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Robertson v. LeMaster
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
171 W. Va. 607 (1983)
Tony LeMaster (defendant) worked for Norfolk & Western Railway Company (NWRC) (defendant) as a section laborer. NWRC called in LeMaster’s section to remove a derailed train and damaged track. LeMaster’s work involved heavy manual labor. LeMaster worked for more than 27 hours without rest even though he told his foreman multiple times that he was tired and wanted to go home. An NWRC employee drove LeMaster to his car, which was located 50 miles from LeMaster’s home. During the ride, LeMaster fell asleep holding a lighted cigarette. On his way home, LeMaster fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into the car of Curtis and Karen Robertson (the Robertsons) (plaintiffs). The Robertsons sued LeMaster and NWRC for damages resulting from the accident. The Robertsons’ complaint alleged that NWRC negligently required LeMaster to work throughout the night without rest and failed to provide him with transportation home when NWRC knew or should have known that LeMaster was a threat to the safety of the public. The circuit court granted NWRC’s motion for a directed verdict, finding that NWRC owed no duty of care to the Robertsons. The Robertsons appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (McGraw, C.J.)
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