Monongalia County Circuit Court Judge Phillip D. Gaujot announced his plan to retire Dec. 31.
He has been a circuit judge since then-Gov. Joe Manchin appointed him to the 17th Judicial Circuit bench in 2009, after the Legislature added a third seat to the circuit. He was elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2016.
“It has been a pleasure and privilege to serve the Monongalia County Bar and the citizens of Monongalia County and the state of West Virginia as judge of the Circuit Court for the 17th Judicial Circuit for the last 13-plus years,” Gaujot said. “I hope and pray that my legacy is, that as judge, I maintained the public’s trust, faithfully discharged my solemn obligation to equal justice under the law, was fair to all, and ruled according to the facts and law in every case that came before me and did so without fear or favor.”
Gaujot and his wife, Carol, have two children and three grandchildren.
“After Dec. 31, 2022, I hope to spend more time with my family, especially my grandchildren: Katya, a freshman at WVU; Arden, a freshman at Southern Garrett High School in Oakland, Md.; and Asa, a student at Mountain Laurel Learning Center in Thomas, W.Va.,” Gaujot said.
“However, with that being said, I fully understand that they may not care to spend more time with an old man. Also, plans are being made with my wonderful wife of 55 years to stay connected to our many friends, travel the U.S. and the world, and relax at our cabin in the mountains of Pocahontas County. Hopefully, I can find time for my passions: skiing, hunting, fishing and picking my banjo.”
Gaujot is a lifelong resident of West Virginia. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from West Virginia University in 1968 and his law degree from West Virginia University College of Law in 1971.
He began the practice of law as an assistant attorney general. In 1974, he began a general practice of law, primarily as a litigator, and continued that practice until his appointment to the bench. His practice included the areas of personal injury, product liability, domestic relations, contracts, wills and estate, higher education, criminal law, corporate law and other general areas of law.
He practiced in various courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. District Courts of Appeals for the Third and Fourth Circuits, the U.S. District Courts and Bankruptcy Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, circuit courts and magistrate courts throughout West Virginia and Virginia, and the Court of Common Pleas in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Gaujot also represented clients before the West Virginia Court of Claims, West Virginia Public Service Commission, West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission and the U.S. Social Security Administration.
He served as counsel for the cities of Nitro and Shinnston, the sheriff of Kanawha County, and for the House of Delegates’ Finance Committee. He also served as a hearing examiner for the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Commission and as an administrative law judge for Workforce West Virginia (a position in which he rendered more than 3,000 decisions, with very few reversals).
He has served on the Board of Directors of the West Virginia University Alumni Association and the Board of Directors of the Mon General Hospital Foundation. He also is a past member of Session of the First Presbyterian Church in Morgantown.