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Menis E. Ketchum II (born 1943 in Wayne County, West Virginia) is a Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. He was elected as a Democrat to a twelve-year term on the Court in November 2008 and served as Chief Justice in 2012. In West Virginia, the status of Chief Justice, by tradition, rotates between the justices annually and is mainly an administrative post.
Ketchum was born and raised in Wayne County, West Virginia, the son of attorney Chad Ketchum (1911–98). A graduate of a West Virginia public school, Mr. Ketchum attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio from 1960-64. He played varsity baseball while at OU and was a member of the 1964 Mid-American Conference Championship Baseball Team. Upon returning to West Virginia, he enrolled at the West Virginia University School of Law in Morgantown. From 1965-66, he was contributing writer of the West Virginia Law Review and was Associate Editor from 1966-67. In 1967, he obtained his Juris Doctorate.
Ketchum returned to Huntington, West Virginia to practice law with his father in the law firm of Greene, Ketchum & Baker in 1967. For the past 40 years, Ketchum has litigated various types of cases, including insurance defense, personal injury, criminal prosecution and defense, Maritime, Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA). He practices law with Greene, Ketchum, Bailey & Tweel and has been senior partner since 1980. According to Ketchum, he has tried more than 170 cases to jury verdict and prosecuted more than 30 reported Supreme Court of Appeals cases.
Recognized continuously since 1989 in The Best Lawyers in America magazine, Mr. Ketchum was formerly a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers and American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Throughout his legal career, he has published legal articles and presented numerous continuing legal education seminars to bar associations, adjustor associations and legal assistant associations.
Mr. Ketchum was appointed to the Marshall University Board of Governors by then-Governor Bob Wise in 2002. He resigned on January 2, 2008 in order to campaign for a seat on the Supreme Court of Appeals. He was serving as Vice Chairman when he left the university's governing body.
Other Gubernatorial appointments include the State Mine Safety Task Force as Legal Counsel by Governor Joe Manchin.
He also served the City of Huntington as a member of the Urban Renewal Authority. He participated in the Vision Shared Health Care Team, a statewide program to develop a focus team toward reducing the medically uninsured in the state of West Virginia.
Four Democrats filed for two seats on the State Supreme Court for the 2008 elections. In addition to Menis Ketchum, they were former Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Margaret Workman, the first woman to serve on the state's high court, WVU law professor and ballot access advocate Bob Bastress, and incumbent Justice Elliott "Spike" Maynard. Ketchum and Workman managed to unseat Justice Maynard and competed against Republican candidate Beth Walker in the 2008 general election.
During his campaign, Ketchum was a strong advocate for the creation of two intermediate appellate courts to better serve the interests of cases from the Northern Panhandle and Eastern Panhandle. Ketchum also pledged to serve only one 12-year term, if elected.
In the November 4, 2008 general election, Ketchum garnered 34.54% of the vote to 33.68% for Workman. Republican Beth Walker attained 31.78% of the vote.
Justice Ketchum was sworn in on the Supreme Court of Appeals on December 18, 2008 and officially took his seat on January 1, 2009.
Married to the former Judy Varnum since 1966, the couple has three children and six grandchildren. Their son, Bert, is also a partner in his father's law firm.
- "Justice Menis Ketchum swearing-in scheduled", www.state.wv.us
|Justice for the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia