Senate Bill No. 213

(By Senators Kessler, Snyder, Harrison, Sprouse, Oliverio, Caldwell, McKenzie, Love, Fanning, Facemyer, Ross, Plymale, Boley, Sharpe, Minard, Jenkins, Bailey, Prezioso, Minear, Deem, Weeks, Helmick, Guills, Edgell, Smith, Hunter, Unger and Tomblin, Mr. President)


[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary;

reported February 13, 2003.]


A BILL to amend and reenact section one, article one, chapter fifty-six of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to venue and state courts.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section one, article one, chapter fifty-six of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:

§56-1-1. Venue generally.
(a) Any civil action or other proceeding, except where it is otherwise specially provided, may hereafter be brought in the circuit court of any county:
(1) Wherein any of the defendants may reside or the cause of action arose, except that an action of ejectment or unlawful detainer must be brought in the county wherein the land sought to be recovered, or some part thereof, is; or
(2) If a corporation be a defendant, wherein its principal office is or wherein its mayor, president or other chief officer resides; or if its principal office be not in this state, and its mayor, president or other chief officer do not reside therein, wherein it does business; or if it be a corporation organized under the laws of this state which has its principal office located outside of this state and which has no office or place of business within the state, the circuit court of the county in which the plaintiff resides or the circuit court of the county in which the seat of state government is located shall have jurisdiction of all actions at law or suits in equity against such corporation, where the cause of action arose in this state or grew out of the rights of stockholders with respect to corporate management; or
(3) If it be to recover land or subject it to a debt, wherein such where the land or any part thereof may be; or
(4) If it be against one or more nonresidents of the state, wherein where any one of them may be found and served with process or may have estate or debts due him or them; or
(5) If it be to recover a loss under any policy of insurance upon either property, life or health or against injury to a person, wherein where the property insured was situated either at the date of the policy or at the time when the right of action accrued or the person insured had a legal residence at the date of his or her death or at the time when the right of action accrued; or
(6) If it be on behalf of the state in the name of the attorney general or otherwise, wherein where the seat of government is; or
(7) If a judge of a circuit be interested in a case which, but for such interest, would be proper for the jurisdiction of his or her court, the action or suit may be brought in any county in an adjoining circuit.
(b) Whenever a civil action or proceeding is brought in the county wherein where the cause of action arose, under the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, if no defendant resides in such the county, a defendant to the action or proceeding may move the court before which the action is pending for a change of venue to a county wherein where one or more of the defendants resides and upon a showing by the moving defendant that the county to which the proposed change of venue would be made would better afford convenience to the parties litigant and the witnesses likely to be called, and if the ends of justice would be better served by such the change of venue, the court may grant such the motion.
(c) Effective for actions filed after the effective date of this section, a nonresident of the state may not bring an action in a court of this state unless all or a substantial part of the acts or omissions giving rise to the claim asserted occurred in this state. In a civil action where more than one plaintiff is joined, each plaintiff must independently establish proper venue. A person may not intervene or join in a pending civil action as a plaintiff unless the person independently establishes proper venue. If venue is not proper as to any such nonresident plaintiff in any court of this state, the court shall dismiss the claims of the plaintiff without prejudice to refiling in a court in any other state or jurisdiction.

(NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to preserve West Virginia courts for West Virginians and for nonresidents who are injured in this state.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.)