Courthouse employees file lawsuit against employer, Spartanburg County


Five Spartanburg County Courthouse employees have filed a lawsuit against their employer.

They claim Spartanburg County failed to protect them from getting sick.

The lawsuit says the County and other unnamed defendants, knew about “dangerous and toxic mold and have negligently failed to correct the problem.”

Jan Hinson, their attorney, said “these women are very sick and it’s becoming apparent that they are not going to be relocated anytime soon.”

The County said it couldn’t comment, but was quick to point out it’s in the process of both building a new Judicial Center and preparing a plan to temporarily relocate Courthouse operations. That relocation will likely take about a year.

The Plaintiffs also can’t speak, but in a previous 7News story, here’s how one described the symptoms.

‘We had 2 people in the office that suffered a bloody nose, myself and a coworker, nose just started bleeding out of the blue, those are some of the small things we had, we have the headaches that are excruciating, light headedness, dizziness,” said Johniece Wofford back in November of 2017.

Attorney Ryan Langley is representing other courthouse workers, but he is pursuing actions through workers compensation.

“It’s always challenging to sue the government. It used to be you couldn’t sue the government at all, until the Torts Claims Act waived immunity.”

He says the catch is, this latest case would be easier to argue if the plaintiffs were not employees. But because they are, their attorney must prove an exception to workers comp, mainly that the county intentionally let the situation continue.

Hinson says she plans to argue the mold exposure is outside the realm of workers comp for a court employee.

Clerk of Court Hope Blackley told us “because it’s pending litigation I cannot comment on that, but this has been going on since 2014.”

That’s the same year, Blackley first requested a new courthouse before County Council because of mold.

The lawsuit also lists the symptoms of each plaintiff. We checked with health professionals who say, while those mainly respiratory symptoms can have many causes, they are consistent with toxic mold.

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