As the only law review in our state, the West Virginia Law Review takes seriously its obligation to serve both
academia and our state’s legal community. We serve those interests by publishing
articles that are nationally relevant along with articles that address issues in
West Virginia. Historically, this Law Review has published special issues such as the National Coal Issue
and the Energy and Sustainability Issue, reflecting the unquestioned importance
of those areas of law to our state. However, we recognize that our state’s legal
community is well-served by academic analysis of all areas of law. We also recognize
that research specific to West Virginia can be difficult to find through major
commercial avenues. As such, Volume 117 of the West Virginia Law Review is proud to launch the West Virginia Law Review Online.
The Honorable Judge Joseph K. Reeder and Matthew G. Chapman |
The West Virginia Legislature passed several laws during the 2015 Regular Legislative
Session which may impact the legal community. This Article is the first in a two
part series that discusses several of those laws—including election of judges,
the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, Premises Liability, and the
Medical Professional Liability Act—and the possible effects. The second part of
this Article will focus on the limitations on punitive damages, deliberate intent,
choice of law in products liability suits, comparative fault, wrongful/retaliatory
discharge, and the Wage Payment and Collection Act.
Two main statutes in the United States govern the processes for treating and discharging
water that has been affected by coal mining: the Clean Water Act (CWA)
and the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA).
2 The CWA governs the discharge of that water from a point source into waters
of the United States,
and the SMCRA governs the process of surface mining and treating the water that comes
into contact with the disturbed area.
In 1984, the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources consolidated the surface
mine and water protection programs into one scheme for coal mining facilities.5
This paper argues that the consolidation of these two regulatory programs brought
forth a storm of negative effects the state is still facing today. Specifically,
this paper argues that the switch caused an inconsistency in application of the
regulations across industries and an inconsistency in interpretation between federal
and state governments.
In West Virginia, chickens outnumber people almost eight to one.
Unfortunately for West Virginians, however, the creation of a state board in 2010
greatly reduced state citizens’ say in how those chickens live.
2 This might not matter all that much if all chickens roosted in lovely red barns
3 and were raised by farmers with at least as much concern for animal well-being
as for personal profit. Nationwide, because this balance is distinctly
not the case, several confinement practices—including the confinement of chickens
to battery cages—have been questioned and banned in a handful of states.
If West Virginians were to decide that they too opposed the confinement of chickens
or other livestock, they now have an additional burden above and beyond soliciting
their state representatives to address the issue. Citizens either must convince
the West Virginia Livestock Care Standards Board to promulgate new rules or convince
the state legislature to bypass the board, something quite unlikely to happen given
how contentious confinement improvements are; indeed, some have asserted that Livestock
Care Standards Boards were created for the distinct purpose of removing power from
the public to make laws on this subject matter.
5 This Essay argues that Livestock Care Standards Boards unnecessarily remove power
from the public because (1) consumer autonomy should trump farmer autonomy, (2)
confinement issues evoke more than merely irrational attention, and (3) consumers
are capable of making the primarily economic assessment involved in improving livestock