Claimant appeared in person.

J. Bradley Russell, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.


Claimant has a five-year contract with the Department of Commerce to
provide horses to
tourists at Watoga State Park, a facility of the respondent. On December
22, 2987, the barn at
Watoga State Park was destroyed by fire, apparently set by an arsonist.
Claimant seeks
$5,827.00 for personal items and equipment which were damaged in the

Claimant testified that he had formerly maintained insurance coverage
on his horses and
equipment. However, at the time of this incident, claimant had
discontinued his insurance
coverage, allegedly at the suggestion of Craig Ackerman, Superintendent
of Watoga State Park.
He said he had been informed that the State's insurance policy was
adequate to cover the items
in the barn.

The contract, or License Agreement, between Watoga State Park and Jack
S. Horner is
dated October 28, 1981. The pertinent provisions of the agreement are
the following:

"2. The Licensee under this agreement shall be deemed an independent
contractor and as such
shall be solely responsible for all debts and other liabilities incurred
in the operation of his
business under this license agreement.

8. The Licensee assumes all risk in the operation of this license and
shall be solely responsible
and answerable in damages for all accidents or injuries to persons or
property and hereby
covenants and agrees to indemnify and keep harmless the State of West
Virginia, the
Department and its officers and employees from any and all claims,
suits, losses, damage or
injury to persons or property of whatsoever kind and nature, whether
direct or indirect, arising
out of the operation of this license or the carelessness, negligence or
improper conduct of the
Licensee or any servant, agent or employee which responsibility shall
not be limited to the
insurance coverage herein provided for.

18. This instrument contains the entire agreement and all
representations of the parties hereto,
and no modifications or additions shall be valid and binding on the
Department unless in writing
and signed by an officer thereof, subsequent to the date of this

It is clear from the terms of the lease agreement that claimant, as an
independent contractor,
assumed all risk in the operation of business, and that the contract
represents the complete
agreement. The Court finds that the terms of the lease agreement are
clear as to the absence of
liability on the part of respondent. Therefore, the Court is of the
opinion to, and must, deny this

Claim disallowed.