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§29A-5-4. Judicial review of contested cases.

(a) Any party adversely affected by a final order or decision in a contested case is entitled to judicial review thereof under this chapter, but nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to prevent other means of review, redress or relief provided by law.

(b) Proceedings for review shall be instituted by filing a petition, at the election of the petitioner, in either the circuit court of Kanawha County, West Virginia or in the circuit court of the county in which the petitioner or any one of the petitioners resides or does business, or with the judge thereof in vacation, within thirty days after the date upon which such party received notice of the final order or decision of the agency. A copy of the petition shall be served upon the agency and all other parties of record by registered or certified mail. The petition shall state whether the appeal is taken on questions of law or questions of fact, or both. No appeal bond shall be required to effect any such appeal.

(c) The filing of the petition shall not stay enforcement of the agency order or decision or act as a supersedeas thereto, but the agency may stay such enforcement, and the appellant, at any time after the filing of his petition, may apply to such circuit court for a stay of or supersedeas to such final order or decision. Pending the appeal, the court may grant a stay or supersedeas upon such terms as it deems proper.

(d) Within fifteen days after receipt of a copy of the petition by the agency, or within such further time as the court may allow, the agency shall transmit to such circuit court the original or a certified copy of the entire record of the proceeding under review, including a transcript of all testimony and all papers, motions, documents, evidence and records as were before the agency, all agency staff memoranda submitted in connection with the case, and a statement of matters officially noted; but, by stipulation of all parties to the review proceeding, the record may be shortened. The expense of preparing such record shall be taxed as a part of the costs of the appeal. The appellant shall provide security for costs satisfactory to the court. Any party unreasonably refusing to stipulate to limit the record may be taxed by the court for the additional costs involved. Upon demand by any party to the appeal, the agency shall furnish, at the cost of the party requesting same, a copy of such record. In the event the complete record is not filed with the court within the time provided for in this section, the appellant may apply to the court to have the case docketed, and the court shall order such record filed.

(e) Appeals taken on questions of law, fact or both, shall be heard upon assignments of error filed in the cause or set out in the briefs of the appellant. Errors not argued by brief may be disregarded, but the court may consider and decide errors which are not assigned or argued. The court or judge shall fix a date and time for the hearing on the petition, but such hearing, unless by agreement of the parties, shall not be held sooner than ten days after the filing of the petition, and notice of such date and time shall be forthwith given to the agency.

(f) The review shall be conducted by the court without a jury and shall be upon the record made before the agency, except that in cases of alleged irregularities in procedure before the agency, not shown in the record, testimony thereon may be taken before the court. The court may hear oral arguments and require written briefs.

(g) The court may affirm the order or decision of the agency or remand the case for further proceedings. It shall reverse, vacate or modify the order or decision of the agency if the substantial rights of the petitioner or petitioners have been prejudiced because the administrative findings, inferences, conclusions, decision or order are:

(1) In violation of Constitutional or statutory provisions; or

(2) In excess of the statutory authority or jurisdiction of the agency; or

(3) Made upon unlawful procedures; or

(4) Affected by other error of law; or

(5) Clearly wrong in view of the reliable, probative and substantial evidence on the whole record; or

(6) Arbitrary or capricious or characterized by abuse of discretion or clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion.

(h) The judgment of the circuit court shall be final unless reversed, vacated or modified on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeals of this state in accordance with the provisions of section one, article six of this chapter.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2020 Regular Session
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