Supreme Court gives Morrisey deadline to comply with FOIA

By Kyla Asbury | Nov 9, 2018

CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has until the end of November to file court documents in a case against him for failing to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from more than one year ago.

Morrisey was supposed to release e-mails to the court via a court order involving his office and pharmaceutical companies by 5 p.m. Nov. 5

Morrisey, instead, asked the Supreme Court to stay the order.

Justices Evan Jenkins and Beth Walker voted to stay the order, while Justice Margaret Workman did not. Two justices, Paul Farrell and Tim Armstead did not participate. Farrell recused himself from the case.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster wrote in her order on Nov. 5 that the court had carefully reviewed a reporter and recommendation by Special Master S. Douglas Adkins that was dated Nov. 3 and that, because of that report and recommendation, Morrisey was to release the communications to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

Last month, Webster had ordered Morrisey to begin releasing the documents and chided him for not abiding by the FOIA request.

The lawsuit was filed on Oct. 15. DSCC claimed that it had sent FOIA requests to Morrisey last October for communications involving pharmaceutical companies. Last year, Morrisey had responded to the request that the documents would be provided by Dec. 1, but it was not until February before DSCC heard from Morrisey’s office and the office stated documents would be provided by March 16, according to the suit.

In June, DSCC reached out to Morrisey’s office again and some of the requested documents were provided. More documents were provided in September, but there were still several requests that were not answered.

Before being elected to the attorney general, Morrisey lobbied for Sunovion and the Healthcare Distribution Alliance.

Morrisey lost against Sen. Joe Manchin in Tuesday’s election. Morrisey received 46.3 percent, or 269,872 votes, in the election, while Manchin received 49.5 percent or 288,808 votes.

Jenkins, who won a seat on the Supreme Court after being appointed over the summer, ran against Morrisey in the Republican primary for the senate seat.

DSCC is represented by Anthony J. Majestro of Powell & Majestro; and Marc E. Elias and Alexi M. Velez of Perkins Cole in Washington, D.C.

Morrisey is represented by Johnnie Brown of Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 18-C-1307

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Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

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