OPINION ISSUED DECEMBER 20, 1985
MARY KATHYRN ESTES
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
Willard A. Sullivan and James Vaughan, Attorneys at Law, for
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
Claimant Mary Kathyrn Estes is the owner of residential real
located on County Route
18 in Crab Orchard, Raleigh County, West Virginia. Her property is
adjacent to a hillside.
Claimant testified that she had no problem with water damage prior
the early 1970's when the
respondent repaved the surface of Route 18. Claimant's husband
how the repairs had
altered the character of the road and caused it to form a natural
contour ditch line toward
On August 21, 1980, there was a rainstorm during which flooding
occurred on claimant's
property. The property sustained damages in the amount of
flow of the water at that time created a natural drainage ditch
caused the water to enter
claimant's property at her mailbox and flow into the house. As a
of the flooding, certain
damage occurred; the floor pulled away from the block wall and sunk
one corner of the
house, cracks developed in the wall of the basement, the septic
required repair, and
appliances, furniture, rugs, etc. were destroyed.
Claimants allege that the flooding which occurred on the property
caused by respondent's
resurfacing of Route 18. As a result, the ditch line adjacent to
road was altered, which
caused water to be diverted onto claimant's property.
Claude Blake, Claims Investigator for the respondent, testified
the distance from claimant's
mailbox westward back up the hill on Route 18 was 222 feet. He
testified that there had
been a rainfall of 1.3 inches in a twenty-four hour period at the
of the flooding. He also
stated that there is an area from the mailbox sloping down toward
side of the house which
appeared to be a potential conduit of water, and that the house is
the surface of the road.
Mr. Charles W. Bragg, an Assistant County Supervisor for
testified that Route 18 had been paved in the early 1970's, but
repaired, and not repaved
since that time. He further testified that the terrain was too
support a ditch, and any
accumulation of water had to run down onto claimant's property.
After examining all the evidence submitted in this claim, the
claimant's property is in a natural drainage area. The repairing of
Route 18 occurred in the early
1970's, and from that period until August 21, 1980, claimant had no
problems with her property.
The unusual amount of rainfall in 1980 was instrumental in the
There is no evidence of any negligence on the part of respondent,
for that reason, the Court
is of the opinion, and does, deny the claim.