Stern Brothers, Inc. v. McClure

In Stern Brothers, Inc. v. McClure, 160 W.Va. 567, 236 S.E.2d 222 (1977), attorneys filed a motion asking a circuit judge to disqualify himself. The circuit judge agreed to recuse himself, and then assigned the case to a fellow judge in the same circuit. When the attorneys objected to the fellow judge's appointment - because the fellow judge had previously been an associate in the attorneys' firm - the circuit judge chose and appointed a judge from another circuit. The Court held in Stern Brothers that once the circuit judge decided to recuse himself on the motion of the parties, he had no authority over the case, and any subsequent attempts to appoint another judge were void. The Court also held that because the circuit judge failed to follow the administrative rules promulgated by this Court regarding the assignment of temporary judges, the appointment of the successor judge was void.