Grand Opening Oct. 10: West Virginia's new business court

By The West Virginia Record | Sep 21, 2012

We're excited about the upcoming opening of the new business court in West Virginia.

Sure, it's not Disney World, or even Six Flags, but it's still a big attraction –- one that's going to make our state a more pleasant and desirable place to live and work.

For years we've had to contend with the dire consequences of West Virginia's reputation as a hostile environment for commerce: the national firms that relocate to friendlier states or refuse to consider opening here in the first place, the homegrown businesses that stagnate or go under, the sons and daughters who leave the state in hopes of finding more and better opportunities elsewhere.

Changing that unappealing image is going to take time, but the establishment of our new business court is a major step in the right direction.

The Oct. 10 grand opening of the Business Court Division of the State Supreme Court -- to be headquartered at the Berkeley County Judicial Center in Martinsburg with 23rd Circuit Judge Christopher Wilkes presiding as chairman -- comes less than two-and-a-half years after the establishment of the committee that prepared the way for it.

The West Virginia Business Court Committee was established by the state Supreme Court in June 2010 in accordance with House Bill 4352. The Committee held public forums to introduce the concept to the community and solicit comments and criticism.

The court primarily will hear cases involving complex or novel commercial issues between business litigants.

The goal was to create a healthier legal environment for commerce and, as House Speaker Rick Thompson explained at the time, send "a clear, strong message that this state is a welcoming environment for businesses."

The transparency, careful consideration and deliberate speed with which this new court was created augur well for its success. All involved can be proud of its creation, and the citizens of West Virginia grateful for the efforts.

Our new court will soon be open for business, sending a signal that West Virginia will be more open for business, too.

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