A Roane County couple that attended law school but never obtained law licenses' in WV have been awarded what is likely the largest civil suit on record in that county.

Representing themselves, William and Harolyn Groves were awarded $704,000 from a suit against Nitro Energy, Inc. of Sagninaw, Michigan, in a dispute over oil and gas rights.

The award by Judge Robert Chafin, Sr., appointed by Judge David Nibert who recused himself, was by default, Nitro Energy failed to appear to defend themselves.

Groves reportedly questioned the veracity of Judges Nibert or Thomas Evans III to hear the case, related to earlier issues, including allegations against Evans related to malpractice before he was appointed to the bench. Evans denies any wrongdoing.

Groves and his wife also brought suit against the estate of Tom Collins of Arnoldsburg, claiming they purchased a mare from Collins that was reportedly bred.

Groves contended the mare did not bear a foal and brought suit.

Collins died from cancer in 2002, but the case continued about three years before it was reportedly settled.

Groves is a former Roane magistrate, who was once accused of shooting at juveniles on 4-wheelers, according to news accounts.

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