Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court affirming the order of the Public Grievance Board denying as untimely the grievance brought by Melissa Wilfong challenging the alleged failure to the Board of Education of Randolph County to place her in a full-time administrative position, holding that Wilfong's grievance was untimely. Wilfong was employed as a half-time principal and half-time teacher at Valley Head Elementary School, which closed at the end of the 2016-2017 school year. In April 2017 the Board notified Wilfong that she had been approved for transfer to another position but informed her that she did not yet have an assignment for the following school year. In August 2017, Wilfong accepted a full-time teaching position. That same day, Wilfong filed her grievance complaining that the Board failed to place her in an administrative position. The Grievance Board denied the grievance as untimely. The circuit court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Wilfong filed her grievance outside the fifteen-day window provided by W. Va. Code 6C-2-4(a)(1), the grievance was not timely filed. View "Wilfong v. Randolph County Board of Education" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court reversing a decision of the West Virginia Public Employees Grievance Board that had dismissed, as untimely filed, a grievance filed by Respondent, holding that there was no basis in the record for the circuit court to find that the Board improperly dismissed Respondent's grievance as untimely filed. Respondent filed a grievance alleging that he should have been appointed for a position in the Highway Engineer classification with the West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH). The Board granted DOH's motion to dismiss the grievance as untimely filed. The circuit court reversed, finding that the grievance was timely filed under the discovery rule. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the time period for filing an employment selection grievance under W. Va. Code 6C-2-4(a)(1) begins when the grievance is unequivocally notified of the selection decision by the employer, not when the grievance discovers facts about the person selected for the position. View "West Virginia Division of Highways v. Powell" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the final order of the circuit court reversing the order of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) revoking Respondent's driver's license for driving under the influence (DUI), holding that the OAH's findings were not clearly wrong and that the circuit court abused its discretion in substituting its judgment for that of the fact finder. After unsuccessfully challenging the revocation of her license with the OAH Respondent appealed to the circuit court. The court found that that OAH clearly erred in weighing the facts and in applying the law and legal standards and that OAH's final order was an abuse of discretion and was clearly erroneous. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for reinstatement of the administrative order revoking Respondent's driver's license, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion when it substituted its own view of the evidence for that of the OAH. View "Frazier v. S.P." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner's requested writ of certiorari to vacate an opinion issued by the West Virginia Legislative Claims Commission, holding that the opinion of the Claims Commission was not reviewable by the Supreme Court on a writ of certiorari at this procedural posture. Following the death of her son, Petitioner submitted a notice of claim with the Claims Commission against the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Highways. The opinion of the Claims Commission stated that the Commission "[was] of the opinion to deny this claim." Petitioner then brought this action seeking a writ of certiorari from the Claims Commission's opinion. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that that review by writ of certiorari to this Court does not lie as to a non-binding recommendation of the Claims Commission made pursuant to W. Va. Code 14-2-12 that does not involve an existing or special appropriation and as to which the West Virginia Legislature has not taken final action. View "State ex rel. LaDayne v. West Virginia Legislative Claims Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court reversing the decision of the state agency that oversees law-enforcement training refusing a state university's application seeking authorization to establish and operate a new law enforcement training academy for senior university students majoring in criminal justice studies, holding that the circuit court did not err. In denying the university's application to create a new law enforcement training academy the state agency concluded that the university's proposed academy was not necessary. The circuit court reversed the state agency's decision and ordered that the agency approve the university's application, finding that the agency's decision was arbitrary, capricious, and unsupported by law. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the agency's decision to deny the university's application to establish and operate an entry-level law enforcement training academy was arbitrary, capricious, and not supported by any statutory authority. View "Division of Justice & Community Service v. Fairmont State University" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) finding that Trulargo, LLC had been unlawfully operating as a common carrier by motor vehicle and requiring it to cease such activities until it obtains a permit therefore, holding that the PSC did not err by determining Trulargo to be a common carrier and that Trulargo was required to obtain the PSC's approval before engaging in, or continuing, such activities. On appeal, Trulargo argued that the PSC erred by ruling that it was operating as a common carrier and by improperly regulating Trulargo's roll-off container rental business and the costs it charged for such service. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Trulargo's operations constituted those of a common carrier by motor vehicle such that it was required to obtain a certificate of convenience and necessity to continue its activities; and (2) Trulargo's roll-off container rental and retrieval activities were squarely within the definition of a common carrier by motor vehicle, and therefore, the PSC had the authority to regulate Trulargo's business. View "Trulargo, LLC v. Public Service Commission of West Virginia" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court affirming a decision by the West Virginia Board of Medicine that imposed professional discipline upon Dr. Omar Hasan, including a one-year suspension of his medical license with the requirement that he petition for reinstatement, holding that there was no error in the circuit court's order affirming the final order of the Board. On appeal, Hasan argued that the Board erred by failing to adopt recommended findings of fact by its hearing examiner, by misstating various facts in its final order, and by improperly considering the content of certain text messages. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Board has the authority to amend findings of fact recommended by its hearing examiner so long as it provides a reasoned, articulate decision that explains the rationale for its changes, and the Board provided such a rationale in this case; (2) the Board did not err in considering the challenged text messages; and (3) the Board did not commit reversible error by misstating certain evidence. View "Hasan v. West Virginia Board of Medicine" on Justia Law

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In these consolidated appeals from the business court's orders reversing various Boards of Assessment Appeals and rejecting the West Virginia State Tax Department's valuation of Respondents' gas wells for ad valorem tax purposes the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the business court's judgment, holding that the business court erred in two respects. Specifically, the Court held that the business court (1) did not err in concluding that the Tax Department violated the applicable regulations by improperly imposing a cap on Respondents' operating expense deductions; (2) erred in rejecting the Tax Department's interpretation of the applicable regulations concerning the inclusion of post-production expenses in the calculation of the annual industry average operating expenses; and (3) erred in crafting relief permitting an unlimited percentage deduction for operating expenses in lieu of a monetary average. View "Steager v. Consol Energy, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court denying Petitioners' appeal and petition for writ of mandamus and affirming the order issued by the Martinsburg Police Civil Service Commission, holding that the circuit court did not err in ruling that the Commission's awarding points to a candidate on competitive examination for promotion based on education credentials did not violate the requirements of the Police Civil Service Act (Act), W. Va. Code 8-14-6 to -24. Petitioners, both of the Martinsburg Police Department, sat for competitive examinations for promotions. Without the consideration of points for education, both petitioners would have finished with sufficient scores for promotion. The Commissioner heard Petitioners' arguments on the legality of awarding points for education and found no basis to deviate from its established rule. The circuit court affirmed the final order issued by the Commission. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not commit reversible error in concluding that the Commission's consideration of higher education as a component of "experience" under the Act was consistent with the Act's purpose of ensuring meritorious promotions. View "Burner v. Martinsburg Police Civil Service Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court affirming the determination of the Board of Equalization and Review that Petitioners Murray Energy Corporation and Consolidation Coal Company's coal interests were properly valued and assessed by Defendants, holding that the circuit court properly concluded that the method of valuing coal properties violated neither the statutory requirement of assessment at "true and actual value" nor the constitutional equality requirements of the West Virginia Constitution and the equal protection provisions of the United States and West Virginia Constitutions. Specifically, the Court held (1) the methodology of valuing Petitioners' coal properties for ad valorem tax valuation purposes, as set forth in West Virginia Code of State Rules 110-1I-1 et seq., does not violate the requirement set forth in W. Va. Code 11-6K-1(a) that natural resources property be assessed based upon its "true and actual value"; and (2) the valuation methodology contained in the Code of State Rules does not violate the equality provision of W. Va. Const. art. X, 1 or the equal protection provisions of the United States and West Virginia Constitutions. View "Murray Energy Corp. v. Steager" on Justia Law