WHEELING – A federal judge has remanded a dispute between Mountain State Carbon and RG Steel Wheeling, ruling Brooke County judges are capable of handling the case properly.

U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp, of the Northern District of West Virginia, on Feb. 21 remanded the case to Brooke County Circuit Court, where it was originally filed.

Mountain State Carbon’s complaint alleges RG Steel, which filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May, breached contractual agreements, wrongfully eliminated members of Mountain State’s management team and stole coke.

RG Steel removed the Brooke County action to federal court after filing for bankruptcy, arguing it had related jurisdiction. RG Steel also filed a motion to transfer the venue to U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, where the bankruptcy proceedings are being held.

RG Steel argued the judges in Brooke County could not timely adjudicate the case, noting that Judge Martin Gaughan stepped away from the bench for medical leave. Gaughan suffered a stroke in 2011 but returned in June.

He was replaced by Senior Judge Fred Fox of Marion County.

“RG Steel’s assertion that this case cannot be litigated in a timely manner because of the personal circumstances of the judges placed on the case is without merit,” Stamp wrote.

“Simply because a judge on the case is located outside of the county, or because circumstances require that a new judge be assigned to preside over the case, does not, in itself, serve as evidence that the case cannot be expeditiously handled.”

Stamp also ruled that RG Steel offered no evidence that the state court proceeding would have any effect on its bankruptcy case.

“Simply asserting that the same must be considered without offering evidence of why such considerations are applicable is insufficient to show that the matter cannot be timely adjudicated in state court,” he wrote.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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