2017-08-30 / News

Attorney wants case against county, former deputy dropped or moved to Morgan

by Kate Shunney

A civil case filed in a Hampshire County court in June against two individuals, a former Morgan County deputy and the Morgan County Commission should be dismissed or heard in Morgan County, according to an attorney in the case.

Christopher Petersen of Bowles Rice LLP filed a motion on Friday, August 25 in Hampshire County Circuit Court asking a judge to drop or move the case.

In June, Cason Gross Jr. of Paw Paw filed the case, alleging that his cousin, her exhusband and a Morgan County Sheriff’s deputy conspired to bring bogus criminal charges against him.

Gross claims that Melanie Davis-Allison contacted Deputy Cliff Cobern in 2015 with accusations that Gross had sexually assaulted her during a 2006 rafting trip in Fayette County.

His case claims that Cobern had no jurisdiction to investigate the allegations, since the rafting trip took place elsewhere, but that Cobern secretly recorded a phone conversation between Gross and his accuser. The case was later turned over to the West Virginia State Police, say court documents.

A Fayette County prosecutor did charge Gross with sexual assault in June 2016, but a Fayette County Grand Jury dismissed the charges.

Gross is suing Allison for malicious prosecution, abuse of process and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He is claiming that Cobern participated in a conspiracy with Allison and her ex-husband to pursue the false charges. The Morgan County Commission is named in the case as the employer of Cobern at the time. Cobern was fired from the Sheriff’s Department earlier this year for “policy violations.”

Last Friday’s legal motion asks that a Hampshire County judge dismiss the case against Cobern, Allison and Davis or transfer the case to Morgan County.

None of the defendants live in Hampshire County. Allison lives in North Carolina, Davis resides in Maryland and Cobern lives in Morgan County.

“The Defendants are accused of maliciously prosecuting a charge in Fayette County, abusing the criminal process in Fayette County, and conspiring against Plaintiff in Morgan County. None of the alleged wrongful acts occurred in Hampshire County,” the motion reads.

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