Lower Court’s Skepticism Over Authenticity of Arbitration Agreement Rejected By West Virginia Supreme Court

Invoking a rarely utilized writ of prohibition, an employer successfully prevailed upon the West Virginia Supreme Court to prohibit a lower court from enforcing its order denying a motion to compel arbitration of claims brought by a former employee. In State of West Virginia Ex Rel. Troy Group, Inc., A Delaware Corporation v. The Honorable Judge David J. Sims, Judge of the Circuit Court of Ohio County, West Virginia, the Supreme Court rejected the circuit court’s finding that ““significant and troubling questions exist with regard to the authenticity of the agreement produced by [the employer].” The court’s opinion involved review and analysis of the circumstances underlying the agreement, and its existence only in a digital format, which led one member of the Court to dissent, taking issue with what he characterized as the Court’s substitution of “itself as lower court judge and jury, engaging in fact-finding and applying its factual determinations to render a determination the lower court declined.”

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