Cabell County School Board sues travel company over refunds for canceled trips
CABELL COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – The Cabell County School Board is suing a travel company that it says failed to reimburse students for trips canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cabell County Schools says the lawsuit was filed in Cabell County Circuit Court against Eric A. Morrison and ET Advisor Services, LLC. The lawsuit alleges that during the 2019-20 school year, the company collected a total of $136,500 from families at Milton Middle School and Barboursville Middle School for trips the schools had planned to Washington, D.C. DC. The travel agency is based in Ona, West Virginia.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these planned trips had to be cancelled. The Cabell County BOE alleges that the defendants failed to return those funds after the trips were canceled.
BOE officials said they were able to return funds that had not yet been sent to the travel agency and were still in possession of the Cabell County schools at the time the trips were canceled.
“The travel company has refused to return the funds that our students and parents have worked so hard to raise,” says Cabell County BOE President Rhonda Smalley. “When it became clear that the trips would not be taking place, our schools withheld a fifth installment the families had made and were able to return those funds.”
According to Cabell County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ryan Saxe, the travel company is expected to reimburse approximately 150 families between Milton Middle School and Barboursville Middle School.
“We recognize the burden our families had to bear because this contractor refused to reimburse them,” Saxe said. “Our main goal in taking legal action is to help these families now by helping them get their money back. We are obligated to help right this wrong done to our children and their families.
According to Smalley, the school district researched whether it was possible for the BOE to issue direct payments to families while they worked to obtain reimbursements from ET Advisor Services, however, they say they learned that they would not be legally able to do so. .
“The school district has been working diligently for nearly two years to find a way to ensure that the travel company makes our families whole,” Smalley said. “It’s disappointing to come to this, but we’ve exhausted all other avenues.”
The BOE says it is represented by attorney Thomas P. Boggs of Duffied, Lovejoy and Boggs, PLLC, in Huntington, and that Boggs will host an informal meeting for families affected by the canceled trips at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 5. , 2022 at Cabell Midland High School.