CHARLESTON - A Wyoming County man has filed a suit against the state Department of Transportation, Division of Highways, claiming a defective berm caused a vehicle he was in to collide with another car, causing injuries.

Christopher Riffe filed a suit Oct. 12 in Kanawha Circuit Court against the DOH and Jeffrey Lane, a McDowell County man who was driving the vehicle that wrecked.

According to the suit, on Oct. 14, 2005, Lane and Riffe were traveling on U.S. 52 in Hanover. Riffe claims Lane lost control of his vehicle and went off the road.

He struck the berm, which caused the vehicle to cross the centerline, colliding with another vehicle. Riffe claims he was seriously and permanently injured.

"The berm on which Lane drove his vehicle was recklessly and/or negligently constructed and/or maintained by the DOH," the suit says.

The suit specifically states that the edge of the road was crumbling, and the berm was approximately six to eight inches lower than the road.

Riffe claims the DOH had knowledge of the dangerous condition of the berm, but failed to take any corrective action to warn motorists of the road.

Riffe claims he incurred medical expenses, pain and suffering, physical limitations, annoyance and inconvenience and other consequences and damages associated with his injuries.

Elisha Riffe, Christopher Riffe's wife, is also named as a plaintiff. She claims she lost spousal consortium, suffered annoyance and inconvenience and other consequences.

Together, the Riffes seek compensatory and punitive damages.

Attorney Danny Cline is representing the Riffes. The case has been assigned to Judge Louis Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-2183

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