 million to his brothers’ creditors in the late 1980s so their carpet business could avoid bankruptcy.

Dr. Manchin, a doctor of osteopathic medicine and owner of two medical clinics in Marion County, claimed that not only have his brothers refused to pay him the $1.7 million they owed him, but that the two dissolved their partnership without his knowledge and that Dr. Manchin was misled to believe he would receive payments from a coal gob disposal project in which the Manchins didn’t even have a legal interest.

Attorney Mike Benninger, who is representing Dr. Manchin, on Monday said he was not permitted to comment.

“A dismissal has been filed and I can’t comment on the reason or purpose for it,” Benninger said.

Under the stipulations of the case, the lawsuit shall be dismissed with prejudice. With prejudice means the plaintiff is not allowed to file another case on the same claim, according to Marion County Circuit Clerk Rhonda Starn.

Attorney Brian Glasser, who is representing Sen. Manchin in the suit, said he and others from the defendant’s counsel were also not permitted to comment.

Rock Manchin’s attorney on the suit, Michael Glasser, didn’t return a phone call Monday to comment on the stipulation.

The judge on the case, Senior Status Judge Thomas W. Steptoe, has not officially dismissed the case, according to the Marion County Circuit Clerk’s Office.

Earlier in the case, after the suit was filed, Sen. Manchin and Rock Manchin, along with their counsels, filed a motion to have the suit dismissed.

The two claimed that Dr. Manchin and his son John Manchin III had absolutely no ability to prove “vague” claims that they were bailed out on the brink of bankruptcy, no evidence that they promised to repay an amount or provide Dr. Manchin an interest in coal reserves, and nothing to suggest that dissolving the family business was anything but “an above-board, mutual understanding between the three brothers.”

In November, Steptoe filed an order denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss. Steptoe concluded that the case would move forward and a trial date was set for Dec. 7.

Email Emily Gallagher at egallagher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.

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