Families blame state DOH for property damage

By Chris Dickerson | Dec 7, 2006

WINFIELD – Two Scott Depot families say the state Division of Highways is to blame for damage to their property along Interstate 64, and they want the state to take their property through eminent domain.

Pam and Lena Pat Wood and Jack and JoAnn Whittington filed lawsuits Nov. 15 in Putnam Circuit Court against the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Highways. Both families own property in Belle Acres along I-64.

In the suits, both filed by Charleston attorney Marvin W. Masters, the families say the DOH did a poor job of designing, constructing and maintaining the interstate interchange near their neighborhood.

"The interstate highway, bridge(s) and interchanges in and around Belle Acres which causes excessive noise and debris to enter upon the petitioners' property and home and otherwise adversely affects the values of the petitioners' property and home," the complaint says. It goes on to say it also has "repeatedly and continuously" caused damage to their property.

The two families say the DOH has failed to remedy the conditions and has instituted proceedings to compensate petitioners for the damages to their property.

But the plaintiffs say they have suffered and will suffer damage to their houses, yards and real property; diminution in the value of their real property; and the loss of use and enjoyment of their homes and real property as well as annoyance and inconvenience.

"The aforesaid damages amount to a public taking and/or damage to private property … for which the petitioners have no adequate remedy at law to seek redress such that mandamus is the appropriate remedy," the complaints say.

Both complaints seek to have the Court to issue a writ of mandamus compelling the state to initiate eminent domain proceedings. They also seek compensatory damages, court costs and other relief.

Both cases have been assigned to Circuit Judge O.C. "Hobby" Spaulding.

Putnam Circuit Court case numbers: 06-C-379 (Wood) and 06-C-380) Whittington

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