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Former coroner’s employee files new lawsuit

December 7, 2012
By DEANNE JOHNSON - Staff Writer ( , Morning Journal News

LISBON - Citing issues with retaliation, failure to pay overtime compensation and a hostile work environment, former coroner employee Brian K. Fullum filed a second lawsuit this week against the Columbiana County Board of Commissioners, Columbiana County Auditor's Office and the Columbiana County Coroner's Office.

A previous lawsuit which named Coroner William Graham directly was dismissed last week by Judge C. Ashley Pike, who ruled Graham is an elected official, not a political subdivision. The complaint was filed against the coroner both professionally and personally, not the coroner's office. Therefore, Pike wrote Graham is presumptively entitled to protection under statutory immunity.

The new lawsuit names the three offices. Fullum contends he was asked to work more than 80 hours per week, but did not get paid any overtime.

He further claims when he consulted an attorney about his hours, his hours were cut and his hourly wage reduced. The work environment allegedly became so hostile, Fullum's doctor advised him not to return to work.

Fullum has asked for an excess of $25,000 for lost compensation, emotional distress and other damages, plus an excess of $25,000 in punitive damages.

Fullum's lawsuit is not the only one pending against the coroner's office. Susan Bennett, the coroner's former secretary, claims illegal retaliation by Graham after she brought up allegations of professional misconduct by him. An investigation by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation into the misconduct allegations cleared Graham of wrongdoing.



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