OPINION ISSUED FEBRUARY 13, 1986
ROBERT W. RECTENWALD and JEANNE E. RECTENWALD
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant Robert W. Rectenwald appeared in person.
Andrew Lopez, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
On February 23, 1985, between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m., claimant Robert
Tom Halstead, was operating claimant's vehicle, a 1984 Cavalier
Wagon, in a southerly
direction on U.S. 19 beyond Davis Creek when the vehicle struck a
pothole. Claimant Robert
Rectenwald originally filed this claim in his own name. The record
reflects that the vehicle is titled
in both Robert Rectenwald's name and that of his wife, Jeanne
Rectenwald. The Court then,
upon Mr. Rectenwald's agreement, amended the style of the claim to
include Jeanne Rectenwald
as a party claimant.
According to the claimant Robert Rectenwald, who was a passenger,
weather was very
bad and it was raining. The vehicle hit a pothole which blew out
front tire completely.
Introduced into evidence was an invoice reflecting repairs made to
automobile in the amount
Mr. Halstead confirmed the testimony of claimant Robert
that he estimated his speed as being not more than 30 miles per
did not make a
complaint to respondent.
The State is neither an insurer nor a guarantor of the safety of
persons traveling on its
highways. Adkins v. Sims, 130 W.Va. 645 (1947). For the State to be
found liable, it must first
have either actual or constructive notice of the defect in the
Since there was no proof
in this case that the State had notice of the defect, the claim