OPINION ISSUED AUGUST 10, 1987
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant's daughter, Monica Jividen, appeared in person.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
On November 9, 1986, the claimant's daughter, Monica Jividen, was
driving the claimant's
1981 Chevette on State Route 35 near Shawnee Estates, Putnam
when the vehicle
struck water standing on the highway. The vehicle overturned and
sustained damage. Claimant
seeks $2,338,87. The daughter of the claimant originally filed the
in her name. However,
the record reflects that the father, Rondus Jividen, was the titled
owner of the vehicle. The
Court, upon the motion of Ms. Jividen, has amended the style of the
claim to name Rondus
Jividen as the proper party claimant.
Claimant's daughter testified that this incident occurred at
approximately 5:00 a.m. She was en
route from her home in Winfield to her job in Charleston. The roads
wet as it had been
raining earlier, and it was dark. The highway in question is
She had travelled this route
daily for a year prior to this incident. She had not observed "real
high" water at this location prior
tot he accident. She stated that the water covered the entire width
the road and was between
five and ten feet long.
Donald Adkins, General Foreman for respondent in Putnam County,
testified that he received
word of this incident at approximately 8:00 a.m. on the day it
He stated that on the day
before this incident, to his knowledge, the road was clear. The first
notification he had of a
problem at his location was on the day of this incident.
Michael D. Stone, County Maintenance Superintendent for respondent
testified that he did not receive any complaints of high water on
35 in Winfield prior to
The State neither insures nor guarantees the safety of motorists
travelling on its highways.
Adkins vs. Sims, 130 W.Va. 645, 46 S.E.2d 81 (1947). For the
to be found liable
for road defects of this type, the claimant must prove that the
respondent had actual or
constructive notice of the defect. Davis Auto Parts vs. Dept. of
Highways, 12 Ct.Cl. 31
(1977). The claimant did not meet the burden of proof; therefore,
claim must be denied.