Friday, November 08, 2019

State False Advertising Ban Does Not Apply To Catholic Schools

In State of West Virginia ex. rel. Morrisey v. Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, (WV Cir. Ct., Nov. 6, 2019), a West Virginia Trial Court held that West Virginia's Consumer Credit and Protection Act does not apply to religious institutions' advertising or sale of educational or recreational services.  In the case, plaintiffs contended that the Diocese engaged in deceptive acts or practices by failing to disclose that in the past it had knowingly employed some priests and laity that had sexually abused children while it advertises a safe learning environment in its schools and camps. The court also held that application of the Act to religious schools would involve an unconstitutional excessive entanglement of church and state. After reaching its conclusions, the trial court stayed the action and certified the questions raised in the case to the West Virginia Supreme Court. The Intelligencer reports on the decision. [Thanks to Mark Chopko for the lead.]