OPINION ISSUED APRIL 28, 1993
CLARISE ROLLINS AND JOSEPH ALLEN ROLLINS
DIVISION OF HIGHWAYS
Michael T. Clifford, Attorney at Law, for claimant.
Glen A. Murphy, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
Claimants, Clarise and Joseph Rollins, seek and award of $205.00 from the Division of Highways
for personal injury sustained on August 12, 1989, when Joseph Rollins fell from a bridge while
leaning on a guardrail in Robson, Fayette County. The claimants allege that the respondent was
negligent in the maintenance of the guardrail.
From the evidence adduced at the hearing on January 21, 1993, it appears that the claimant, Joseph
Rollins, was waiting for a friend on a bridge when he leaned on the guardrail which was in a
defective condition and fell backward into a creek sustaining personal injury. His mother, Clarise
Rollins, incurred unreimbursed medical expenses of $205.00.
The claimant, Joseph Rollins, testified that on August 12, 1989, between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m., he was
waiting on the bridge for a friend when he learned on the guardrail, it gave way, and he fell
backwards into a creek. As he fell over the side of the bridge, he attempted to catch himself on the
cement pier of the bridge and, in this attempt, he broke his left arm and fractured the thumb on his
right hand. After he climbed up the bank of the creek, he observed that the metal guardrail post
through the bolt holes. Since this accident, claimant has experienced pain in his left arm when it
rains or is cold outside. His left arm gives out on him now when he attempts certain activities.
The claimant, Clarise Rollins, testified that she is the mother of Joseph Rollins; that her son was
injured when he fell from the bridge; and that she incurred medical bills on behalf of her son in the
amount of $205.00.
John Zimmerman, Assistant County Supervisor employed by the respondent, testified that on the
date of the accident he was a general foreman for the respondent. Shortly after claimant's accident,
the county office received a telephone call informing respondent that someone had fallen from the
bridge. The acting county supervisor at the time, Mr. Johnson, sent a crew to replace the bolt in the
defective guardrail. He stated that he inspected respondent's records to determine if there had been
any complaints about the defective condition guardrail prior to claimant's accident and there were
none. [In rebuttal to certain unsubstantiated testimony from Mrs. Rollins concerning activities of
employees of the Governor's Summer Youth Program, Mr. Zimmerman stated that this program is
not under the direction of the respondent and the director did not report to him or to the county
The Court finds, as a matter of fact, that the respondent had no actual or constructive notice of the
defective guardrail prior to claimant's accident; and that upon receiving such notice, employees of
the respondent responded in an expeditious manner to correct the defect. As the claimants failed to
establish negligence on the part of the respondent by a preponderance of the evidence, the Court is
of the opinion to and does deny this claim.