CHAPTER 55. ACTIONS, SUITS AND ARBITRATION;
ARTICLE 3. UNLAWFUL ENTRY OR DETAINER.
§55-3-1. Issuance of summons.
If any forcible or unlawful entry be made upon any land,
building, structure, or any part thereof, or if, when the entry is
lawful or peaceable, the tenant shall detain the possession of any
land, building, structure, or any part thereof after his right has
expired, without the consent of him who is entitled to the
possession, the party so turned out of possession, no matter what
right or title he had thereto, or the party against whom such
possession is unlawfully detained, may, within three years after
such forcible or unlawful entry, or such unlawful detainer, sue out
of the clerk's office of the circuit court, or of any court of
record empowered to try common-law actions, of the county in which
the land, building, structure, or some part thereof may be, a
summons against the defendant to answer the complaint of the
plaintiff that the defendant is in the possession of, and
unlawfully withholds from the plaintiff, the premises in question
(describing the same with convenient certainty), to the damage of
the plaintiff in such sum as the plaintiff shall state; and no
other declaration shall be required.
§55-3-2. Assessment of damages.
If the plaintiff file with the summons a statement of the
profits and other damages which he means to demand, and the jury
find in his favor, they shall at the same time assess the damages
for mesne profits of the premises in suit for any period not
exceeding three years previous to the commencement of the action
until verdict, including any special damages properly chargeable to
the defendant that the plaintiff shall have suffered from detention
of the premises, and also the damages for any destruction or waste
of the buildings or other property during the same time for which
the defendant is chargeable.
§55-3-3. Return day and service of summons; plea; issue and trial.
The summons may be returnable to, and the case heard and
determined at, any term of such court. Such summons shall be made
returnable not more than ninety days after its date and shall be
served at least ten days before the return day thereof. If the
defendant appear, he shall plead to the summons, and his plea shall
be "not guilty." Upon this issue, or upon the return of the first
or any subsequent summons "executed," if the defendant fail to
plead, a jury shall be impaneled to try whether he unlawfully
withholds the premises in controversy and to assess the damages, if
any, which the plaintiff is entitled to recover for the detention
thereof. Such cause shall have precedence for trial over all other
civil causes on the docket.
§55-3-4. Period of limitation; verdict and judgment.
If it appear that the plaintiff was forcibly or unlawfully
turned out of the possession, or that it was unlawfully detained
from him, unless it also appear that the defendant has wrongfully
held or detained the possession for three years before the date of
the summons the verdict shall be for the plaintiff for such
premises, or such part thereof as may be found to have been so held
or detained, and for such damages as the plaintiff shall be
entitled to recover for the detention for such premises or such
part thereof. When part only of the premises is found for the
plaintiff, the verdict shall describe the part so found. In such
cases, judgment shall be for the plaintiff. If the verdict be for
the defendant as to the whole, judgment shall be for him.
§55-3-5. Judgment not a bar to action of ejectment; verdict not
conclusive of facts in future action; allowance for
improvements not precluded.
No such judgment shall bar any action of ejectment between the
same parties nor shall any such verdict be conclusive, in any such
future action, of the facts therein found; nor shall anything
herein prevent a defendant from claiming and having allowed, in a
proper case, allowance for improvements as provided in article five
of this chapter.
§55-3-6. Equitable defenses; adverse possession.
All the provisions of sections eleven, twelve, thirteen and
sixteen of article four of this chapter shall prevail, and control
the respective rights of the parties, in any action brought under
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session