Justia Landlord - Tenant Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law
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Petitioners filed a petition in the magistrate court seeking to have Respondent evicted from one of their apartments. The magistrate court dismissed Petitioners’ claim as moot after a hearing. Respondent appealed. Thereafter, Respondent filed a complaint against Petitioners for, inter alia, unpaid wages and wrongful termination. The circuit court entered an order consolidating Respondent’s magistrate court appeal with his circuit court original complaint. Petitioners moved to dismiss three counts of the complaint on the grounds that the issues involved were litigated in the magistrate court proceeding. The circuit court denied the motion to dismiss. Petitioners then brought this writ of prohibition proceeding. The Supreme Court granted the writ as moulded, holding that the circuit court was prohibited from exercising original jurisdiction over the challenged counts in the complaint, as (1) W. Va. R. Civ. P. 42(a) allows consolidation of a magistrate court appeal with an action pending under the original jurisdiction of a circuit court; (2) Respondent’s claims for unpaid wages were not barred by res judicata and collateral estoppel, but those counts may go forward in circuit court as amendments to the magistrate court pleadings; and (3) Plaintiff’s wrongful discharge claim was a new cause of action not embraced by the magistrate cause of action for unpaid wages. View "State ex rel. Veard v. Hon. Lawrance S. Miller" on Justia Law

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Wright was a correctional officer and lived on the San Quentin premises, in a unit he rented from his employer, the state. Living on the grounds was not mandatory and he paid market rate rent. Wright was injured when he fell in the course of his lengthy walk from his home to his actual place of work and received workers’ compensation. He then sued the state, which moved for summary judgment on the ground that workers’ compensation was Wright’s exclusive remedy, based on the “premises line” rule, which provides that the employment relationship commences once the employee enters the employer’s premises. The trial court agreed and granted the motion. The court of appeal reversed, concluding that there were triable issues of fact as to whether Wright’s injury arose out of and in the course of his employment. That the State did not intend its workers’ compensation policy would insure Wright for all injuries suffered on San Quentin grounds, even at or near the home where he lived, is evidenced by the terms of Wright’s lease agreement, which required Wright to obtain a “broad policy of comprehensive coverage of public liability insurance, naming the State as the insured.” View "Wright v. State of Cal." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted certiorari to review a Memorandum Opinion of the Court of Appeals and to address four issues stemming from a lawsuit by LensCrafters to enforce a noncompete provision against optometrist Dennis Kehoe after a sublease contract between the two parties ended. After review of the "complex, convoluted, and contentious eleven-year dispute," the Supreme Court held that (1) the district court properly dismissed LensCrafters' breach of contract claim on summary judgment because LensCrafters terminated the parties' contract as a matter of law and, with it, the contract's noncompete provision; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Kehoe's request to supplement his pleadings shortly before trial; and (3) summary judgment dismissing Kehoe's malicious abuse of process and tortious interference with contract counterclaims was proper because Kehoe did not demonstrate genuine issues of material fact. Because we hold that the noncompete provision was not in effect during any relevant time, the Court did not address Kehoe's fourth issue, whether the provision would have been contrary to public policy. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the Memorandum Opinion of the Court of Appeals in part and reversed in part. View "Lenscrafters, Inc. v. Kehoe" on Justia Law