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The creation of The Center for Consumer Law and Education (CCLE) is woven into a narrative of dedication and foresight, primarily spearheaded by consumer attorney David J. Romano from Clarksburg, West Virginia. Romano's journey began at Marshall University in the early 1970s, where the guidance of retired political science professor Simon Perry left an indelible mark, ultimately shaping Romano's path toward the legal profession.
Mr. Romano graduated from the WVU College of Law in 1977. In the years following, Mr. Romano's commitment to consumer advocacy led to a substantial donation of $2 million dollars, split between Marshall University and WVU College of Law. This generous contribution laid the foundation for a consumer protection and analysis program, developed and implemented jointly by both Universities. The program's multifaceted mission encompassed field and academic research, publication of policy papers, development of educational programs, and the creation of accessible resources, including a dynamic website and "The People's Law School".
Notably, the Joint Consumer Assistance Project emerged from a significant consumer class action case, Swiger v. Amerigas, involving over 14,000 West Virginians. Attorneys involved in the case, including Romano, envisioned a transformative purpose for the excess funds. Senior Judge Robert B. Stone of the Monongalia Circuit Court approved the plan, leading to the establishment of the Joint Consumer Assistance Project.
Romano's vision for the excess funds resonates with a commitment to empowering West Virginians. The Joint Consumer Assistance Project became a conduit for relevant consumer information, "how to" materials, and an interactive website. This initiative not only served as a testament to Romano's commitment to the state but also as a beacon of support for hardworking individuals navigating complex consumer disputes.
All of which gave rise to the CCLE, rooted in the generous donations and the visionary spirit of individuals like Mr. David J. Romano, stands as a testament to the enduring impact of consumer advocacy in West Virginia.