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Aikens v. Debow

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
541 S.E.2d 576 (W. Va. 2000)



Richard Aikens (plaintiff) ran a motel and restaurant that was primarily, but not exclusively, accessed by an overpass crossing Interstate 81. In September 1996, Robert Debow (defendant) was driving a flatbed truck on I-81 for his employer, Craig Paving, Inc. (defendant), when he struck the overpass with a trackhoe loaded onto the truck. The trackhoe was too tall to clear the bridge, and the collision caused substantial damage. Repairing the bridge resulted in a closure of the overpass for 19 days. In May 1997, Aikens sued Debow and Craig Paving for negligence, seeking to recover $9,000 in alleged losses caused by a reduction in patrons while the overpass was closed. Defendants moved for summary judgment on the ground that Aikens’s economic losses were not recoverable as a matter of law. A West Virginia circuit court denied defendants’ motion but presented a certified question to the state’s highest court as to whether economic loss, without any damage to person or property, could be recovered in a negligence action. The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals considered the issue.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Scott, J.)


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