Articles Posted in Government Law

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Petitioner was a police officer, and later police chief, employed by the City of Montgomery. In 2011, Petitioner’s employment was terminated. Petitioner filed a complaint against the City and the Mayor (collectively, Respondents), asserting that he was discharged without a pre-termination hearing in violation of W. Va. Code 8-14A-1 and in contravention of public policy because he refused to place a GPS tracking device in another officer’s police car. The circuit court granted Respondents’ motion to dismiss, concluding (1) Petitioner was not entitled to a pre-termination hearing; and (2) Respondents were entitled to qualified immunity because Respondents’ alleged conduct did not violate clearly established laws of which a reasonable official would have known. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding (1) the circuit court properly ruled that Petitioner was not entitled to a pre-termination hearing; but (2) Petitioner’s complaint alleged sufficient facts to support a claim for wrongful discharge in violation of a substantial public policy, and therefore, Respondents were not entitled to qualified immunity from Petitioner’s cause of action for wrongful discharge.View "Brown v. City of Montgomery" on Justia Law

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The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) revoked the driver’s licenses of Respondents following their arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol. The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) reversed the revocation of Respondents’ driver’s licenses, concluding that the evidence did not establish that Respondents had been lawfully arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. The circuit court denied the DMV’s petitions for judicial review. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for reinstatement of the respective DMV orders revoking Respondents’ driver’s licenses, holding that Respondents were lawfully arrested, and the OAH’s findings to the contrary were clearly wrong.View "Dale v. Odum" on Justia Law

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Thomas and Lori Likens filed a complaint against Petitioners in the circuit court, alleging several claims, including the allegation that Skyline had negligently designed and built their manufactured home. Petitioners filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, alleging that the Likenses were required to file an administrative complaint with the West Virginia Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Board (the Board) as a prerequisite to the filing of their civil complaint. The circuit court denied Petitioners’ motion to dismiss, concluding that W. Va. Code 21-9-11a did not require the Likenses to first file an administrative complaint seeking relief with the Board before asserting their claim seeking damages. Petitioners requested the Supreme Court to issue a writ of prohibition to prevent the circuit court from enforcing its order. The Court granted the requested writ, concluding that W. Va. Code 21-9-11a(b) requires an aggrieved party to file an administrative complaint with the Board before he or she may file a civil lawsuit for monetary damages. View " State ex rel. Skyline Corp. v. Circuit Court" on Justia Law

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Petitioners purchased a house for $234,000. Six months later, the County Assessor appraised the property and found its fair market value was $355,200. The Board of Review upheld the Assessor's valuation. The circuit court affirmed. On appeal, Petitioners asserted that the circuit court erred by failing to apply caselaw holding that the price paid for real estate in a recent arm's length transaction is a substantial indicator of the property's true and actual value and that the purchase of the property was in an arm's length transaction on the open real estate market. The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court's order affirming the Board of Review, holding that the circuit court erred by failing to consider the purchase price of Petitioners' property. Remanded.View "Wright v. Banks" on Justia Law

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Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital (Beckley ARH) was a voluntary provider of medical services through the Medicaid program pursuant to an agreement executed between it and the West Virginia Bureau for Medical Services (BMS). Beckley ARH filed a lawsuit against the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and its secretary and the BMS and its commissioner (collectively, Respondents), seeking a remedy for inadequate Medicaid reimbursement rates. The circuit court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that W. Va. Code 9-15-16 and 16-29B-20 do not provide for an express or implied private cause of action by a Medicaid provider for judicial review of reimbursement rates for medical services.View "Appalachian Reg'l Healthcare v. W. Va. Dep't of Health & Human Res." on Justia Law

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Petitioners in these combined cases were former public employees who filed actions in the circuit court alleging violations of the West Virginia Human Rights Act (WVHRA). The circuit courts dismissed the complaints for Petitioners' failures to exhaust their administrative remedies, concluding that the exhaustion of administrative remedies available pursuant to the West Virginia Public Employees Grievance Procedure was a necessary precondition to the filing of a circuit court action. The Supreme Court reversed the rulings of the circuit courts, holding (1) a public employee, whose employment confers grievance rights before the West Virginia Public Employees Grievance Board, is not required to exhaust the administrative Grievance Procedure before initiating a complaint in the circuit court alleging violations of the WVHRA; and (2) the commencement of the Grievance Procedure does not preclude the institution of a circuit court action prior to exhaustion of the Grievance Procedure. Remanded.View "Weimer v. Sanders" on Justia Law