Lawsuit alleges guardrail sank, is too low

By Kyla Asbury | Aug 21, 2013

HUNTINGTON - A woman who was injured during a car accident is suing CSX Transportation Inc. for allegedly failing to keep the guardrail in repair.

On Aug. 11, 2011, Monica Renee Watts was operating a motor vehicle on W.Va. 2 when she lost control of her vehicle and veered off the highway, according to a complaint filed Aug. 8 in Cabell Circuit Court.

Watts claims the guardrail failed to impede her and she was injured.

The guardrail section measured substantially lower in height above the road surface than the minimum height required by applicable laws and regulations, according to the suit.

Watts claims the guardrail section was substantially lower due to the road surface having slipped and settled over a number of years due to the instability of the soil and earth surface below supporting and providing the foundation of the highway.

The guardrail height was compromised by the slippage and settling process and due to pavement resurfacing conducted over the course of a number of years, according to the suit.

Watts claims the embankment along the section of W.Va. 2 shows evidence of settling and slippage, which was a factor in the compromise of the guardrail height above the surface of the pavement.

As a direct and proximate result of the defendant's failure to maintain its right-of-way, the course of travel of Watts' vehicle was not impeded by the guardrail safety barrier system as initially desgined and constructed, according to the suit.

Watts is seeking compensatory damages in the sum of $5 million. She is being represented by W. Stephen Flesher of the Law Offices of W. Stephen Flesher; and H. Truman Chafin and Letitia Neese Chafin of the Law Offices of H. Truman Chafin PLLC.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge David M. Pancake.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 13-C-554

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