MARTINSBURG – According to the Centers for Disease Control, opioid overdose deaths in 2015 killed West Virginians at the rate of 41.5 per 100,000 residents. Lost lives. Shattered families. An estimated millions of dollars in state, county and municipal debt thanks to the highest overdose rate in the country – one that’s three times the national average.
CHARLESTON – Leading up to and following the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia's decision in Leggett v. EQT Production Company, there was much attention given to the fact that newly elected Justice Beth Walker’s husband had held some energy stocks before the Court’s rehearing of the case. In response, Justice Walker notified the court that her husband had divested himself of ownership of shares of stock of any company engaged in the business of producing coal, oil, natural gas, wind, and solar energy.
MORGANTOWN – The January 2014 water crisis following the Freedom Industries' chemical leak affected more than 225,000 Kanawha Valley residents, workers and businesses. People had to purchase bottled water to drink and cook and had to travel outside the area to bathe. Businesses were affected too, especially restaurants, medical offices, hotels and others that depend on safe, clean water for daily operations.
CHARLESTON – A legal reform group is calling the $45 million fee request for the plaintiffs attorneys who have worked on the 2014 water crisis lawsuit and settlement a prime example of “lawsuit greed.” The executive director of West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse also said he hopes the fee amount will be “greatly reduced.” One of the attorneys who worked on the class action case, however, says the request is reasonable and says most people don’t understand all of the work and money that goes into handling such a case. And the president of a statewide group for trial lawyers says CALA is trying to distort the facts.
CHARLESTON – Two groups that frequently butt heads are doing it again, this time over a recent state Supreme Court opinion saying West Virginia is “an appeal by right jurisdiction.” In a Feb. 8 opinion about the involuntary hospitalization of a Kanawha County woman, Chief Justice Allen Loughry used a case point to stress that “all properly perfected appeals are reviewed by the (West Virginia Supreme) Court and result in a written decision on the merits of each appeal.” In the opinion, Loughry writes that the petitioner had discounted the Supreme Court’s ruling in a previous case, relying on a case styled Hammons v.