RIPLEY, W.Va. — A Circuit Court judge made two rulings in the ongoing media rights case between West Virginia Radio Corporation and multiple defendants, including West Virginia University, during a hearing at the Jackson County Courthouse on Thursday.

Judge Thomas Evans granted in part a motion filed by WVRC to compel discovery of documents from state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s August 2013 investigation into the bidding of West Virginia University’s multi-media rights.

WVU Board of Governors attorney Jeff Wakefield argued that the statements and work product from the AG report were protected under attorney-client privilege. Wakefield ruled WVRC could depose those on the attorney general’s witness list and ask them what they told Morrisey’s office. Evans added that WVRC was not entitled to any communications, strategy or analysis between Morrissey and WVU legal counsel.

WVRC attorney Morgan Hanson countered that WVU effectively waived any attorney-client privilege when they released the report more than a year ago. Hanson contends the defendants have used the Morrissey report as a “sword and shield” on multiple occasions as a basis for their defense.

Evans ordered WVU to produce all factual documents that went into the preparation of the report by the West Virginia attorney general. In his ruling, Evans said allowing WVU to shield would “eviscerate” the law of privilege in West Virginia.

Evans also heard arguments over separate motions filed by both WVU and IMG College seeking to open WVRC’s financial records for all income associated with West Virginia University radio broadcasts originated by, or carried by, West Virginia Radio Corporation networks and stations for a broad period dating back to pre-2005.

Wakefield proposed that WVRC’s motive in filing the lawsuit was based more on lost revenues than the public good. Hanson replied that this was a case entirely about public corruption and that West Virginia Radio was not suing for lost income.

Hanson argued that providing competing media companies with detailed financial information regarding WVRC’s client agreements and broadcast contracts would be improper and had no bearing on the case considering the radio company did not seek revenue-loss damages. He said WVRC only sought compensation for the expenses incurred in preparing a bid for the flawed first request for proposal that was abandoned after Morrisey issued his report, and that WVRC also be reimbursed for attorney fees and for contributions made by the firm to the West Virginia University Foundation.

Evans ordered WVRC to provide limited financial reports regarding WVU broadcasts, but did not proceed further with the broad financial requests of WVU and IMG.

Additional arguments were heard during the nearly five-hour hearing regarding a motion for summary judgment by defendants Ralph and Richard Ballard asking to be excused from the case. Evans took the information and arguments under advisement but made no ruling.

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Comments

  • Supports Raese

    While John Raese has provided thousands of families jobs in West Virginia -- Joe Manchin's Milam daughter now has moved the company overseas. AND does business with India and heaven only knows where else -- third world companies? I support JRaese.

  • Hersh

    What a waste of time and resources by Raese and his minions at WVRC. Spare me the altruistic garbage. You're barking up the wrong tree. The gravy train has made it's last stop. No soup for you! Next!

  • Shadow

    Seems to me to be a Victory for Transparency in governmental actions. WVU is part of the State Government, isn't it?

  • any major dude

    It's a great day to be a lawyer wherever you may be!
    I haven't got a clue what these lawyers are talking about. Furthermore, I don't care, as long as I get plenty of pregame stuff and postgame stuff and Tony on the radio. Which I do by switching back and forth. Works for me.

    • Hop'sHip

      I agree . It is hard to tell what this case is about anymore, other than hoping to embarrass the other side. I too switch between coverage but both seem to be dominated by commercials. I hope that country lawyer doesn't sign on this year. He is even harder to listen to than the Friends of Coal.

  • the flying dutchman

    i've been paying attention to the case...for wvrc to say they do not want a cash reward is disingenuous.....of course its not about cash....you're allowed to say that when you're a millionaire many times over...its about power and the fact that wvrc is longer feeding at the trough at wvu. luck has done a masterful job with his efforts to peserve his alma mater in business matters....which is more than some can say.

    • Guardian

      "preserve his alma mater in business matters . . ." Really? Like taking over a department in the black with surplus and going in the red the first year? Like hiring an untested, untried football coach and giving him a buy out clause in his contract that makes it basically financially impossible to fire him?

      Look, Luck has done some good things while in this job - I will not argue that. But operating in a shrewd manner business wise? I don't think we can go there.

      And for the record, it is my alma mater too.

      More importantly, it is John Raese's alma mater as well - plus he was a baseball player for WVU. And his daddy coached the basketball team that won the 1942 NIT which was the equivalent back then of winning today's NCAA tournament. I think any that accuse Raese of not caring about WVU, fail to understand he is emotionally invested in our alma mater, just as we are.

      • JustaFan

        People who say Luck has mismanaged the athletic departments budget have no clue what they are talking about.

        -Luck took us from a surplus to the red in one year because that was necessary to get us out of the Big East. We would be far worse financial shape had he not borrowed the money to get us out. Big 12 income will be around $22-25 MILLION per year. IMG Contract adds another $7 Million per year. AAC (formerly Big East) pay our per year is 1.75 million WVRC money would have been somewhere around $1 Million at most. AAC money is not enough to even keep the lights on at MPS in a year, let alone fund the entire department. Luck made an investment that made us cash poor for a year or two, but in the long is GUARANTEED to make us $30+ Million a year for at least the next 10 years.

        $30 Million > $2.75 Million

        ~Holgerson's contract-- I will not defend how Luck treated Coach Stew. That situation was handled wrong. However, when Holgerson was hired, there was doubt to WVU's football future. The Big East was imploding. No one knew if WVU would be able to get out. No proven head coach from the D-1 level was going to take a job at WVU under those circumstances. Holgerson's salary and contract were renegotiated to give him the lucrative deal AFTER the Orange Bowl, and our admission into the Big 12. Luck made a judgment call that was reasonable. Do you take our new found wealth and keep the coach that just scored 70 points in a bowl game, knowing that every single playmaker on offense was returning the next year, giving WVU a legit. shot at winning a national championship? Had 2012 turned out differently, and Holgerson had won a national championship, or even a Big 12 championship, Texas would have come calling. We will NEVER win a bidding war with Texas. Ever.

        Luck made a judgment call that was a reasonable call to make. He was wrong. But he could have been right just as easily. No one will ever make the right decision 100% of the time. Hindsight is always 20/20.

        I do not agree with every decision that Luck has made. It was short sighted to give the assistant coaches the sweetheart deal they got. I hated the way he handled Coach Stew. But overall, his job performance has been excellent. WVU is in much better financial shape (even with the current, temporary deficit) than we ever were under Pastilong.

        The budget surpluses will return when WVU starts getting it's full share of the Big 12 payout.

  • JL

    For people paying attention to this case, not just bashing it, there is some very interesting things going on. WVU says this case is all about money and money only. The radio company comes right back and says it wants no cash award. That presents a very perky problem for Mr. Luck and his buddies.

    • Brent

      Read the complaint. WVRC wants it's legal fees paid for.

    • cutty77

      This is no difference Than JR and His Buddies. Except all of JR's Buddies are gone. WVU will be just fine and JR will soon be out of business.

    • zero tolerance

      +1