A venue issue had popped up in the Flanary case when counsel for Pocahontas County filed a motion to dismiss based on improper venue. Basically, there is a law stating that if you sue a county in West Virginia, you have to sue that county in it’s own courthouse, or in any either county in which the cause of action arose (which would be rare to be anywhere else). But there is also a law stating that if you sue the State of West Virginia, you must sue in Kanawha County (location of the state capitol). So what happens when both a county and the State are named defendants in a lawsuit?
Well we faced that very issue, and after the issue was briefed and argued, the Circuit Court Judge ended up ruling in my client’s favor, finding that venue was proper where the lawsuit was originally filed – in Kanawha County. As a courtesy to defense counsel who represent governmental entities in West Virginia, since they are so generous among themselves with sharing circuit court orders and submitting them against plaintiff’s counsel, I will post a copy of the Judge’s order for submission or review by anyone who may find it helpful.
– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney.