MORGANTOWN - A Westover man has accused former Randolph County Circuit Court Judge John Henning of falsifying court records in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Monongalia County Circuit Court.
Steve Solomon, acting as his own attorney, says Henning - now a senior status judge for the West Virginia Judiciary - falsified court records to cover up alleged violations of Solomon's constitutional rights.
According to the lawsuit, the West Virginia Judiciary recalled Henning to preside over several civil suits filed in Monongalia County Circuit Court by Solomon against other individuals on Feb. 25, 2010. Solomon claims that two of the five cases over which Henning was to preside were dismissed on Nov. 14, 2006, by Monongalia County Circuit Court Judge Russell Clawges Jr.
Henning scheduled status hearings on Nov. 18, 2013, in Monongalia County Circuit Court for several of the civil cases to which he had been assigned that involved Solomon. However, Solomon alleges that Henning allowed an "adverse party" to "discuss something about (one of) the dismissed cases, over (Solomon's) objection." The dismissed case that was discussed had not been scheduled for a status hearing on that day, and therefore, should not have been brought up, Solomon argues in his complaint.
Solomon also notes that his hearing is limited and that he "could not fully hear the discussions," noting that "Henning has been made aware of this."
Solomon alleges that on Jan. 22, 2014, Henning filed an order stating that Solomon had come to the courtroom on Nov. 18, 2013, for the purpose of a scheduled status hearing in the dismissed civil case; however, Solomon claims that a status hearing for that particular case was never scheduled.
"Henning made a false statement of what transpired at the hearing on Jan. 22," Solomon writes. "Henning made these false statements and fraudulent order to alter the record because the true record would show Henning violated Steve Solomon's rights under the 14th Amendment to U.S. Constitution, (sic) The Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause."
In the Feb. 12 lawsuit, Solomon maintains that it's "an unlawful act for Henning to prepare and enter an order, knowing that the order contains false and misleading information."
Solomon is seeking economic damages for any monetary loss as well as "noneconomic damages for aggravation, annoyance and inconvenience," attorney fees, court costs "and any other relief that the Court and/or Jury deem proper."
When reached for comment Thursday, Solomon claimed that Henning entered an order saying a status hearing for a particular case was scheduled, when in fact no status hearing was ever scheduled for that specific case.
"He has no authority to to even discuss, let alone issue an order saying it was scheduled when it wasn't," Solomon told The Inter-Mountain in a telephone interview Thursday. "It's a violation of every due process principle since the beginning of the Magna Carta.
"I guess my comment is, look at the court record," Solomon added. "Don't just take my word for it. If (court records) don't support (Solomon's complaint against Henning), then throw it out, but it is based on the record."
Solomon also said he and Henning are engaged in a "running feud."
"What Henning's trying to do is bring up cases that have long been dismissed," he said. "He has a total bias against me."
When contacted Thursday, Henning declined to comment on the accusations contained in Solomon's complaint.
"It would be inappropriate for me to comment at this time," Henning said, "but the suit has been filed, and the (West Virginia) Supreme Court (of Appeals) is aware of it. They are going to appoint an attorney to represent me, and at that time, it will be appropriate for the attorney to comment."
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at IMT_Kuba.