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Case Bulletin – West Virginia Enacts Legislation Limiting Non-resident Lawsuits in West Virginia

On March 27, 2018, West Virginia Governor, Jim Justice, approved House Bill 4013.  Notably, this bill limits venue for civil actions to West Virginia residents or to non-residents where a substantial part of the acts/omissions giving rise to the claim(s) occurred in the state of West Virginia.  This bill is essentially the West Virginia legislature’s codification of the holding in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, 137 S. Ct. 1773 (2017), which requires that nonresident plaintiffs have a “connection between the forum and the specific claims at issue” that amounts to the nonresident plaintiffs alleging that they suffered harm in the forum state, in order for courts to claim specific jurisdiction. This bill will be effective for all actions filed on or after July 1, 2018.  (W. Va. Code § 56-1-1).