Justia Contracts Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying Resources Limited, LLC's motion to set aside the default judgment in this case, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion in denying Resources Limited's motion to set aside the default judgment.New Trinity Coal, Inc. filed a complaint against Resources Limited asserting claims of breach of contract and unjust enrichment. New Trinity later filed a motion for default judgment, which the circuit court granted. Resources Limited filed a motion to set aside the default judgment. The circuit court denied the motion, finding that there was no evidence of excusable neglect. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Resources Limited's motion to set aside the default judgment should have been granted. View "Resources Limited, LLC v. New Trinity Coal, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the business court's orders in this rent dispute, holding that the business court erred in granting summary judgment to either party.American Bituminous Power Partners, LP (AMBIT) and Horizon Ventures of West Virginia, Inc. created a contractual relationship with a lease agreement. The current rent dispute involved the relationship between the lease, a 1996 settlement agreement, and a 2017 order of the business court. Without resolving the relationship between those documents the business court granted summary judgment to AMBIT on Horizon's claims and summary judgment to Horizon on AMBIT's claims. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that summary judgment was improper because the various agreements were ambiguous and the parties' intent was not clear. View "Horizon Ventures of W. Va., Inc. v. American Bituminous Power Partners, L.P." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's judgment finding as a matter of law that Defendant Antero Resources Corporation breached the parties' contract and granting partial summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff Directional One Services Inc., USA, holding that the court did not err in its rulings.At issue was the ruling of the circuit court that because two separate documents involved the same parties, the same subject, and were clearly related, then the documents should be construed together as the terms of one contract between the parties. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court in its entirety, holding that there was no merit to Defendant's allegations of error on appeal. View "Antero Resources Corp. v. Directional One Services, Inc., USA" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the portion of the order of the circuit court applying prejudgment interest to the jury verdict in this lawsuit alleging breach of express and implied warranties and other claims but otherwise affirmed, holding that the circuit court erred in its assessment of prejudgment interest.Plaintiff sued Defendant, a car dealership, alleging breaches of consumer laws and contract principles. During discovery, DCW withheld requested documents even after the circuit court imposed monetary sanctions. When the requested documents appeared as an exhibit in DCW's motion for summary judgment the circuit court denied the motion and sanctioned DCW. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding that the circuit court (1) did not abuse its discretion by issuing the sanction, approving the jury's verdict, and ordering DCW to pay attorney fees and costs; but (2) erred by applying prejudgment interest to the entire verdict. View "Dan's Car World, LLC v. Delaney" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court denying Petitioner's motion to compel arbitration, holding that the circuit court did not err.Respondents Louise McGraw and Charlotte Rodgers, by and through their daughters, Nancy Reuschel and Loretta Holcomb, filed a complaint against Petitioner, Chancellor Senior Management, Ltd., arguing that Petitioner defrauded their mothers by making misrepresentations and misleading statements and concealing material facts, in violation of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act (WVCCPA). See W. Va. Code 46A-1-101 to -8-102. Petitioner filed a motion to compel arbitration based on an arbitration provision set forth in the residency agreement Reuschel and Holcomb signed on behalf of their motions. The circuit court denied the motion, concluding that the agreement could not be enforced as written. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in determining that the arbitration agreement could not be enforced as written because it did not "comply with its own stated standards." View "Chancellor Senior Management, Ltd. v. McGraw" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court enforcing a settlement agreement between Petitioner and his insurer, Respondent Allstate Company, and denying Petitioner's request to amend his complaint or allow the filing of a new complaint, holding that there was no error.The settlement agreement at issue related to water damages occurring at Petitioner's real property. Petitioner failed to execute and return the agreement, after which Respondent filed a motion to enforce settlement. Petitioner then filed a motion to amend the complaint or, in the alternative, allow the filing of a new complaint. The circuit court granted Respondent's motion to enforce the settlement and denied Petitioner's motion to amend. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err as to any of its challenged rulings. View "Donahue v. Mammoth Restoration & Cleaning" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that a county solid waste authority has no power to enter into a fixed-term employment contract with a non-civil service employee.In 2008, The Nicholas County Solid Waste Authority (NCSWA) entered into an employment contract with employee Larry Bradford under which Bradford was to continue in his position for a fixed term. In 2014, the West Virginia Solid Waste Management Board (WVSWMB) exercised its statutory power of supersedure over the NCSWA. The next day, the WVSWMB terminated Bradford's employment. Bradford brought suit, asserting causes of action for violation of the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act and for breach of contract. After five years of litigation, the parties jointly moved the circuit court to certify questions to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court accepted one certified question, which rendered the remaining three questions moot, answering that a county solid waste authority has no authority to enter into a fixed-term employment contract with a non-civil service employee and that any such contract is unenforceable and void as a matter of law. View "Bradford v. W. Va. Solid Waste Management Board" on Justia Law

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In these consolidated appeals arising from breach of contract litigation between Thomas and Jamie Miller and WesBanco Bank, Inc., the Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's denial of prejudgment interest to the Millers and reversed the jury's damages award, holding that the Millers' evidence failed to support this verdict.On appeal, the Millers, who prevailed below, challenged the denial of their request for prejudgment interest, which was based upon their failure to request prejudgment interest from the jury. In its separate appeal, WesBanco raised four assignments of error. The Supreme Court remanded in part for further proceedings, holding (1) there was no error in the circuit court's denial of prejudgment interest; (2) there was no error in the admission of parol evidence; (3) the duty of good faith and fair dealing was properly applied to modify WesBanco's contractual obligations; (4) the circuit court did not err in denying judgment as a matter of law to WesBanco; and (5) the jury's damages award of $404,500 was against the clear weight of the evidence. View "Miller v. Wesbanco Bank, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court refusing to compel arbitration in this case alleging violations of the West Virginia Human Rights Act, W. Va. Code 5-11-1 to -20, holding that the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) could not enforce the arbitration agreement.Plaintiff, a nurse who formerly worked for Sunbelt Staffing, LLC, signed an employment agreement containing an arbitration provision. Plaintiff was assigned to work at a hospital under DHHR's direction but later was informed she was not eligible to return to work for DHHR. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint against DHHR and others, alleging violations of the Act. DHHR moved to dismiss the amended complaint and to compel arbitration. The circuit court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) DHHR had no right to invoke arbitration contained in the employment agreement; and (2) the theory of estoppel did not require arbitration. View "W. Va. Department of Health & Human Resources v. Denise" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part the order of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of the West Virginia University Board of Governors (WVU BOG) on Plaintiff's claims alleging that the West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVUIT) breached its agreement to pay him a supplementary salary for serving as director of a research center, holding that summary judgment was improper on Plaintiff's claim brought under the West Virginia Wage Payment Collection Act (WPCA), W. Va. Code 21-5-1 through 18.Plaintiff, a professor at WVUIT, brought this action against WVU BOG, which manages the educational operations of WVUIT, bringing a common law claim for breach of contract, alternative equitable claims of quantum merit and unjust enrichment, and a statutory cause of action under WPCA. WVU BOG, a state agency, moved for summary judgment, invoking the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The circuit court granted summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) sovereign immunity did not bar Plaintiff's claims under the WPCA, and genuine issues of disputed fact existed as to whether WVU BOG violated the WPCA; and (2) summary judgment was properly granted on the remaining claims. View "Davari v. West Virginia University Board of Governors" on Justia Law