Greear ready for start of State Intermediate Court of Appeals | New


West Virginia’s new Intermediate Court of Appeals officially opened on Friday, providing a pathway to deal with civil cases that may or may not otherwise be heard by the state’s Supreme Court of Appeals.

Signed into law on April 9, 2021, the court includes a three-judge panel that will determine which cases require oral argument and may merit superior court.

Judge Daniel W. Greear is one of the judges nominated by Governor Jim Justice and confirmed by the State Senate.

Greear, who was named the court’s chief judge, said 41 other states already have an intermediate court, so West Virginia has fallen behind in that direction.

“It provides an additional layer of appellate review,” he said. “We were in the minority for not having that.”

Greear said the court will not hear appeals from local circuit court criminal cases, instead focusing on four areas: civil cases from local circuit court appeals; family courts (except for appeals of domestic violence and child abuse and neglect criminal proceedings, which will always go to the circuit court); appeals from state agencies or administrative law judges; and workers’ compensation appeals.

The three-judge panel also includes Justices Thomas E. Scarr and Charles Lorensen. The three judges were sworn in on May 1.

Greear said they will be based in Charleston, in the City Center East building, but those involved in cases may not need to travel to the city.

“We are going to have satellite courtrooms in Beckley (Raleigh County) and Wetzel, Lewis, Grant and Morgan counties,” he said, adding that proceedings would be conducted using circuit video. firm.

“It will save a lot of time and money to get to Charleston,” he added. “People from Mercer County can drive to Beckley instead of Charleston.”

Greear said one of the reasons intermediate courts are created is to help ease the burden on state supreme courts.

“A very small (single-digit) percentage of cases in other states go through all three levels,” he said of circuit, intermediate and supreme courts, with the majority of cases actually being settled at the circuit court level.

The intermediate court will help ease the burden on the Supreme Court as well as the circuit courts for family law court appeals, which first went to the circuit courts but now go directly to the intermediate court , excluding criminal cases.

Another significant change concerns the filing of factums, which continue to be forwarded to the office of the Clerk of the Supreme Court, whereas paper copies of factums were required in the past.

“These memoirs can be huge documents with 10 copies to make,” he said, adding that it can also be expensive. “As of July 1, lawyers can file them electronically, bringing technology into the 21st century. This is a huge improvement and savings.

Greear said a “working figure” on the number of cases the court will most likely receive each year is probably between 800 and 1,000.

Cases will come in gradually and begin to build up, he said, with a full case load by January 2023.

According to the bill establishing the Intermediate Court, the Supreme Court may, ex officio, hear any civil case appealed to the Intermediate Court of Appeal. In addition, a party may file a petition for direct review by the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court may grant the petition if the appeal involves “a matter of fundamental public importance” and “involves requirements.”

Greear also said the Intermediate Court replaced the Workers’ Compensation Board of Administrative Judges with a Workers’ Compensation Review Board, and that’s where decisions made can then be appealed to the Intermediate Court. The Supreme Court will still have the ability to seek jurisdiction over civil cases appealed to the Intermediate Court. Parties to cases could also appeal to the Supreme Court, which could hear cases at its discretion.

Greear, who has extensive professional experience in civil litigation in private practice, also served as Chief of Staff and Legal Counsel to the House of Delegates as well as a Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge. He was a Republican candidate for Attorney General in 2008.

He is also very knowledgeable about southern West Virginia.

“I’ve tried a ton of cases in Beckley, Mercer County… and Greenbrier County,” he said. “I’ve been all over southern West Virginia.”

— Contact Charles Boothe at [email protected]

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