OPINION ISSUED FEBRUARY 5, 1993
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WEST VIRGINIA
Claimant present in person.
John E. Shank, Deputy Attorney General, for respondent.
Claimant, Donnie Ringer, seeks an award from the Board of Trustees of the University of West
Virginia for property loss sustained by a breaking and entering which took place on March 16, 1992,
at 69 Dadisman Hall, West Virginia University, a facility of the respondent located in the city of
From the evidence adduced at the hearing on October 15, 1992, it appears that claimant had left his
dormitory for spring break when his room was vandalized and personal property was stolen. The
stolen property was worth $2,120.14.
The claimant testified that he left for spring break and that the dormitories were supposed to have
been shut down during that time; however, somebody forcibly broke into his room and stole his
stereo equipment and compact disks.
The claimant's mother, Elaine C. Ringer, testified on behalf of the claimant that the breaking and
entering had been reported to her by the security at the school. She stated that she did recover a
portion of the loss for the stolen goods under her homeowners insurance policy.
For the respondent, Darryl Lewis, area manager of Dadisman Hall, testified that the breaking and
entering was discovered by a custodian, but that he inspected the premises of Dadisman Hall to
determine how the entry was made into the hall itself. He found no forced entry. He stated that every
window and door was unlocked and that there were bars placed on the doors. He also recognized a
section of a handout called "Terms, Conditions, and Regulations" which is made part of the contract
for the university housing, which states that the university is not responsible for the loss of property
The Court takes notice of page 10 of Residential Living which is part of the contract between the
resident student and West Virginia University Department of Housing and Residence Life, which
West Virginia University does not assume, responsibility for personal accident, injury, or illness
sustained by residents, guests, or visitors; nor for damage, theft, or loss of personal property...
The Court finds, as a matter of fact, that respondent took the necessary precautions against the breaking and entering; that respondent is not responsible for the loss of the personal property of the
claimant under the above-mentioned contract section; and that the claim shall be denied due to lack
of proof of negligence on the part of the respondent by a preponderance of the evidence.