IN THE COURT OF CLAIMS OF THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA
IN THE MATTER OF:
Travis W. Harris, Jr.
O R D E R
Claimant appeared in person.
Benjamin F. Yancey, III, Assistant Attorney General, for the State of West Virginia.
An application of the claimant, Travis W. Harris, Jr., for an award under the West Virginia
Crime Victims Compensation Act, was filed May 13, 2003. The report of the Claim Investigator,
filed January 23, 2004, recommended that the claim be held in abeyance, to which the claimant filed
no response. An Order was issued on March 19, 2004, denying the claim, in response to which the
claimant's request for hearing was filed March 24, 2004. This matter came on for hearing April 28,
2004, claimant appearing pro se and the State of West Virginia by counsel, Benjamin F. Yancey, III,
Assistant Attorney General.
On March 3, 2003, the 42-year-old claimant was the victim of criminally injurious conduct
in Charleston, Kanawha County. The claimant was struck in the face by flying glass at a bar.
The claimant testified at the hearing of this matter that on the evening in question, he and his
girlfriend, Alice Terry had gone to Clo & Mahone's Lounge on West Washington Street in Charleston. At about 2:45 a.m., they made the "last call" for alcohol. Alice Terry was on the dance
floor, and the claimant approached her, told her that he was ready to go, and turned around. As he
did so, a glass or beer bottle struck him in the forehead after it ricocheted off the ceiling fan. The
claimant suffered lacerations above both eyebrows and on the forehead. In addition, his glasses were
scraped. No one was ever charged in the incident.
The claimant was dazed, but not unconscious. He was treated and released at St. Francis
Hospital. Because of the open wounds, he was not permitted to return to work at Arthur B. Hodges
nursing home where he had been working for only one week.
The claimant testified that he incurred medical expenses, lost two months' work, and needs
new glasses as the result of the incident.
Also testifying was the claimant's girlfriend, Alice Terry, who corroborated the claimant's
version of the events. She stated that when the glass shattered, fragments went all over her, too, but
she was wearing a hat which provided protection. She confirmed that the claimant was struck in the
forehead, and there was a lot of blood. She drove him to the hospital.
This Court's initial denial of an award was based upon the claimant's alleged contributory
misconduct. A statement by the bar co-owner, Robert Mahone, was that the claimant was punched
by another patron because of he was "messing with" the other man's girlfriend. The claimant
vehemently denied that entire statement.
Based upon the evidence presented, this Court is convinced that the claimant was in fact an
innocent victim of crime. The Claim Investigator was directed to prepare an economic loss analysis
of the claimant's unreimbursed allowable expenses, which he did via memorandum dated August 4,
Accordingly, an award of $2,932.00 is hereby granted as documented. Should the claimant
later submit proof of any additional unreimbursed allowable expenses relating to this incident, they
will be reviewed by the Court at that time.