W. Va. Division of Natural Resources v. Dawson (Signed Opinion)Annotate this Case
In this tort action, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the circuit court's order denying Petitioners' motion for summary judgment on the ground of qualified immunity, holding that Respondent failed to demonstrate a violation of a clearly established statutory or constitutional right or law of which a reasonable person would have known.
Respondent brought this action against Petitioners, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) and some of its employees (collectively, Petitioners), alleging that Petitioners committed acts of defamation, false light, infringement of a liberty interest without due process, and reckless infliction of emotional distress. The circuit court denied Petitioners' motion for summary judgment asserting qualified immunity. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court (1) did not err in finding that there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether Petitioners' acts or omissions were fraudulent, malicious, or oppressive and whether the individual DNR employees acted outside of their scope of employment; (2) did not err in its findings regarding the timing of the motion for summary judgment; but (3) erred in finding that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Petitioners were in violation of Respondent's clearly established rights of which a reasonable person would have known.