West Virginia Code


Chapter 56     Entire Code



§56-1-1. Venue generally.

 (a) Any civil action or other proceeding, except where it is otherwise specially provided, may hereafter be brought in the circuit court of any county:

(1) Wherein any of the defendants may reside or the cause of action arose, except that an action of ejectment or unlawful detainer must be brought in the county wherein the land sought to be recovered, or some part thereof, is;

(2) If a corporation be a defendant, wherein its principal office is or wherein its mayor, president or other chief officer resides; or if its principal office be not in this state, and its mayor, president or other chief officer do not reside therein, wherein it does business; or if it be a corporation organized under the laws of this state which has its principal office located outside of this state and which has no office or place of business within the state, the circuit court of the county in which the plaintiff resides or the circuit court of the county in which the seat of state government is located shall have jurisdiction of all actions at law or suits in equity against the corporation, where the cause of action arose in this state or grew out of the rights of stockholders with respect to corporate management;

(3) If it be to recover land or subject it to a debt, where the land or any part may be;

(4) If it be against one or more nonresidents of the state, where any one of them may be found and served with process or may have estate or debts due him or them;

(5) If it be to recover a loss under any policy of insurance upon either property, life or health or against injury to a person, where the property insured was situated either at the date of the policy or at the time when the right of action accrued or the person insured had a legal residence at the date of his or her death or at the time when the right of action accrued;

(6) If it be on behalf of the state in the name of the Attorney General or otherwise, where the seat of government is; or

(7) If a judge of a circuit be interested in a case which, but for such interest, would be proper for the jurisdiction of his or her court, the action or suit may be brought in any county in an adjoining circuit.

(b) Whenever a civil action or proceeding is brought in the county where the cause of action arose under the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, if no defendant resides in the county, a defendant to the action or proceeding may move the court before which the action is pending for a change of venue to a county where one or more of the defendants resides and upon a showing by the moving defendant that the county to which the proposed change of venue would be made would better afford convenience to the parties litigant and the witnesses likely to be called, and if the ends of justice would be better served by the change of venue, the court may grant the motion.

§56-1-1a. Forum non conveniens.

(a) In any civil action if a court of this state, upon a timely written motion of a party, finds that in the interest of justice and for the convenience of the parties a claim or action would be more properly heard in a forum outside this state, the court shall decline to exercise jurisdiction under the doctrine of forum non conveniens and shall stay or dismiss the claim or action, or dismiss any plaintiff: Provided, That the plaintiff's choice of a forum is entitled to great deference, but this preference may be diminished when the plaintiff is a nonresident and the cause of action did not arise in this state. In determining whether to grant a motion to stay or dismiss an action, or dismiss any plaintiff under the doctrine of forum non conveniens, the court shall consider:

(1) Whether an alternate forum exists in which the claim or action may be tried;

(2) Whether maintenance of the claim or action in the courts of this state would work a substantial injustice to the moving party;

(3) Whether the alternate forum, as a result of the submission of the parties or otherwise, can exercise jurisdiction over all the defendants properly joined to the plaintiff's claim;

(4) The state in which the plaintiff(s) reside;

(5) The state in which the cause of action accrued;

(6) Whether the balance of the private interests of the parties and the public interest of the state predominate in favor of the claim or action being brought in an alternate forum, which shall include consideration of the extent to which an injury or death resulted from acts or omissions that occurred in this state. Factors relevant to the private interests of the parties include, but are not limited to, the relative ease of access to sources of proof; availability of compulsory process for attendance of unwilling witnesses; the cost of obtaining attendance of willing witnesses; possibility of a view of the premises, if a view would be appropriate to the action; and all other practical problems that make trial of a case easy, expeditious and inexpensive. Factors relevant to the public interest of the state include, but are not limited to, the administrative difficulties flowing from court congestion; the interest in having localized controversies decided within the state; the avoidance of unnecessary problems in conflict of laws, or in the application of foreign law; and the unfairness of burdening citizens in an unrelated forum with jury duty;

(7) Whether not granting the stay or dismissal would result in unreasonable duplication or proliferation of litigation; and

(8) Whether the alternate forum provides a remedy.

(b) A motion pursuant to subsection (a) of this section is timely if it is filed either concurrently or prior to the filing of either a motion pursuant to Rule twelve of the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure or a responsive pleading to the first complaint that gives rise to the grounds for such a motion: Provided, That a court may, for good cause shown, extend the period for the filing of such a motion.

(c) If the statute of limitations in the alternative forum expires while the claim is pending in a court of this state, the court shall grant a dismissal under this section only if each defendant waives the right to assert a statute of limitation defense in the alternative forum. The court may further condition a dismissal under this section to allow for the reinstatement of the same cause of action in the same forum in the event a suit on the same cause of action or on any cause of action arising out of the same transaction or occurrence is commenced in an appropriate alternative forum within sixty days after the dismissal under this section and such alternative forum declines jurisdiction.

(d) In actions filed pursuant to Rule twenty-three of the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure the provisions of this section shall apply only to the class representative(s).

(e) A court that grants a motion to stay or dismiss an action pursuant to this section shall set forth specific findings of fact and conclusions of law.



Acts, 1986 Reg. Sess., Ch. 170.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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