OPINION ISSUED NOVEMBER 19, 1985
TAMMY JO HALL-ARTHUR
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
John R. Glenn, Attorney at Law, for claimant.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
On December 9, 1978, the claimant was a passenger in a Chevrolet
Luv truck operated by Robert Gene Wallace. It was snowing, and as
they drove at approximately 20 mph over the Water Street Bridge on
US Route 119 in Logan, West Virginia, the vehicle struck ice and
the driver lost control. The truck slid and collided with another
truck. The claimant sustained severe and permanent injuries
including the amputation of her right leg.
The claimant alleges that the failure of the respondent to remove
the snow and ice from the bridge was negligence and that this
negligence was the proximate cause of her injuries. She seeks an
award of $100,000.00.
The respondent alleges that the Water Street Bridge was not, at
the time of the accident, part of the highway system under its
During the course of the hearing it developed that the claimant
had settled with Robert Wallace's insurance company for $50,000.00.
The Court requested that the release be filed with the Court, which
was done. There were actually two releases executed, each for the
consideration of $25,000.00, releasing the owner and operators of
the truck. The releases provided among other things that the
claimant '...released and discharged... all other persons, firms,
and corporations, both known and unknown, of and from any and all
claims, demands, damages, actions, causes of action, or suits at
law or in equity, of whatsoever kind or nature, for or because of
any matter or thing done, omitted or suffered to be done by anyone
prior to and including the date hereof on account of all injuries
both to person or property resulting, or to result, from an
accident which occurred on or about the 9th day of December, 1978,
at Logan, W. Va.
The releases did not exempt the respondent.
After the releases were filed with the Court, the respondent filed
its Motion to Dismiss. The Motion was heard on January 17, 1983,
after which the parties requested time to file briefs in support of their respective positions.
The Court after consideration of the record, finds that the
releases do in fact release the respondent and sustains
respondent's Motion to Dismiss. Drema Gail Hopson, et al. v. Dept.
of Natural Resources, 10 Ct.Cl. 8 (1973). See also Doganieri v.
United States, 520 F. Supp. 1093, (N.D.W.Va. 1981).