Tuesday, May 23
1. Estate of Garrison G. Tawney, by L. A. Goff, Exex. v. Columbia Natural Resources - 32966 - The circuit court presents the following certified questions and its answers to those questions:
Question 1: Where the royalty language is as set out in Exhibit A, may a lessee of oil and gas in West Virginia deduct money and/or volume from the lessor's 1/8 royalty payments for post-productions expenses, where the lease does not provide specifically that the lessee may take such deductions from the royalty?
The circuit court answered this question: "No."
Question 2: Where in an oil and gas lease there is no specific provision allowing for deduction of post-production expenses does language such as "wholesale market at the well," "amount realized at the well," "net revenue realized," "1/8 of price," "net of all costs beyond the wellhead," and other language as set forth on Exhibit A, grant to the lessee the right to deduct post-production expenses from the lessor's royalty (assuming for purposes of this question that such expenses were reasonable and actually incurred)?
The circuit court answered this question: "No." - Chief Justice Davis and Justice Benjamin disqualified. Judge Kaufman and Judge Kirkpatrick sitting by temporary assignment.
2. Pamela Blethen, et al. v. WV Dept. of Revenue/State Tax Dept. & WV Div of Personnel - 32962 - Petitioners are 29 employees and former employees of the WV State Tax Department . These individuals initially filed two sets of separate grievances that were consolidated in the present grievance at Level IV. After the Level IV hearing, the WV Education and State Employees Grievance Board denied Grievances on procedural issues, standing, timeliness and res judicata. On March 17, 2005, the lower court affirmed, in part, and remanded, in part , the board's decision. The lower court affirmed the dismissal of some of the grievances at issue based on lack of standing of former State employees to file grievances and the application of res judicata. Petitioners assert that the lower court was erroneous on the standing and res judicata rulings. - Chief Justice Davis disqualified. Judge Kirkpatrick sitting by temporary assignment.
3. State of W. VA. v. Damien Ricketts - 32896 - Petitioner appeals from a July 15, 2005 conviction for misdemeanor battery. He was sentenced to twelve months in the North Central Regional Jail.
4. Lawyer Disciplinary Board v. John Patrick Ball, et al. - 31794 - The Court will hear argument in this lawyer disciplinary matter. - Justice Starcher disqualified. Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker sitting by temporary assignment.
5. Marfork Coal Co. v. Director, WV DEP & Janice Nease and Freda Williams - 32874 - This action arises out of the W.Va. Dept. of Environmental Protection's suspension of a Marfork Coal Company surface mining permit. The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals remanded a previous appeal on October 25, 2004 for consideration of the substantive issues.
6. Mary Rose v. Billy Wayne Dunlap - 32901- Mr. Dunlap appeals two orders entered by the Circuit Court of Randolph County on 12/22/04, in which the court modified in part, affirmed in part the order of the Family Court of Randolph County entered on 09/02/04 adopting a parenting plan in regard to Mr. Dunlap and Mrs. Rose's minor child. - To be presented on briefs only without oral argument.
7. SER Thomas Henderson v. Hon. Mark Karl, Judge - 32970 - Petitioners seeks to compel the circuit court to rule on a pending habeas corpus petition. - To be presented on briefs only without oral argument.
8. SER Donald C. Conway v. Hon. Martin J. Gaughan, Judge - 32971 - Defendant, pro se, convicted by guilty plea to incest and sexual abuse, seeks issuance of a writ of mandamus arguing that the circuit clerk has not docketed his underlying habeas corpus petition as required by law. - To be presented on briefs only without oral argument.
9. SER Joseph E. Howard v. Circuit Court of Pocahontas County - 33008 - Dismissed.