H. B. 2402
(By Delegates Amores, Hunt and Farris)
[Introduced February 8, 1995; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact section two, article seven-a, chapter
fifty-five of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to parental
liability for willful, malicious or criminal acts of
children; increasing the liability of parents.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section two, article seven-a, chapter fifty-five of the
code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 7A. LIABILITY OF PARENTS.
§55-7A-2. Parental liability for willful, malicious or
criminal acts of children.
The custodial parent or parents of any minor shall be
personally liable in an amount not to exceed
five thousand dollars for damages which are the proximate result of any one or a combination of the following acts of such the
(a) The malicious and willful injury to the person of
(b) The malicious and willful injury or damage to the
property of another, whether
such the property be real, personal
or mixed; or
(c) The malicious and willful setting fire to a forest or
wooded area belonging to another; or
(d) The willful taking, stealing and carrying away of the
property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the
owner of possession.
For purposes of this section, "custodial parent or parents"
shall mean the parent or parents with whom the minor is living,
or a divorced or separated parent who does not have legal custody
but who is exercising supervisory control over the minor at the
time of the minor's act.
Persons entitled to recover damages under this article shall
include, but not be limited to, the state of West Virginia, any
municipal corporation, county commission and board of education,
or other political subdivision of this state, or any person or
organization of any kind or character. The action may be brought in magistrate or other court of competent jurisdiction. Recovery
hereunder shall be limited to the actual damages based upon
direct out-of-pocket loss, taxable court costs, and interest from
date of judgment. The right of action and remedy granted herein
shall be in addition to and not exclusive of any rights of action
and remedies therefor against a parent or parents for the
tortious acts of his or their children heretofore existing under
the provisions of any law, statutory or otherwise, or now so
existing independently of the provisions of this article.
The provisions of this article shall be applicable to causes
of action arising on and after the effective date of this
article. Causes of actions arising before the effective date of
this article and proceedings thereon shall be governed by the
previously enacted provisions of this article in force at the
such the cause arose.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to increase the liability
of parents for torts or crimes committed by minor children. The
liability will be increased from twenty-five hundred dollars to
five thousand dollars.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.