Supreme Court hears first arguments of new term

By John O'Brien | Jan 8, 2013

CHARLESTON – The state Supreme Court returned from its holiday break Jan. 8, beginning 2013 with oral arguments in several cases.

Scheduled for argument were five cases, though one was withdrawn and another was submitted on briefs without oral argument. The term is one of two held by the court each year and will run until July.

The court began 2013 with new justice Allen Loughry, a law clerk who won election in November to replace the retired Justice Thomas McHugh. Also, Robin Davis reclaimed her spot on the bench, having won re-election.

The first case heard concerned a race discrimination claim made by Monica Robinson against former employer Ten South Management. The West Virginia Human Rights Commission issued a No Probable Cause determination in 2011 after a hearing.

However, Robinson was allowed to ask for an administrative review of that finding, though Ten South Management claims her request came past a 10-day deadline. The No Probable Cause determination was reversed as a result of the review in October 2011.

Ten South Management seeks an order dismissing Robinson’s claims based on the timeliness issue, but also asks for an order granting its Motion for Issuance of Subpoena. The company seeks an order from the commission setting forth specific findings as to how Robinson met the burden to overturn the No Probable Cause determination.

Other cases scheduled for Jan. 8-9 arguments include:

-A Kanawha County case involving the circuit court’s decision not to compel arbitration under an agreement reached between a daughter and McDowell Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, which is accused of being responsible for physical and emotional trauma caused to the daughter’s mother;

-A Harrison County man convicted of sexual abuse and currently on home confinement who seeks to attend church 45 minutes away from his home;

-MTR Gaming’s claims that it should not have been found to be in civil contempt during a dispute that arose from a settlement between it and its former CEO;

-An Ohio County ruling against Advance Auto Parts that said a receipt for a car battery provided to the purchaser may constitute an express warranty, allowing a number of new claims;

-A disciplinary proceeding against attorney John Sullivan, a Kanawha County public defender who is alleged to have not responded to a client who, based on a clerical error regarding his sentencing date, believed he should be eligible for parole six months earlier than it was determined;

-A Monroe County decision involving a dispute over a will; and

-The criminal appeal of Rodney Hypes, convicted in 2009 of operating a meth lab.

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