CHARLESTON, W.Va.--The West Virginia attorney general may issue investigative subpoenas as part of his investigatory powers, the state Supreme Court recently decided.
Former Attorney General Darrell McGraw filed the original Kanawha County suit, which involves allegations of a company's collection practices.
It was filed against Cavalry SPV I LLC, Cavalry SPV II LLC, Cavalry Investments LLC, Cavalry Portfolio Services LLC, Michael Godner, Steve Anderson, Don Strauch and Christian Parker.
Cavalry asked justices in last month's oral arguments hearing whether the attorney general should be allowed to issue subpoenas to a company it also is suing.
A Nov. 13 opinion, written by Justice Robin Davis, determined if the attorney general files an action subject to an investigative subpoena, his subpoena authority does not cover matters forming the basis of the suit's allegations.
In that situation, the opinion states, rules of discovery would provide the procedure the attorney general can use to investigate wrongdoing.
According to the opinion, the subpoena survives filing if it deals in whole or in part to matters not forming the basis of the suit.
The Kanawha Circuit Court ruled SPV I, SPV II and Cavalry Investments violated portions of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act because they collected debts when they weren't licensed to do so, the order states.
The court granted a temporary injunction against these defendants but not Cavalry Portfolio Services LLC.
The lower court also granted the attorney general's request, requiring defendants to comply with the investigative subpoena.
In the brief to the state Supreme Court, Cavalry said the court shouldn't have let the attorney general enforce the investigative subpoenas and instead should have eliminated the subpoenas because the office filed a civil lawsuit alleging violations of the West Virginia Consumer Credit Protection Act.