State ex rel. West Virginia University Hospitals, Inc. v. Honorable Phillip D. Gaujot (Signed Opinion)Annotate this Case
The Supreme Court vacated the order of the circuit court denying two hospitals' motion to decertify the class after the court initially certified a class action against the hospitals, holding that the circuit court exceeded its jurisdiction by failing to conduct a sufficiently thorough analysis of whether the commonality required for class certification under W. Va. R. Civ. P. 23 was present.
Respondent Phillip Gaujot, a judge of the circuit court, certified the class action against West Virginia University Hospitals, Inc. and West Virginia United Health System, Inc. The hospitals moved to decertify the class, but the Judge Gaujot denied the motion. The hospitals then filed a petition for a writ of prohibition asking the Supreme Court to prohibit Judge Gaujot from conducting any further proceedings until he vacated his order denying their motion to decertify the class. The Supreme Court granted the writ of prohibition as moulded, holding that the circuit court exceeded its legitimate powers by certifying the class while failing to conduct a sufficiently thorough analysis of the case to determine whether the commonality required for class certification under Rule 23 was present.