West Virginia Judiciary

Appellate Case Types and Decision Types

About the New Integrated Decision List

The new integrated decision list combines all of the decisions issued during a court term. Three important changes make the list more useful. First, all of the decisions of the Court are listed in one place, including signed opinions, per curiam opinions, and memorandum decisions. Second, decision codes have been added that identify the type of decision listed. Third, each case is identified using a case type code that is based upon national reporting guidelines. This allows you to identify the type of case involved just by glancing at the list. Fourth, and perhaps most important, the decision list can be quickly sorted to your preference by clicking on any of the column headers (except for case number). To sort using more than one column, hold down the "Shift" key.

The remainder of this page is an explanation of the codes used in the decision list.

Decision Type Codes

SO
Signed Opinion: An opinion that is delivered by one of the Justices on behalf of the Court. Signed opinions contain at least one new syllabus point. See Syllabus point 2, WALKER v. DOE, 210 W.Va. 490, 558 S.E.2d 290 (2001)("This Court will use signed opinions when new points of law are announced and those points will be articulated through syllabus points as required by our state constitution.") Signed opinions are published in the West Virginia Reports.
PC
Per Curiam Opinion: An opinion that is delivered by the Court as a whole. Per curiam opinions do not contain new syllabus points, but instead quote syllabus points from prior cases. See Syllabus point 3 and 4, WALKER v. DOE, 210 W.Va. 490, 558 S.E.2d 290 (2001)("[3] Per curiam opinions have precedential value as an application of settled principles of law to facts necessarily differing from those at issue in signed opinions. The value of a per curiam opinion arises in part from the guidance such decisions can provide to the lower courts regarding the proper application of the syllabus points of law relied upon to reach decisions in those cases. [4] A per curiam opinion may be cited as support for a legal argument.") Per curiam opinions are published in the West Virginia Reports.Note: Per curiam opinions are no longer utilized by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. See syllabus points 1 through 6 of State v. McKinley, 234 W.Va. 143, 764 S.E.2d 303 (2014)(Holding that signed opinions containing original syllabus points have the highest precedential value because the Court uses original syllabus points to announce new points of law or to change established patterns of practice by the Court. Additionally, holding that signed opinions that do not contain original syllabus points also carry significant, instructive, precedential weight because such opinions apply settled principles of law in different factual and procedural scenarios than those addressed in original syllabus point cases. Further holding that signed opinions, both those including new syllabus points and those not containing new syllabus points, are published opinions of the Court. As such, they should be the primary sources relied upon in the development of the common law. Moreover, holding that memorandum decisions are decisions by the Court that are not signed, do not contain a syllabus by the Court, and are not published. Stating that, while memorandum decisions may be cited as legal authority, and are legal precedent, their value as precedent is necessarily more limited; where a conflict exists between a published opinion and a memorandum decision, the published opinion controls. Conflicts between memorandum decisions and published opinions should be used by the legal community as a basis to urge this Court to consider, address, and resolve such conflict. Lastly, holding that, to the extent our prior holdings in Walker v. Doe, 210 W.Va. 490, 558 S.E.2d 290 (2001), are inconsistent with the Court's recognition that signed opinions will be used both in cases that articulate new points of law and in cases in which a new point of law is not required, such prior holdings are expressly overruled."
MD
Memorandum Decision: An abbreviated decision on the merits of a case. Memorandum decisions do not contain a syllabus and are not published in the West Virginia Reports. Memorandum decisions may be cited in any court or administrative tribunal. See Rule 21, Revised Rules of Appellate Procedure.
SEP
Separate: An opinion or decision authored by a Justice separately from the majority that explains why the Justice concurs, dissents, or a combination of the two.

Case Type Codes

State Court Guide to Statistical Reporting

The case type codes used in the decision list are based upon the national reporting guidelines set forth by the Court Statistics Project of the National Center for State Courts in the "State Court Guide to Statistical Reporting." (Version 1.3 at pages 43 and 51). The definitions set forth on this page are quoted directly from the Guide.

 

Appeal by Right Case Type Definitions

CR-F
Felony (non-Death Penalty): An appeal of a trial court conviction, non-death penalty sentence, or both for violation of an offense that, by state criminal law, is classified as a felony. Appeals from felony cases in which the death penalty was sought, but not imposed, are included in this definition. Note: West Virginia does not have the death penalty.
CR-M
Misdemeanor: An appeal of a trial court conviction, sentence, or both for violation of an offense that, by state criminal law, is classified as a misdemeanor.
CR-O
Criminal-Other: An appeal of a trial court conviction, sentence, or both. Use this case type for criminal appeals of unknown specificity, when criminal appeals are not attributable to another previously defined criminal appeal case type, or when all criminal appeal cases are reported as a single case type. Note: West Virginia examples include appeals from decisions relating to sex offender registration and appeals related to expungement.
TCR
Tort, Contract, and Real Property: An appeal of a trial court civil judgment concerning a dispute over the interpretation or application of tort, contract, or real property laws.
PR
Probate: An appeal of a trial court civil judgment concerning the establishment of guardianships, conservatorships, and trusteeships and the administration of estates of deceased persons who died testate or intestate, including the settling of legal disputes concerning wills. Note: Appeals from cases involving infant guardianship are classified in the Family category.
FAM
Family: An appeal of a trial court civil judgment concerning actions between family members (or others considered to be involved in a domestic relationship), such as marriage dissolution/divorce, paternity, custody/visitation, support, adoption, civil protection/restraining orders, and other family law issues. These may include actions by unmarried individuals to resolve issues of support or custody. Note: Appeals involving proceedings under Chapter 49 of the West Virginia Code are reported as Juvenile cases.
JUV
Juvenile: An appeal of a trial court civil judgment concerning the adjudication of a youth as a delinquent or dependent child. Note: Appeals from a circuit court civil judgment in proceedings involving abuse and neglect under Chapter 49 of the West Virginia Code are reported in this category.
CIV-O
Civil-Other: An appeal of a trial court civil judgment. Use this case type for civil appeals of unknown specificity, when civil appeals are not attributable to another previously defined civil appeal case type, or when all civil appeal cases are reported as a single case type. Note: Examples in West Virginia include appeals from final circuit court orders in civil forfeiture proceedings.
POST
Post-Conviction Appeal: An appeal of a trial court decision on an application for habeas corpus or a petition for post-conviction relief that follows the imposition of a non-death penalty sentence.
WC
Workers' Compensation: An appeal of an administrative agency decision concerning a dispute over the eligibility and terms of compensation for workers injured on the job. Workers’ compensation includes the areas of permanent total disability, permanent partial disability, temporary total disability, and temporary partial disability.
TAX
Revenue (Tax): An appeal of an administrative agency decision concerning a dispute over issues involving tax laws and their application.
ADM
Administrative Agency-Other: An appeal of an administrative agency decision. Use this case type for administrative agency appeals of unknown specificity, when administrative agency appeals are not attributable to another previously defined administrative agency appeal case type, or when all administrative agency appeal cases are reported as a single case type. For cases involving judicial agencies (such as bar admission/ discipline or judicial qualifications/discipline) see Original Proceeding/Other Appellate Matter. Note: Examples in West Virginia include appeals from the Public Service Commission, Human Rights Commission, and appeals in contested cases pursuant to the the WV Administrative Procedures Act.
MISC
Appeal by Right-Other: An appeal from a trial court or administrative agency judgment. Use this case type for Appeal by Right cases of unknown specificity, when Appeal by Right cases are not attributable to another previously defined Appeal by Right case type, or when all Appeal by Right case types are reported as a single case type.

Original Proceeding/Other Appellate Matter Case Type Definitions

OJ-H
Habeas Corpus: An application for a writ that challenges the legality of detention when no other avenues for a remedy (e.g., Appeal by Permission) are available. The application may be filed in a criminal law context by offenders who are inmates in a jail or prison or by a person involuntarily committed for psychiatric treatment. Note: Appeals from circuit court judgments in habeas corpus actions are reported in the Post-Conviction Appeal category.
OJ-M, OJ-P
Writ Application-Other: An application for a writ of mandamus, quo warranto, prohibition, etc. Use this category for Writ Applications of unknown specificity, when Writ Applications do not meet the definition for Habeas Corpus, or when all Application for Writ cases are reported as a single case type. Note: For ease of reference, writs of mandamus are identified as "OJ-M" and writs of prohibition are identified as "OJ-P."
L-ADM
Bar Admission: A case concerning a dispute over an individual's application for admission to practice law. Note: In West Virginia these disputes arise pursuant to Rule 6(e) of the Rules for Admission to the Practice of Law.
L-DISC
Bar Discipline/Eligibility: A case concerning a dispute over the discipline of an individual admitted to practice law or an individual’s eligibility to continue to practice law. Underlying the dispute is an allegation of unethical conduct by an attorney, which has led to charges, a trial-like proceeding, and recommendations regarding discipline (e.g., reprimand, disbarment).Note: In West Virginia these cases arise pursuant to the Rules of Lawyer Disciplinary Procedure.
J-DISC
Judicial Qualification: A case concerning a dispute over alleged improprieties by a judge. Generally, a judicial ethics board or judicial qualification commission will investigate the allegation and forward its recommendations to an appellate court.Note: In West Virginia these cases arise under the Rules of Judicial Disciplinary Procedure.
CERQ
Certified Question: A case, filed by a state or federal court, which asks a state appellate court to interpret or resolve a question of state law that is part of a case before the requesting court.
OJ-O
Original Proceeding/Appellate Matter– Other: An original proceeding or other matter before the appellate court. Use this category for Original Proceedings/Appellate Matters of unknown specificity, when Original Proceedings/ Appellate Matters are not attributable to another previously defined Original Proceeding/Appellate Matter case type, or when all Original Proceeding/Appellate Matter cases are reported as a single case type.

The two following case type categories are used by the National Center for State Courts, but do not apply in West Virginia.

NOT USED IN WV
Bar/Judiciary Proceeding–Other: A case concerning the admission, discipline, or qualifications of an individual within the bar and/or judiciary. Use this category for Bar/Judiciary Proceedings of unknown specificity, when Bar/Judiciary Proceedings are not attributable to another previously defined Bar/Judiciary Proceeding case type, or when all Bar/Judiciary Proceedings are reported as a single case type. Note: Judicial disciplinary proceedings arising under the Rules of Judicial Disciplinary Procedure are identified as "J-DISC" in the "Judicial Qualification" category. Lawyer disciplinary proceedings arising under the Rules of Lawyer Disciplinary Procedure are identified as "B-DISC" in the "Bar Discipline/Eligibility" category.
NOT USED IN WV
Advisory Opinion: A case filed by a state officer (e.g., a governor or an attorney general) or the legislature asking an appellate court for an answer to a question of law.