Articles Posted in West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

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EQT Production Company was the lessee of an oil and gas lease. Matthew Hamblet was the surface owner of a parcel of property included within EQT's leasehold. EQT filed a permit application with the Office of Oil and Gas of the West Virginia EPA (DEP) for a shallow well targeting a Marcellus formation. The DEP issued the permit requested by EQT. Subsequently, Hamblet filed a petition for appeal of the issuance of the well permit in the circuit court. The DEP and EQT filed motions to dismiss the petition contending that Hamblet did not have the right to appeal the issuance of the permit. The circuit court denied the motions, concluding that Hamblet had the right to appeal the permit, but submitted its ruling to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court held (1) upon consideration of the court of appeals' opinion in State ex rel. Lovejoy v. Callaghan and the relevant statutes, a surface owner is not permitted to seek judicial review of the DEP's issuance of a well work permit for a horizontal Marcellus well; and (2) given this fact, the Court had no basis to find Hamblet had a right to appeal the well work permitted issued by the DEP. View "Martin v. Hamblet" on Justia Law

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Ruling on a joint petition for declaratory order filed by Monongahela Power Company and Potomac Edison Company ("The Utilities"), The Public Service Commission of West Virginia held that the alternative and renewable energy resource credits attributable to energy purchases by the Utilities from Morgantown Energy Associates (MEA) and the City of New Martinsville ("the Generators"), were owned by the Utilities during the terms of electric energy purchase agreements between the entities. On appeal, the Generators contended that the Commission erred in its ruling and that the energy resource credits were owned by them. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission did not err in finding the credits at issue were owned by the Utilities; and (2) the Commission did not err in holding that it would deem MEA's Morgantown project as a certified facility under the Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Act upon the submission of sufficient evidence by the Utilities. View "City of New Martinsville v. Pub. Serv. Comm'n " on Justia Law

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Petitioner Jefferson Utilities, Inc. (JUI), a privately-held public utility authorized to provide water service to several areas of Jefferson County, filed a request with the Public Service Commission of West Virginia for a rate increase of approximately 72.2 percent. The ALJ recommended a rate increase of 22.4 percent, and the Commission reduced the rate increase recommended by the ALJ to 4.4 percent. JUI appealed, contending that the Commission erred by rejecting the recommended decision of the ALJ regarding the rate increase. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that although the evidence in this case was controverted, it was clear that the Commission's decision was not arbitrary, did not result from a misapplication of legal principles, and was supported by substantial evidence in the record.

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Petitioner power companies sought a writ of prohibition in connection with a ruling of the circuit court denying petitioners' motion to dismiss a breach of contract complaint filed against them by respondents, Shell Equipment and Shell Energy, as being barred by the statute of limitations. Petitioners argued that the trial court erred in ruling that the limitations period applicable to contracts for the sale of goods under the UCC does not apply to the coal sales agreement they entered into with Shell Equipment. The Supreme Court granted the writ of prohibition, finding that petitioners demonstrated clear legal error for which they were entitled to relief. The Court determined that the subject agreement constituted a sale of goods under W.V. Code 46-2-107(1), and, as a result, the four-year statute of limitations established by the UCC for the sales of goods was controlling. Because respondents did not initiate the lawsuit until after the limitations period had expired, the trial court committed error in failing to grant petitioners' motion to dismiss.