Dollarhide And Super-America Settle Eagerly-awaited trial of clerk shooting robber cancelled

PAINTSVILLE—Charles Dollarhide, a 28-year-old resident of Van Lear, says he was getting “more and more nervous” about his after-midnight job at Super-America convenience store on Star Fire Hill because he was alone and vulnerable and that sometimes people would come into the store and, in his opinion, “just look around as if they were casing the place.” He says he reported his feelings and suspicions to his bosses and requested that an additional person work with him at night “but got turned down,” he said. Dollarhide says that he became very suspicious of one particular person who often came into the store “around two in the morning” and says “I knew that he intended to rob the place.”
Fearing for his safety, Dollarhide, carried a pistol to work with him on the night of October 18 last year and, he says, “it sure is a good thing I did so. If I hadn’t I wouldn’t be here to talk to you about it.”
According to a lawsuit filed for Dollarhide by local lawyer, John Kirk, Dollarhide was behind the counter placing items on a shelf when he turned around to see a gunman “pointing his pistol right at my head.” Fearing he would be shot, he says he fell to the floor and rolled while getting his own gun, a .32, from his pocket. Dollarhide says that the gunman—later identified as Burl Blankenship from Auxier—fired several shots at him, but missed. Although Blankenship missed, Dollarhide did not. “I hit him two times in the head,” Dollarhide said. Blankenship was later taken to a hospital in critical condition. After an investigation, no criminal charges were filed against Dollarhide. “It was self-defense,” he said, “and all the cops and everyone else said so.” Fifteen months later, Blankenship remains alive but disabled.
“Having stopped an armed robbery and prevented a probable murder to boot, some might suspect that Charles Dollarhide would have become a hero, at least to his employer,” Kirk said.
Not so.
“Because I violated a company policy, I was fired,” Dollarhide said. He also said that he has been unable to get unemployment benefits and “now that I have a ‘bad record’ nobody else will hire me.”
Several months after he was fired, Dollarhide filed a $5 million lawsuit against Super-America and its parent company, Ashland Oil, claiming, in essence, that the company placed him in “an unsafe work environment” and that the company’s policy of “denying someone placed in an unsafe work environment the right to carry protection was an unreasonable restraint of his Fourth Amendment rights to bear a weapon.”
There had been a considerable amount of “street buzz” about the upcoming trial and, according to one Paintsville lawyer this writer talked with, “all the local lawyers were going to watch this trial. John is a lawyer that people like to watch try cases,” he said, “and this one seemed especially interesting. I wished it had been tried. I would have liked to see what the jury would have done.”
The parties reached settlement two days before trial for an undisclosed amount. The lawyer—who did not wish to be named—told me that he did not know the amount of settlement but that “the word” was that “the case settled for half of what John sued for.” The suit demanded $5 million.
John Kirk, Charles Dollarhide’s attorney, confirmed that the case had been settled but would not reveal the terms of the settlement. “I can only say that the case is settled and that it is over. For privacy and confidentiality reasons I cannot tell you the amounts agreed to. I can say, though, that justice has been done.”
Categories: Personal Injury

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