There is a lot of bad information out there on West Virginia’s courts—much of it coming from WV CALA’s propaganda machine. There is no independent, third-party data to back up CALA’s claims, and some have taken this misinformation for gospel. Yet, when you look at that independent, third-party data, you get a very different story than the one CALA is telling.
Winston Churchill said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” Let’s get dressed.
According to the National Center for State Courts, West Virginia ranks 40th among all states and D. C. on the number of civil cases filed per capita. Washington D. C. and 38 states have higher per capita case filings than we do. We rank in the bottom 20 percent! (NCSC Court Statistics Project)
This supports the findings in a study completed by Richard Brisbin and John C. Kilwein on our courts that was published in 2007. They found that “since the 1980s West Virginia courts—the trial court of general jurisdiction—have not experienced a massive upsurge in non-family law civil litigation.” (The Future of the West Virginia Judiciary: Problems and Policy Options – 2007)
In 2013, the number of appeals filed with the West Virginia Supreme Court declined to a 26-year low of just 1,360 cases. More than half of these cases are for workers compensation, abuse and neglect and criminal appeals. (2013 Statistical Report)
The total number of appeals has declined by more than 60 percent since 1999, when 3,569 cases were filed. According to the most recent data from the National Center for State Courts, West Virginia’s decrease is more than four times higher than the national average of 14 percent.
Contrary to what WV CALA claims, these facts prove that West Virginia’s courts are NOT being overwhelmed with lawsuits. If CALA believes otherwise, fine. Prove it–but with hard facts that can be verified, not stories or so-called “studies” by other fake organizations created by D. C. PR firms. West Virginians deserve the truth, not propaganda.