Ray Harron, M.D.
CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- Dr. Ray Harron, a Bridgeport, W.Va. radiologist, never has been to Ireland.
And the only time he was in Jamaica was for part of a day 15 years ago while on a cruise.
So Clarksburg, W. Va. attorney Jerald E. Jones said he is surprised CSX Transportation had trouble serving papers to his client in a federal lawsuit.
His client, who has reportedly earned nearly $10 million from making diagnoses that became the basis for asbestos litigation, should have been easy for CSX to find.
"The whole two weeks before that (legal advertisement) was in the newspaper, Dr. Harron was at home," Jones said.
On Oct. 24, CSX Transportation filed federal court papers in Wheeling, W. Va. seeking an extension to serve papers on Harron. CSX was trying to serve him papers regarding a lawsuit it filed in 2005 against a Pittsburgh law firm.
CSX maintains the firm and others associated with it -- including Harron -- filed false claims against it.
In March 2006 Harron chose to remain silent before a Congressional committee looking into claims of fraudulent asbestos litigation by invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege.
CSX alleges Harron "engaged in fraudulent conduct while working as a B-reader and that he either recklessly disregarded or deliberately misrepresented the content of the X-rays he read for and on behalf of the defendant Peirce, Raimond & Coulter, P.C."
In the court documents, CSX says it tried to serve the papers to Harron for several months. But Marc Williams, a Huntington, W. Va. attorney with Huddleston Bolen who represents CSX, wrote that the company couldn't locate the doctor anywhere and feared Harron had fled the country.
"CSXT has learned that Dr. Harron maintains a residence in several states including Texas, Florida, North Carolina and West Virginia as well as maintaining duel-citizenship with several foreign states including Ireland, Jamaica and other Caribbean nations," court papers say. "CSXT has received information through witness interviews that Dr. Harron may have fled the jurisdiction of the United States, without intention to return, in an attempt to avoid any possible civil and/or criminal matters.
"Whether Dr. Harron has specifically left the jurisdiction due to the pendency of this matter is unknown. It is upon information and belief, however, that Dr. Harron may have fled this jurisdiction in an attempt to avoid potential liability for his actions in various matters."
On Wednesday, Jones denied that Harron is a resident of multiple states.
"He has property in other states, but he is no multi-state resident," Jones said.
In the October filing, CSX also alleged Harron is trying to hide assets.
"Dr. Harron has transferred a substantial amount of his personal assets including property into his wife's name and what is believed by CSXT to be an attempt to hinder efforts to locate him through traditional methods," the motion states.
The search for Harron
Williams, in court documents, said the Harrison County (W. Va.) Sheriff's Department and private investigators hired by Huddleston Bolen couldn't find Harron either.
"Dr. Harron, in what is believed to be a deliberate attempt to avoid being located, has been able to conceal his whereabouts from CSXT preventing proper service," the papers say.
First, CSX tried to serve Harron at his Bridgeport home and office complex.
"CSXT was unsuccessful at either location being advised by his office workers that he had gone for several weeks and that it was unlikely that he would be returning soon," the court papers say.
CSX then asked the sheriff's department to serve the papers, with the same results.
The sheriff's department advised CSX "that several individuals were looking for Dr. Harron and they believed that he was located somewhere in the state of Florida, but could not provide any further information," the court motion says.
CSX then learned of other addresses for Harron in Texas. The papers were sent via certified mail, but that also was unsuccessful. CSX then hired private investigators in both West Virginia and Texas.
"These investigators have conducted a significant investigation into Dr. Harron's whereabouts, including surveillance, witness interviews and background checks to ascertain his location, but as of the date of this filing of this motion have been unsuccessful in their attempts to locate Dr. Harron," the motion states.
In a Nov. 8 memorandum, Williams wrote that Harron "has now been constructively served through Court approved publication of notice in the newspaper."
Williams wrote that Jones then contacted him.
"On November 2, 2007, following the publication in the Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram paper, CSXT attorney Marc Williams received a facsimile letter from attorney Jerald Jones indicating he had 'been contacted by Ray A. Herron regarding' this lawsuit," the memo states. "On November 5, 2007, Mr. Williams confirmed with Mr. Jones that he does represent Dr. Harron in this matter, and requested that Mr. Jones accept service on behalf of Dr. Harron."
The memo says court documents were hand-delivered to Jones the next day.
"I saw (the notice) in the paper," Jones said of how he and Harron learned of the situation. "He (Harron) had had some contact with the law firm (the Peirce firm) several months ago. They told him there was talk that CSX might amend the complaint. But we never heard anything else, so we thought it was dormant.
"So it was kind of news to us when all of this happened, but it was no surprise really."
Jones said he expects to file an answer on behalf of Harron sometime next month.
According to court filings, Harron also is represented by New York attorneys Lawrence S. Goldman and Elizabeth M. Johnson and Corpus Christi, Texas, attorney Ron Barroso.