OPINION ISSUED MARCH 24, 1988
HARRY J. CAPLAN
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant appeared in person.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
On March 22, 1986, the claimant was travelling in a northerly
on Route 2 in Weirton,
West Virginia. Claimant's 1980 Oldsmobile struck a deteriorated
the roadway. Claimant
seeks an award of $97.93 for damages to his vehicle. He alleges
respondent was negligent
in its maintenance of the catch basin.
Claimant testified that he was accompanied by a witness, Julius
He was travelling at a
speed of 10-15 mph, and his vehicle had passed the Kroger Store
located on Route 2.
He stated that a catch basin had deteriorated, and the drain was
flush with the curb. The
basin is located right at the edge of the curb between the sidewalk
the curb. The plate
covering the catch basin was stocking out, but claimant failed to
the plate. He estimated
the width of the hole to be between 10 and 12 inches. He travels
route frequently, but had
not observed the deteriorated drain basin previously. Julius Lurie
confirmed the testimony of the
Tony Orecchio, maintenance supervisor for Hancock County for
respondent, testified that he
was familiar with this particular catch basin. He stated that in
1986, the catch basin was
in good shape, but that the road surface was eroded two to three
from the opening of the
catch basin. He also stated that the City of Weirton had installed
curbs and sidewalks in
1986. The catch basis was located adjacent to the sidewalk. The
complaint made by the
claimant after his accident was the first complaint which Mr.
had received concerning
this catch basin since he had become maintenance supervisor in the
After careful review of the evidence presented, the Court can find
basis upon which to find
respondent negligent. See Lynn vs. Dept. of Highways, 9 Ct.Cl. 127
(1972). The catch basin
was maintained in the customary manner and no breach of duty by
respondent has been shown.
Under the circumstances, the Court is of the opinion to, and does,
disallow the claim.