OPINION ISSUED FEBRUARY 19, 1988
JANEY N. QUICK
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant appeared in person.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
The claimant was operating her 1982 Subaru on Route 7/19,
Monongalia County, when her vehicle struck two rocks. Cost of
the vehicle amounted
to $257.46. The rocks had rolled from a hill over a retaining wall
the highway. The incident
occurred on May 19, 1987, at approximately 5:00 a.m. The claimant
driving to her place of
employment at Internal Medicine Associates in Morgantown. She
that she was travelling
at between 40 and 45 mph. She stated that she had observed rocks on
shoulder of the road
on previous occasions, but not on the highway itself. She travelled
route on a daily basis.
William L. Fieldhouse, County Maintenance Superintendent for
that he was familiar with the hillside in the area of the roadway
question. He described the
roadway as being a four-lane highway with very wide berms. He
that the hillside is a very
steep slope along the edge of the road; it is not a benched cliff.
witness mentioned that the
back side of this particular retaining wall is checked regularly.
to the claimant's accident, he
had not been advised of any complaints of rocks in the roadway
The State is neither an insurer nor a guarantor of the safety of
motorists travelling on its
roadways. The unexplained falling of a rock or boulder onto a
without a positive
showing that respondent knew or should have anticipated damage to
property is insufficient to
justify an award. Hammond vs. Dept. of Highways, 11 Ct.Cl. 234
Fieldhouse, County Maintenance Superintendent for Monongalia
testified that there had been no complaints of rock in the roadway
immediately prior to claimant's
action. The Court concludes that claimant has not shown any
on the part of
respondent to justify an award in this claim.