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Beane orders Waverly Elementary School lawsuit to Kanawha County Circuit Court

PARKERSBURG — A judge on Friday ordered a lawsuit trying to keep Waverly Elementary School open because of the COVID-19 pandemic transferred to Kanawha County Circuit Court.

Wood County Circuit Court Judge J.D. Beane ruled Friday that the suit filed by Waverly resident Sharon Corbitt should be moved to Kanawha County and consolidated with another suit filed there over the decision to close the school.

“To deny removal or transfer would permit plaintiff in this and other actions to force the same defendants to defend successfully multiple lawsuits in multiple venues in order to prevail, while plaintiffs would need to succeed in only one of several lawsuits to achieve their purpose,” Beane writes in the order.

The first suit was filed in December on behalf of the Save the Waverly Elementary School Association and other plaintiffs, challenging the process by which the Wood County Board of Education and other school officials closed Waverly and consolidated it with Williamstown Elementary. The new Williamstown-Waverly Elementary facility is slated to open in a few weeks.

Corbitt is a member of the Save the Waverly Elementary School group, but her attorney, Pat McFarland, argued in an Aug. 4 hearing before Beane that the lawsuits were separate, distinct actions. McFarland said Corbitt’s suit questions the consolidation plan in light of increased enrollment and busing when social distancing and other steps are necessary to prevent or reduce the spread of the virus.

Neither McFarland nor Aaron Boone, the attorney representing the school district, could immediately be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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