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Date Posted: 08:31:46 11/08/15 Sun
Lawsuit filed against Miss West Virginia Scholarship Organization Inc.
Posted: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 4:56 pm
by Matt Harvey, Assistant Managing Editor
CLARKSBURG — A Liberty High School alumna and her parents are suing the Miss West Virginia Scholarship Organization Inc., asserting the group falsely promised an in-kind scholarship as an award for winning 2013 Miss West Virginia Outstanding Teen.
Emily Lopez, 18, of Lumberport, and her parents, Shannon and James Lopez, assert they decided she would attend West Virginia Wesleyan College based on the Miss West Virginia Scholarship Organization’s promise of a $5,000 in-kind scholarship.
But upon entry to college, Ms. Lopez learned Wesleyan “did not agree with the defendant, Miss West Virginia Scholarship Organization Inc., to provide a $5,000 in-kind scholarship,” Clarksburg attorney Greg Schillace claims in the lawsuit filed this week in Harrison County Circuit Court.
The Miss West Virginia Scholarship Organization Inc. had a duty to properly advise “of true and accurate benefits of winning the competition’s operated by the defendant,” Schillace asserted.
An exhibit attached by Schillace and purportedly from the Miss West Virginia Scholarship Organization promised various in-kind scholarships at institutions around the state, including $30,000 from Wesleyan.
Although many students at Wesleyan receive scholarships that can cut the cost in half or better, room and board and tuition at the college is more than $35,000 a year.
Lopez is currently a student at Wesleyan, where Bernie Valento, vice president of enrollment management, said university officials “are confident she will flourish as a Wesleyan student.”
A Wesleyan spokeswoman declined further comment about the lawsuit, saying “it would be very inappropriate for our college to take any position on the matter.”
The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, and damages for “annoyance, aggravation, and inconvenience.”
Schillace has requested a jury trial.
A phone message left Wednesday with Leah Summers, listed as executive director of the Miss West Virginia Scholarship Organization, wasn’t immediately returned.
The lawsuit against the Miss West Virginia Scholarship Organization has been assigned to Harrison Circuit Judge James A. Matish.
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