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Spilman Helps Secure Important Ruling for United Hospital Center
March 27, 2014

Court Decision Important to Health Care Industry in W.Va.

Morgantown, W.Va. — The law firm Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC (Spilman) announced that its appellate litigation team recently helped to secure a favorable ruling for client United Hospital Center (UHC) in an important health care matter before the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

The Court decided the case of United Hospital Center, Inc. v. Cheryl Romano, Assessor of Harrison County, and Craig Griffith, Tax Commissioner (case # 130120) in favor of UHC by holding that the company did not owe property taxes on its Bridgeport site for the tax year 2011. Although the new Bridgeport facility was not open to patients at the time of property tax assessment, the Court found that “the significant departmental staff on site working to fulfill the organization’s charitable purposes, comes within the spirit, purpose, and intent” of West Virginia constitutional framers for purposes of determining property tax exemptions. The decision supports modernizing health care facilities throughout the State of West Virginia and resulted in a savings of approximately $2.25 million in taxes and interest.

“We are very pleased with the Court’s ruling,” said Mike Garrison, who led Spilman’s representation of UHC. “West Virginia residents deserve the highest quality, modern health care and charitable hospitals should be encouraged to develop new state of the art facilities like those found at United Hospital Center.”

The Court’s decision in the United Hospital Center case holds great importance for all hospitals and health care facilities that contemplate building or expanding facilities in West Virginia. But for this ruling by the Court, the state would have a severely dampened climate for health care investment and expansion. The ruling encourages charitable hospitals in West Virginia to modernize their health care facilities.

“We firmly believe the Supreme Court made the right decision in this case – not only for UHC, but for the entire West Virginia health care industry,” said Doug Coffman, UHC’s Vice President of Finance and CFO. “Garrison and the Spilman team did an excellent job representing our interests throughout this litigation process.”

The Spilman team consisted of Garrison and Kelly J. Kimble, of the firm’s Morgantown office, and Dale W. Steager, of the firm’s Charleston office.
About Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC
Spilman Thomas & Battle is a full-service law firm serving local, national and international businesses. Founded in 1864, Spilman has offices in Charleston, Morgantown and Wheeling, W.Va.; Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, Pa.; Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Roanoke, Va.
Appellate Litigation State & Local Taxation Michael S. Garrison