Critics say W.Va. House impeding intermediate court bill

Chris Dickerson Mar. 9, 2011, 6:00pm


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) -- A chorus of critics are singing the blues that a bill to create an intermediate appellate court isn't gaining traction in the West Virginia House of Delegates.

On Wednesday, the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse issued press releases saying House leadership has brought the bill to a halt. The state Republican Party echoed those thoughts in a release late Tuesday, and acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin even issued a release Wednesday afternoon urging the passage of the legislation.

The president of West Virginia Association for Justice, meanwhile, said House Speaker Rick Thompson is approaching the issue with a "non-political look."

The State Senate passed SB307 last week to create a three-judge intermediate appellate court, but the House has failed to bring the bill up for consideration.

State GOP Chairman Mike Stuart didn't mince words.

"Rick Thompson, the gubernatorial hopeful who is the darling of the plaintiff's bar, and the liberal Democrats serving in the House of Delegates have so far been successful in killing any hopes of an intermediate court of appeals by refusing to place the matter on the Legislative agenda," Stuart said.

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