Paul v. National Life
Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
352 S.E.2d 550 (1986)
Eliza Vickers and Aloha Jane Paul, both residents of West Virginia, took a trip to Indiana. Vickers, who was driving, got into an accident and both women died. The administrator of Paul’s estate (plaintiff) sued Vickers’s estate (defendant) and the National Life Accident Company (National Life) (defendant) in a West Virginia court. Defendants moved for summary judgment on the grounds that Indiana law, as the place of the accident, controlled, and Indiana law contained a guest statute requiring proof of willful and wanton misconduct in order for a passenger to establish liability against a noncommercial driver. There was no evidence of willful or wanton misconduct. The court granted summary judgment to defendants. Paul’s administrator appealed, arguing that West Virginia’s highest court should abandon its lex loci delicti conflicts doctrine in favor of a more modern approach.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Neely, J.)
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