Articles Posted in West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

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The Racing Commission suspended certain jockeys' occupational permits for thirty days and imposed fines for the jockeys' failure to declare an overweight amount. Afterwards, PNGI Charles Town Gaming (PNGI), a non-party in the underlying action, excluded the jockeys from its facility. The circuit court (1) entered an injunction and stayed the imposition of sanctions by the Racing Commission until the conclusion of a hearing before the Commission; and (2) extended the injunction and the stay to include PNGI, preventing PNGI from excluding the jockeys from PGNI's premises pending the outcome of the jockeys' administrative appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) an ejection of a permit holder by a racing association or its stewards is subject to review by the Commission, and therefore, the jockeys, as permit holders, had the right to appeal the ejection, and PNGI was bound by the Commission's decision, subject to judicial review; and (2) PNGI waived its assigned errors regarding the injunction and stay. View "PNGI Charles Town Gaming, LLC v. Reynolds" on Justia Law

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First National Keystone Bank retained an independent accounting firm to audit its records at a time that members of the bank's management were fraudulently concealing the bank's financial condition. The accounting firm issued a clean audit concerning the bank. It was later discovered that the bank had overstated its assets by over $500 million. Upon investigation, the FDIC concluded that the law firm that represented the bank had engaged in legal malpractice. The FDIC settled its claims against the law firm. The accounting firm was later found liable to the FDIC in federal district court for a negligent bank audit. The accounting firm subsequently sued the law firm, alleging fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and tortious interference with the accounting firm's contract to perform the audit. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the law firm. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the claims of the accounting firm against the law firm were, in reality, contribution claims rather than direct or independent claims and were, therefore, barred by the settlement agreement between the law firm and the FDIC. View "Grant Thornton, LLP v. Kutak Rock, LLP" on Justia Law

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Petitioner power companies sought a writ of prohibition in connection with a ruling of the circuit court denying petitioners' motion to dismiss a breach of contract complaint filed against them by respondents, Shell Equipment and Shell Energy, as being barred by the statute of limitations. Petitioners argued that the trial court erred in ruling that the limitations period applicable to contracts for the sale of goods under the UCC does not apply to the coal sales agreement they entered into with Shell Equipment. The Supreme Court granted the writ of prohibition, finding that petitioners demonstrated clear legal error for which they were entitled to relief. The Court determined that the subject agreement constituted a sale of goods under W.V. Code 46-2-107(1), and, as a result, the four-year statute of limitations established by the UCC for the sales of goods was controlling. Because respondents did not initiate the lawsuit until after the limitations period had expired, the trial court committed error in failing to grant petitioners' motion to dismiss.

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Plaintiffs William and Connie Huston sought to enforce the terms of a global class action settlement agreement in the circuit court when defendants Mercedes-Benz and Smith Motor Cars allegedly refused to repair the plaintiffs' sports utility vehicle in accordance with the settlement agreement. The defendants moved to dismiss, claiming that the circuit court did not have jurisdiction to adjudicate the Hustons' claims. The circuit court certified to the Supreme Court the question of the circuit court's authority to adjudicate the plaintiffs' lawsuit against the defendants. The Supreme Court concluded that the circuit court did not have jurisdiction to consider the plaintiffs' lawsuit because continuing jurisdiction over the settlement agreement had been retained by the federal district court where the global class action settlement agreement was originally reached. As such, the plaintiffs could not properly maintain their suit against the defendants in the circuit court.

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In 2010, a professional debt collector began aggressively attempting to collect a deficiency balance Linda Barr allegedly owed to a bank on a motorcycle loan. According to Barr, the debt collector, among other tactics, misrepresented facts to her and improperly accessed and used information from Barr's and her husband's credit report. Barr filed a complaint against the bank and the debt collector, alleging violations of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act. The debt collector moved to dismiss. The district court certified the question of whether a consumer has a private cause of action against a professional debt collector who has engaged in debt collection practices that are prohibited under the Act to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court held that the Act does provide a consumer with such a cause of action.