Articles Posted in West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

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Respondent filed a complaint in the Kanawha County Circuit Court asserting claims against Petitioners for breach of contract, age discrimination, unlawful retaliation, and unpaid wages. Petitioners filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that Kanawha County was not the proper venue based on the provisions of the general venue statute. The circuit court denied Petitioners’ motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court subsequently granted Petitioners’ requested writ of prohibition, holding that the trial court erred in ruling that venue was proper in Kanawha County, and instead, venue was proper in Logan County because the underlying cause of action transpired in Logan County. View "State ex rel. Thornhill Group, Inc. v. Circuit Court" on Justia Law

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In 2012, nineteen plaintiff families filed a single complaint alleging products liability and negligence claims against Defendants. In 2013, six plaintiff families filed a single complaint also alleging products liability and negligence claims against Defendants. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court referred Plaintiffs as two civil actions to the Mass Litigation Panel. The Panel entered an order that transformed the two civil actions into twenty-five separate actions. Plaintiffs sought a writ of prohibition to preclude enforcement of the order on the grounds that the Panel did not have the authority to alter their status as two civil actions. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that the Panel did not have the authority to separate the cases. View "State ex rel. J.C. v. Judge Mazzone" on Justia Law

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This case had its origins in a property damage action brought by Jason and Gina Corrick against B&B Transit, Inc. B&B Transit filed a notice and coverage claim with its insurer, Montpelier US Insurance Company. Montpelier eventually settled the case against B&B Transit. While the Corricks’ complaint was still pending, Respondents, including B&B Transit, filed a first-party bad faith claim against Petitioners, including Montpelier and its national coverage counsel, Charlston, Revich & Wollitz (“CRW”). Respondents subsequently served discovery requests on Petitioners. After CRW opposed disclosure of certain requested documents, Respondents filed a motion to compel disclosure of the documents. The circuit court entered an order requiring CRW to disclose certain documents. Petitioners sought a writ of prohibition to prevent enforcement of the circuit court’s discovery order. The Supreme Court granted the writ of prohibition as moulded, concluding that part of the circuit court’s order permitting discovery of documents sought by Respondents was prohibited from enforcement because the documents were protected under the attorney-client privilege. View "State ex rel. Montpelier US Ins. Co. v. Hon. Bloom" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed tort claims against Mine Safety Appliances Company (“MSA”). Plaintiffs settled with MSA under settlement agreements that assigned to Plaintiffs the right to recover the remainder of the settlement amount under an insurance policy that North River Insurance Company sold to MSA. MSA then amended their complaints to add claims against North River, and MSA filed cross-claims against North River. In the meantime, earlier-filed litigation between North River and MSA was pending in Pennsylvania and Delaware. North River filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion for a stay of the proceedings, arguing that West Virginia was an inconvenient forum and the proceedings should be dismissed pending resolution of the out-of-state litigation. The circuit court denied the motions. The Supreme Court denied the writ of prohibition subsequently sought by North River, holding that the circuit court did not err in (1) denying North River’s motion to dismiss where strong deference was according to Plaintiffs’ choice of forum and considerations relevant to a forum non conveniens analysis suggest no basis for dismissal of the action; and (2) denying the motion to stay the proceedings, as it would be unfair and prejudicial to Plaintiffs to delay the trials unnecessarily. View "State ex rel. N. River Ins. Co. v. Circuit Court" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Petitioner was convicted of one count of wanton endangerment and sentenced to a five-year term of imprisonment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court did not err by denying Petitioner’s motion to suppress evidence taken from his residence because, under the circumstances, the warrantless search of the residence was allowed under the emergency doctrine exception, and even in the absence of exigent circumstances, the police officers were entitled to conduct a protective search; and (2) the circuit court did not err in allowing the jury to hear testimony regarding the out-of-court identification of Petitioner made by the victim. View "State v. Kimble" on Justia Law