WHEELING, W. Va. – Thirteen North Carolina men alleging legal malpractice against Provost Umphrey of Beaumont, Texas, want U. S. Magistrate Judge James Seibert to move their depositions from Wheeling, W.Va., to locations near their homes.
Their lawyer, Donald Tennant Jr. of Wheeling, pleaded physical and economic hardship in a motion for a protective order on Oct. 19.
He certified he made a good faith effort to resolve the matter without filing a motion.
"Plaintiffs have various medical conditions that make travel difficult, while three are using wheelchairs," Tennant wrote.
The trip would take 1,000 miles driving or cost $500 to $700 flying, plus hotel, car rental and general travel costs.
"Defendants herein possess a financial position greater than the plaintiffs," he wrote.
Tennant said his clients "were hamstrung to file the litigation where the transaction occurred rather than where they resided."
He wrote that Edward Cook of Atlanta filed suits for them in Gwinnett County, Ga. After Cook joined Provost Umphrey, the firm dismissed the Gwinnett County actions and sued in Marshall County, W.Va.
"Each of the plaintiffs did not consent to their cases being dismissed in a nearby city in the South to be brought further away in Marshall County, West Virginia," Tennant wrote.
"In fact, before some of the claimants were deposed in the underlying case they had never been to West Virginia."
He submitted the motion to U. S. District Judge Frederick Stamp, who referred it to Seibert the next day.
Stamp has set trial to start May 24.