CHARLESTON – House Speaker Rick Thompson today introduced legislation calling for a year-long study of the state Supreme Court’s new appellate rules to determine whether they are providing litigants with a fair, effective and efficient appeals process.
“After lengthy review of the state’s civil justice system by an independent commission, the state Supreme Court enacted significant new appellate rules that ensure a review and written decision on each appeal filed with that court, yet critics outside West Virginia continue to attack our courts, calling them unfair,” Speaker Thompson said. “I would like for the Legislature to thoroughly examine the new appellate rules and their effect on civil procedure.”
In announcing House Concurrent Resolution 44, which was sponsored by 15 House colleagues, Speaker Thompson was joined by West Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Steve Roberts.
“This is the kind of initiative West Virginia businesses want to see coming from our Legislature,” Roberts said. “Our members will be encouraged that lawmakers are working to ensure our state’s court system treats everyone fairly. I hope that this measure receives further bipartisan support as it moves through the legislative process.”
Speaker Thompson noted that in addition to the Supreme Court rule change, the Legislature has adopted many revisions to state laws surrounding civil litigation, including laying the groundwork for the creation of the state’s new business docket within the circuit court system.
“The Supreme Court and the Legislature have taken numerous steps to address the litigation-related issues in West Virginia and to make the state’s business climate welcoming,” the Speaker said. “It’s time to find out exactly what is causing such criticism to continue and address it.”
Other members who sponsored the bill are: Majority Leader Boggs, D-Braxton; Majority Whip Mike Caputo; D-Marion, Judiciary Chairman Tim Miley, D-Harrison; Finance Chairman Harry Keith White, D-Mingo; Speaker Pro Tem Randy Swartzmiller, D-Hancock; and Delegates Bob Ashley, R-Roane; Kevin Craig, D-Cabell; John Ellem, R-Wood; Tim Manchin, D-Marion; Jim Morgan, D-Cabell; Amanda Pasdon, R-Monongalia; Daniel Poling, D-Wood; Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha; Peggy Smith, D-Lewis; and Josh Stowers, D-Lincoln.
* Photo attached: Speaker Thompson announces the initiative surrounded by delegates who cosponsored the measure, along with West Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Steve Roberts, third from left, and Chamber Vice President Brenda Harper, fourth from right. Others, from left, are Delegates Mike Caputo, John Ellem, Brent Boggs, Randy Swartzmiller, Peggy Smith, Bob Ashley, Harry Keith White and Amanda Pasdon.