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New W.Va. business court to be headquartered in Berkeley County

September 17, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — West Virginia’s new business court division will be headquartered in the former law library of the Berkeley County Judicial Center in Martinsburg, the state Supreme Court of Appeals announced Monday.

A grand opening in the remodeled space at 380 W. South St. will be held at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 10, the date the new division is to begin operating, the court said in a news release.

The former law librarian will staff the office and 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes’ administrative assistant will take on additional business court duties, the state court announced.

Wilkes is serving as chairman of the state business court division, which will serve a specialized court docket within the state’s circuit courts.

“The video-conferencing technology the business court division will use will make the state smaller in regard to hearings and conferences,” Wilkes said in a news release. “Although the headquarters will be in the Eastern Panhandle, we can hold virtual conferences throughout West Virginia with no costs.”

Cases can be referred to the business court division by the state Supreme Court of Appeals’ chief justice and any party or judge may file a motion to refer a case to the business court division, according to the court.

Supreme Court Justice Robin Jean Davis, who was designated to take a leading role in writing the business court rule for the court system, said the location for the business court makes sense, given the Eastern Panhandle’s growth and Wilkes’ leading role with the initiative.

“The (business court) division has statewide jurisdiction, but it should be headquartered in an area of the state which is attracting business development,” Davis said in the news release.

The state Supreme Court voted last week to approve the new trial court rule to establish the business court.

Davis, who is seeking re-election in the Nov. 6 general election, is among four candidates vying for two seats on the state Supreme Court of Appeals.

Also running is fellow Democrat Letitia “Tish” Chafin, and Republican candidates 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge John C. Yoder and Allen Loughry.

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