Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court upholding the order of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) rescinding George Zipf’s driver’s license revocation. Zipf was arrested at a sobriety checkpoint for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Consequently, the Department of Motor Vehicles revoked his driver’s license. The OAH found insufficient evidence that the DUI arrest was lawful and rescinded the driver’s license revocation. The circuit court upheld the OAH’s order. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that there was sufficient evidence that Zipf’s DUI arrest was lawful, and therefore, the circuit court erred in upholding the OAH’s order. View "Reed v. Zipf" on Justia Law

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The circuit court erred in granting a writ of mandamus in favor of the Nicholas County Board of Education (Board) requiring the West Virginia Board of Education and the State Superintendent of Schools (collectively, the WVBOE) to approve the Board’s amended consolidated educational facilities plan (CEFP), which constituted a prerequisite to the Board’s efforts to consolidate four Nicholas County schools and its Career and Technical Education Center. The circuit court found (1) the WVBOE lacks the authority to reject a county board’s CEFP if the county complies with certain regulatory requirements; and (2) the WVBOE’s stated reasons for rejecting the CEFP amendment were arbitrary and capricious. The Supreme Court held (1) the WVBOE is vested with authority to exercise its discretion in accepting or rejecting an amended CEFP, and mere procedural compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements does not entitle a county board of education to approval of its proposed plan; and (2) the reasons adopted by the WVBOE for rejection of the plan were neither arbitrary nor capricious. View "West Virginia Board of Education v. Board of Education of the County of Nicholas" on Justia Law

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When a child is born alive, the presence of illegal drugs in the child’s system at birth constitutes sufficient evidence that the child is an abused and/or neglected child, as those terms are defined by W. Va. Code 49-1-201, to support the filing of an abuse and neglect petition pursuant to W. Va. Code 49-4-601 The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources filed an abuse and neglect petition against Father alleging that Child was an abused and/or neglected child. The allegations of Father’s misconduct included his failure to protect Child from Mother’s drug use - both prenatal and ongoing after Child’s birth - and his continuing association with Mother. Father filed a motion to dismiss the petition claiming that because an abuse and neglect proceeding could not be brought to protect a child who has not yet been born, a parent could not be charged with injuries in utero. The circuit court agreed to certify a question to the Supreme Court insofar as it was deemed to be determinative of Father’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court answered the question as reformulated. View "In re A.L.C.M." on Justia Law

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An inmate injured while working at a work release center is not entitled to workers' compensation benefits. William Crawford sought workers’ compensation benefits for a severe injury he sustained during his period of confinement at the Charleston Work Release Center. The claims administrator rejected Crawford’s application for benefits based upon its determination that he did not suffer an injury in the course of and resulting from his employment because Crawford was an inmate and not an employee as defined under W. Va. Code 23-4-1(a). The office of judges and Workers’ Compensation Board of Review affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Board did not err in ruling that Crawford was not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits pursuant to W. Va. Code 23-4-1e(b); and (2) there was no violation of Crawford’s equal protection rights. View "Crawford v. West Virginia Department of Corrections - Work Release" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court ruled that the revocation of the driver’s license of Respondent was improper, thus rejecting the arguments of the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on appeal. The Court affirmed the order of the circuit court, which reversed the decision of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) that had affirmed the DMV’s revocation of Respondent’s driver’s license. The Court held that the circuit court did not err in concluding that the OAH’s delay in issuing its decision was prejudicial to Respondent and declined to address the merits of DMV’s two remaining assignments of error. View "Reed v. Staffileno" on Justia Law

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Domestic Violence Survivors’ Support Group, Inc. (DVCC), a non-profit corporation that provides counseling services to victims of domestic violence, applied for a behavioral health center license. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification (OHFLAC) denied the application for licensure on the ground that DVCC does not employ a licensed counselor. The circuit court affirmed the administrative decision. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that OHFLAC’s interpretation of its administrative rule as requiring all professional counselors to be professionally licensed was contrary to the statutory and regulatory schemes. Remanded. View "Domestic Violence Survivors' Support Group, Inc. v. West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was the proposed expansion of municipal geographic boundaries by minor boundary adjustment by the City of Summersville, West Virginia, as approved by the Nicholas County Commission. Petitioners brought this action against the County Nicholas Commission and its members (collectively, Respondents), alleging that certain statutory requirements governing annexation were not met during the approval process, the annexation was not in the best interests of Nicholas County, the annexation amounted to a public nuisance, and that the annexation resulted in an unconstitutional taking of property without compensation. The circuit court granted the County Commission’s motion for summary judgment in part and denied Petitioners’ motion for summary judgment in part, concluding that the County Commission complied with the statutory requirements in entering the order on boundary adjustment, which authorized the City’s annexation of the property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in affirming the County Commission’s determination to approve the City’s petition for an annexation by minor boundary adjustment. View "Coffman v. Nicholas County Commission" on Justia Law

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Seven entities under contract to provide residential services to youth in the state (collectively, Petitioners) filed a petition for writ of mandamus requiring the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services (DHHR), its Cabinet Secretary, the West Virginia Bureau for Medical Services (BMS), its Acting Commissioner, the Bureau for Children and Families (BCF), and its Commissioner (collectively, Respondents) to promulgate new or amended legislative rules prior to implementing changes to existing residential child care services policies. The Supreme Court granted a writ as moulded, finding it most appropriate to order this matter to be docketed in this circuit court as if it were an original proceeding in mandamus in that court. Remanded for further proceedings. View "State ex rel. Pressley Ridge v. W. Va. Department of Health & Human Resources" on Justia Law

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W. Va. Code 11-15A-10a affords taxpayers a credit for sales taxes paid to other states, which offsets the West Virginia Motor Fuel Use Tax (“use tax”) a fuel importer must pay under W. Va. Code 11-15A-13a. After it was assessed a use tax on the fuel it uses in West Virginia, CSX Transportation sought a refund of the sales taxes it had paid on its motor fuel purchases to cities, counties, and localities of other sales pursuant to section 11-15A-10a. The Tax Commissioner rejected the refund request. The Office of Tax Appeals (OTA) granted CSX’s refund request and vacated the assessment, finding that CSX was entitled to a credit under section 11-15A-10a for the sales taxes it paid to other states’ subdivisions on its purchases of motor fuel therein. The circuit court affirmed. The Tax Commissioner appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred by not limiting the credit to sales taxes paid only to other states upon the purchase of a motor fuel. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the sales tax credit afforded by section 11-15A-10a applies both to sales taxes paid to other states and to sales taxes paid to the municipalities of other states. View "Matkovich v. CSX Transportation, Inc." on Justia Law

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This proceeding consisted of four consolidated appeals. The issue in two of the appeals was whether the alternative-energy infrastructures installed by Petitioners for their businesses met the statutory definition of “qualified alternative fuel vehicle refueling infrastructure” for the purpose of receiving an alternative-fuel infrastructure tax credit. The issue in the other two appeals was whether the alternative-energy infrastructures installed by Petitioners for their residences met the statutory definition of “qualified alternative fuel vehicle home refueling infrastructure” for the purpose of receiving an alternative fuel-infrastructure tax credit. The circuit court affirmed the final orders of the West Virginia Office of Tax Appeals that denied Petitioners’ requests for alternative-fuel infrastructure tax credits under W. Va. Code 11-6d-4(c). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in its judgment. View "Martin Distributing Co. v. Matkovich" on Justia Law