Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State ex rel. Fairmont State University Board of Governors v. Wilson

Supreme Court of West Virginia

November 1, 2017

STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA ex rel. FAIRMONT STATE UNIVERSITY BOARD OF GOVERNORS, Petitioner
v.
THE HONORABLE PATRICK N. WILSON, GALEN HANSEN, ALBERT MAGRO, and WEST VIRGINIA HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY COMMISSION, Respondents

          Submitted: October 17, 2017

         Petition for Writ of Prohibition WRIT GRANTED

          Patrick Morrissey, Esq. Attorney General Dawn E. George, Esq. Assistant Attorney General Charleston, West Virginia Counsel for the Petitioner

          Jerry A. Carbo, Esq. Shippensburg, Pennsylvania Counsel for the Respondents, Galen Hanson and Albert Magro

          Candace Kraus, Esq. West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission Charleston, West Virginia Counsel for the Respondent, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission

         SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

         1. "Actions wherein a state agency or official is named, whether as a principle party or third-party defendant, may be brought only in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County." Syl. Pt. 2, Thomas v. Bd. of Educ, 167 W.Va. 911, 280 S.E.2d 816 (1981), disapproved on other grounds by Hansbarger v. Cook, 177 W.Va. 152, 157 n.5, 351 S.E.2d 65, 70 n.5 (1986).

         2. Under West Virginia Code § 14-2-2a [2004], a lawsuit in which West Virginia University or Marshall University is made a party defendant shall be brought in the circuit court of any county in which the cause of action arose, unless otherwise agreed by the parties. This statutory exception to the general rule that an action against a state agency may be brought only in Kanawha County applies exclusively to lawsuits against West Virginia University or Marshall University.

          OPINION

          KETCHUM JUSTICE

         The Fairmont State University Board of Governors ("Fairmont State") and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission ("HEPC") were sued in the Circuit Court of Marion County by some faculty members of Fairmont State. Fairmont State and the HEPC filed identical motions to dismiss the lawsuit based on, among other things, improper venue. The circuit court denied both motions to dismiss.

         Fairmont State requests that we issue a writ prohibiting the circuit court from hearing the lawsuit against it and the HEPC. West Virginia's venue statutes require that the lawsuit against Fairmont State and the HEPC be filed in Kanawha County. The circuit court exceeded its legitimate powers by holding otherwise. Therefore, we issue the requested writ of prohibition.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On March 3, 2017, some faculty members at Fairmont State sued their university's Board of Governors and the HEPC in Marion County Circuit Court. The lawsuit alleges that Fairmont State deliberated and decided on public matters in private meetings in violation of the West Virginia Open Meetings Act (West Virginia Code §§ 6-9A-1 to -12 [1975]) and that it did not fully comply with the plaintiffs' Freedom of Information Act request. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the HEPC failed to exercise its oversight responsibility over Fairmont State to prevent it from acting illegally. The faculty members sought injunctive relief, a writ of mandamus, and a declaratory judgment.

         Fairmont State and the HEPC filed identical motions to dismiss the lawsuit based on, among other things, improper venue. They asserted that, subject to exceptions which do not apply in this case, lawsuits against state agencies must be filed in Kanawha County. The circuit court denied Fairmont State's and the HEPC's motions to dismiss and held that Marion County was a proper venue to hear the lawsuit. In response, Fairmont State filed its petition for a writ of prohibition with this Court.

         II. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.