Declaratory Judgments in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky


Under most circumstances, litigation does not take place until a dispute has already occurred and one party has suffered some harm. But sometimes it becomes apparent that ambiguities in a contract, document or statute are going to cause problems in the future if they are not clarified. Contractual rights and duties, property ownership and other factors may need to be ascertained before a transaction or negotiation can go forward. Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe’s attorneys represent insurance companies and other businesses in declaratory judgment actions throughout Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. Our lawyers use their ample insurance and business law experience to fight for favorable interpretations of our clients’ rights in the courts and proactively settle ambiguities and disputes.


An action for declaratory judgment proceeds in much the same manner as other types of litigation. However, in car accident defense the plaintiff is seeking specific or general relief ¾ usually money damages or an injunction — whereas in an action for declaratory judgment, plaintiffs are asking for nothing other than a public clarification of their rights made by a court of competent jurisdiction. Businesses can use declaratory judgment for several purposes:

  • Clarifying the terms of an insurance contract
  • Establishing ownership of real or personal property
  • Clarifying the rights of shareholders, members or partners
  • Clarifying employer rights and duties under employment agreements
  • Clarifying provisions of a CBA
  • Clarifying the scope of statutes or regulations
  • Clarifying intellectual property rights


While our attorneys at Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe strive to keep costs down for our clients, any type of litigation has the potential to be expensive. Therefore, declaratory judgment should not be a first or routine recourse. It is often possible to resolve these disputes with the involved parties through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution.

But when the parties are unable to reach an agreement and the continued ambiguity has the potential to cost your company money in the future — such as by holding up a project or potential transaction — the cost of a declaratory judgment action in West Virginia, Ohio or Kentucky may be more than justified. In other cases, a single declaratory judgment may have a substantial effect on a large number of potential or pending legal claims. For example, a declaratory judgment that FDA tobacco labeling requirements are unconstitutional could greatly strengthen the defendant’s position in tobacco and smoking claims based on inadequate labeling.

Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe helps companies make effective use of declaratory judgment

Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe’s lawyers have helped companies throughout the United States to appropriately use declaratory judgment in individual cases and as part of their broader strategies. Call us at 304-344-0100 or contact us online to begin a relationship with a law firm that is nationally recognized for experience and quality while remaining dedicated to its community and employees.