CHARLESTON - State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent D. Benjamin has appointed new members to the Business Court Division and the Mass Litigation Panel.

The judge appointed to the Business Court Division is Fifth Judicial Circuit Judge Thomas C. Evans III, who replaced former 22nd Judicial Circuit Judge Donald C. Cookman after he resigned from the bench in January to become a state senator.

Evans' term as judge in the Business Court Division ends Oct. 9, 2019. The Business Court Division handles a specialized docket within the circuit courts that provides a process for efficiently managing and resolving litigation involving commercial issues and disputes between businesses, according to a state Supreme Court press release. It is located in Martinsburg.

Evans joins Business Court Division Chairman Christopher C. Wilkes, who is a judge in the 23rd Judicial Circuit; 11th Judicial Circuit Judge James J. Rowe; and 24th Judicial Circuit Judge James H. Young Jr.

The Business Court Division terms of Wilkes and Rowe also end on Oct. 9, 2019. Young’s term ends on Dec. 31, 2019.

Evans resigned from the Mass Litigation Panel because of his appointment to the Business Court Division. He will be replaced by Second Judicial Circuit Judge David W. Hummel, whose term will end June 30, 2015.

The Mass Litigation Panel provides a process for efficiently managing and resolving mass litigation.

Mass Litigation involves two or more civil actions pending in one or more circuit courts that involves common questions of law or fact in certain cases, including mass accidents or single catastrophic events in which a number of people are injured, personal injury mass torts, property damage mass torts, certain economic loss cases or cases involving harm or injury allegedly caused to numerous claimants by multiple defendants as a result of alleged nuisances, according to the release.

Hummel is joining 19th Judicial Circuit Judge Alan D. Moats, Ninth Judicial Circuit Judge Derek C. Swope, First Judicial Circuit Judge James P. Mazzone, 10th Judicial Circuit Judge John A. Hutchinson, Eighth Judicial Circuit Judge Booker T. Stephens and 25th Judicial Circuit Judge Jay M. Hoke.

The Mass Litigation Panel terms of Swope and Mazzone end on June 30, while Moats and Hutchinson's terms end June 30, 2014, and Hoke and Stephens' terms end June 30, 2015.

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